Essay about James Dickey’s Deliverance and Fog Envelops the Animals

Essay about James Dickey’s Deliverance and Fog Envelops the Animals

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The Power of Fog in James Dickey’s Deliverance and "Fog Envelops the Animals"


In pages 93-99 of James Dickey’s Deliverance, a foggy hunting scene takes place involving the narrator, Ed Gentry. Unable to sleep in the wilderness, Ed gets up from his sleeping bag and tent, putting on his tennis shoes and thermal underwear in order to explore. Swallowed whole by a thick enveloping fog, Ed picks up his bow and arrow, making his way out of camp and into the woods. From his civilized suburban nature and not knowing how to truly hunt, he only knows that he must step slowly, carefully, and quietly into the unfamiliar woods. Clutching his weapon, he feels an "electric current that came from the woods and the fog and the fact that hunting and pretending to hunt had come together and [he] could not now tell them apart"(95). It is then that he decides to actually look for prey to hunt, kill, and bring back, instead of killing time, aimlessly walking around to "satisfy honor"(95).

As the fog thickens, he reassures himself that he could kill if he is allowed the opportunity: "I could do it, if I came on a deer; I felt certain I could, and would"(95). Encased by an eerie silence and nearing a ditch, the sight of a small deer comes to him out of the white fog. He lifts the bow and holds the deer within his vision, the calm, cool surface of the "hunter" giving way to nervousness as he prepares to release the arrow. The arrow sails through the fog, missing its target as the deer turns to run from the sound of the whipping bowstring. Trembling and unsure of himself, Ed lets go of another arrow in vain, hitting where the deer had just been (97). Defeated as a hunter, and as a man, he makes his way back to camp; the other men awake to see hi...


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...ance the fog both controls Ed’s vision as well as his ability to hide from the deer. The speaker of the poem, and perhaps Ed as well, feels that an indestructible hunter has always laid unseen within him and in the fog the true hunter is revealed as he is able to stand as one with both nature and the beasts.

Through a careful reading of the deer-hunting scene in Deliverance and "Fog Envelops the Animals" the argument that Ed begins his transformation to a true hunter and killer in this moment is further strengthened. He is able to become one with the wilderness and it allows him to feel and act as a true hunter. Even though he misses the shot, his purpose is to kill.

Works Cited

Dickey, James Deliverance. 1970. New York: Dell Publishing, 1994.

"Fog Envelops the Animals." The Whole Motion: Collected Poems 1945-1992. Hanover: Wesleyan UP, 1992. 80-21.

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