Woodchucks By Maxine Kumin Analysis

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The Danger of Paranoia
The poem “Woodchucks”, by Maxine Kumin includes a speaker that kills because of paranoia. The speaker kills the woodchucks because he/she believes that the woodchucks deliberately try to hurt him/her by attacking his/her garden. The speaker creates the tone of paranoia that the woodchucks fight against him/her and uses that paranoia as justification to become a killer. The poet uses the speaker’s tone to show the danger of a person who can change quickly into an immoral killer blaming a delusional and absurd cause that comes from paranoia.
The speaker shows the tone of paranoia when he/she makes out the woodchucks as deliberately fighting against him/her with bad intentions. Through out the poem Woodchucks the speaker
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When the speaker goes to kill the woodchucks he/she said he/she, “righteously thrilling” (line 13) kills the woodchucks. By using the word righteous in this quote the speaker shows the perceived integrity by the speaker. He/she also uses the word thrilling, which shows that he/she enjoys killing the woodchucks. The speaker also describes him/herself as a “lapsed pacifist”(line 15). In this quote the speaker puts him/herself as a pacifist, which means he/she is against all violence with just a minor lapse that can be justified as if to play it off. Yet a true pacifist would be mortified by the speakers actions and view them as unjustifiable. In the previous quote though she said that she was enjoyed killing the woodchucks but she minimizes its severity by calling it a “lapse”. The speaker uses his/her paranoia to make this strewed misconception that the deaths of the woodchucks are justified and morally okay and lessens his/her …show more content…
The last two lines of the poem read, “If only they’d all consented to die unseen gassed underground the Nazi way”(line 29-30). In these two sentences the poet shows how misguided and wrong the justification and motivation for killing the woodchucks are. The poet has the poet say that he/she wished that the death of the woodchucks would be “consented” and “unseen”. With these two words the poet shows the absurdity in the speakers justification by introducing the idea of consent. The poet introduces that idea because no one would agree to die and the poet has the speaker say that they want the woodchucks to do that. The poet also uses the idea of an unseen and hidden death so that it shows the speaker does not want to take responsibility for his/her actions and just wants to forget about them. The poet also has the speaker compare these “consented” and “unseen’ deaths to the “Nazi way”. By doing so the poet makes the speaker seem immoral wishing that he/she killed the same way that the Nazis did. The poet also displays the speaker as immoral because he has the speaker wish to emulate the Nazis. In the last two lines of the poem the poet show the absurdity of the speakers justification and motivation for killing the woodchucks.
The poet of “Woodchucks” uses history and the speaker’s paranoid tone to show how someone can turn into a misguided killer.

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