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Woodchucks Analysis

Decent Essays
Traveling Woodchucks How much deer could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck were driving down the road and came across a dead, pregnant doe? Well, the woodchuck chucking the dear is a bit irrelevant. Rather, the two poems Traveling through the Dark by William Stafford and Woodchucks by Maxine Kumin respectively focus on the relationship between humans and nature. Woodchucks takes an allegorical approach, with a heavy handed political message. Traveling simply examines the significance of human life in the context of nature. If the poems were literary characters, Traveling would be Jane Eyre, Woodchucks would be Brutus. Traveling is personal, with the narrator having a strong sense of humanity, but ultimately basing his actions on logic.…show more content…
Out of the gate in the first stanza, Kumin is describing a gas bomb for the woodchucks as being “featured as merciful” and “quick at the bone”. The speaker also mentions how the “case we had against [the woodchucks] was airtight”, jargon that is usually found in strategy rooms, not household gardens. The language remains bloated and technical throughout the rest of the poem, with the woodchucks “beheading the carrots” and hooking their “needle teeth” into the chard, and the speaker “righteously thrilling to the feel of the .22.”, being a “lapsed pacifist fallen from grace”, and staying “cocked and ready day after day after…show more content…
In Woodchucks, the animals are simply used as an allegorical device to further the idea that humans are quick to be injure and kill the weak for minute reasons. Traveling, however, focuses on the relationship between nature and humans, and the price of saving humans’ lives. The speaker in Woodchucks is not driven by the greater good for humanity, but is driven by the “Darwinian pieties for killing”. The speaker in Traveling acts because animals in the road “might make more dead”. He hesitates because he understands the importance of the unborn fawn’s life, but the Woodchucks speaker doesn’t hesitate to shoot the youngest woodchuck “down in the everbearing roses”. However, the Woodchucks speaker villainizes himself for killing the innocent, whereas Traveling simply reiterates how the speaker “thought hard for us all”, causing both themes to be respectively
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