How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck Essay

How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck Essay

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The poem “Woodchucks” by Maxine Kumin is about the dehumanization of a man to the point where he is completely opposite from the person he used to be. He is desensitized to the point where he can justify to himself a mass extermination. It shows the effect hatred and evil can have on a human’s soul and how that can change their behavior. The poem begins with the man having a prejudice against one population, the woodchucks, which finally evolves into a personal vendetta towards them. The author, Maxine Kumin, mainly uses dramatic irony and symbolism to show how the growth of evil inside of a person until all that is human is carved away. A few other literary devices are also used in her poem. These devices include characterization, alliteration, and metaphors.
Kumin uses dramatic irony constantly throughout her poem. You can see dramatic irony in what the speaker knows as well as what Kumin, the author, wanted the poem to portray. Symbolism is also quite abundant throughout the poem; the woodchucks and the farmer are used to represent more than what they just appear to characterize. The poem is not just about a farmer that enjoys killing small animals; there is more that is hidden in the writing.
Throughout the whole poem, as you look from stanza to stanza, the speaker’s civility changes consistently. The speaker begins as a pacifist farmer who follows along with what his community’s attitude was towards the woodchucks. The way that he and his fellow farmers see the woodchucks is a nuisance that needs to be dealt with. As the poem develops the speaker’s hatred towards the woodchucks continues to grow as they continue to evade his attempts to exterminate them all and finally put an end to their continued annoyance to him and the ...


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...portraying the farmer as the person with more power and the woodchucks are targeted as the weaker of the two, is really effective. Through dramatic irony, she shows how a seemingly innocent ideal can become dangerous. When a person is able to justify the extermination of an entire race-or as Kumin portrays in her poem, an entire species- this is when the basis of humanity begins to fade leaving behind a human completely desensitized.
This poem represents the holocaust. It goes through the process of desensitization with woodchucks instead of stating the Jewish people. This poem used many literary devices to help portray the meaning that Kumin wanted to get across to the reader. The two main literary devices that she used to portray her image were dramatic irony and symbolism. These along with the other devices were used seamlessly to help put this poem together.

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