Snake: A Study on the Inescapable Pressures of Society, the Undeniable Beauty of Nature, and the Ever-Growing Fear of Ourselves

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Nothing is able to affect us more than other people. Spreading of opinions, knowledge, and even diseases will teach us easily what is right, or what is wrong. However, what we humans teach is not always “right.” We are taught that we are the best species. We are taught that we are bigger, better, and stronger than anything else that walks on this Earth. We are taught that we are always right, and anything else is always wrong. Yet, there is something in all of us that tells us undoubtedly that we are no better, if not lower, than what has long been here before us. Our instincts are often not to kill, but to admire. A part of what is inside our brains wants to take in all of the nature and wildlife, soak it in and allow it to remain untouched. Even so, we are unfazed. No matter how caught up in the natural world, another part of us is screaming to destroy, to enforce our superiority. And does this voice not scare us? “Snake” by D.H. Lawrence portrays one poet’s admiration for nature, struggle with society, and fear of himself, as he loses his chance with one of the Lords of Life.
Our entire lives, we are taught that not only are we the best, but that everything else is the worst. If it is not a human, it is dangerous and must be annihilated. The poet in “Snake” begins his experience with the snake fairly peacefully, however this quickly turns on him. Everything the poet had been taught was telling him that nothing is more dangerous than a yellow-bellied snake, and that he should exterminate the animal completely. He refers back to a time in Sicily, when he had actually been taught this.

On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are...

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...” (Lawrence 51-53). The use of the word “overcame” solidifies his lack of control and only reinforces the proof of the fear he must have of himself.
How can one live with oneself after displaying such a clear lack of respect. The poet begins with honor and dignity, allowing the snake to drink first and admiring it’s beauty, and ends in despair, regret and a fear of himself. D.H. Lawrence expresses in this poem the clear conflict inside the poet. He is unable to decide, through the poem, whether or not to be a man, or be himself. “Snake” forces readers to think about where they’ve been, and how they’ve acted. This poem leaves one imposing question on all of us: How afraid of yourself are you?

Works Cited

Nicole. An analysis of Snake, by D.H. Lawrence. n.p., 30 Jan. 2011. Web. 12 May. 2014.
Waliyullah. Snake by D.H. Lawrence. n.p., 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 May 2014.

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