Traveling Through The Dark By William Stafford

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“Traveling through the Dark” is a poem written by William Stafford in 1962. In the poem, we are introduced to the speaker who is out driving with his car on a mountain road when he discovers a dead deer on the edge of the road. William Stafford provides the poem with an exciting, story-telling type of poem. However, he does provide the poem with a powerful dilemma. The protagonist, which I believe is a male, due to the fact that he was able to drag and push the heavy deer, is left with a choice to whether act responsibly and efficient, or morally. I will look at different approaches, as well as Stafford’s use of elements and word choice to try to understand the protagonist’s decision. William Stafford’s poem is a great example of narrative poetry as it includes characters, a setting, and an ending. Even though this is a narrative poem, William Stafford use a few elements to get his point across through to the reader. The two elements that stands out mostly to me is symbolism and imagery. Already in the title there are symbols attached. The use of “Dark” is found in the title, as well as in the first line and it sets the mood for the poem instantly. As Terry Fairchild writes in his analysis of the poem, “darkness points to the final destiny of all beings, the darkness of death (Fairchild). I have the same exact feeling when I think of darkness. I think about cruel and bad situations like robbery, murder, and rape, which tends to occur during the late hours. On the other
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