A Comparison Between “Traveling through the dark” and “A Noiseless, Patient Spider”
William Stafford’s "Traveling through the dark" is beautifully written poem that expresses one of life’s most challenging aspects. It is the story of a man’s solitary struggle to deal with a tragic event that he encounters.
Driving down a narrow mountain road, “Traveling through the dark,” the narrator of the poem encounters a deer. This line might fool the reader into believing the poem has a happy theme however, the first word of the second line reverses this belief. The deer is actually “dead on the edge of the Wilson River Road” (2, 911). The traveler decides to send the deer over the edge of the canyon, because “to swerve might make more dead” (4, 911). This line indicates that if he fails or “swerves” in his decision, the deer could cause an accident on the narrow road that might cost more lives.
The narrator proceeds with his unfortunate task. He approaches the deer and observes that it is a recent killing. He drags her off to the side of the road, noting that she is “large in the belly” (8, 911). The narrator soon discovers that the deer is pregnant, and that her fawn is still alive. At this moment he hesitates, distraught over the decision he knows he must make.
Faced by the implications of this decision, the narrator considers his surroundings: his car stares ahead into the darkness with its lowered parking lights, purring its steady engine; he stands “in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red,” (15, 912) and can “hear the wilderness listen” (16, 911). All of these describe the anxiety he feels about his responsibility. The personified car is expectantly awaiting his decision, eager to get moving again. The wilderness takes on human abilities also, silently witnessing the outcome it knows must be, but wishing it was otherwise. As the narrator ponders all of this, the taillights of the car illuminate him in their red light. This is reflective of the heightened emotions he is experiencing, but also brings to mind the bloody fate of the deer and her unborn fawn. The narrator thinks “hard for us all” (17,912) and proceeds with the task he had committed to since the beginning. He pushes the deer and her unborn fawn over the edge into the river.
There is much more to “Traveling through the dark” than its literal story. The ...
... middle of paper ...
... wishes to underline this point by making the thread that the spider will use to launch itself into the air drawn out to an extreme. The spider is tireless in its quest, and so too is the soul. The soul, like the spider, is flinging out a "gossamer thread to catch somewhere" (10, 810). And like the spider, the soul is willing and able to wait until the moment shall arrive that is just right to begin its travels. However, like the spider's fragile silk, this bridge is also frail and prone to breakage from a careless act or an unheeding nature. So, in spite of the careful and deliberate act of flinging out a filament to catch on some unknown "sphere", it is possible that the soul may never reach its destination. For Whitman, that is both the excitement and the scariness of it all. Perhaps he is communicating to the reader the idea that though one may never get to where one is going, still, the journey is very important.
Although by the language and the elements within these two poems seem very different, the interpretation suggests that they both discuss man’s journey through life. The physical in one, and the spiritual in the other.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Comparing Two Poets William Stafford's "Traveling Through the Dark" is beautifully written poem that expresses one of life's most challenging aspects. It is the story of a man's solitary struggle to deal with a tragic event that he encounters. Driving down a narrow mountain road, "Traveling Through the Dark," the narrator of the poem encounters a deer. This line might fool the reader into believing the poem has a happy theme; after all, a deer is a beautiful creature that most people associate with nature or freedom.... [tags: Traveling Dark Noiseless Spider Poem Comparison]
1338 words (3.8 pages)
- Escape in Madam Bovary and Anna Karenina Reading provides an escape for people from the ordinariness of everyday life. Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina, dissatisfied with their lives pursued their dreams of ecstasy and love through reading. At the beginning of both novels Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary made active decisions about their future although these decisions were not always rational. As their lives started to disintegrate Emma and Anna sought to live out their dreams and fantasies through reading.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1527 words (4.4 pages)
- Atrocities in Stafford's Traveling Through the Dark Is a drive just a drive, or is it a metaphor that imparts appreciation for life's fragility while simultaneously lamenting man's inability to appropriately confront, or understand, death. William Stafford's "Traveling Through the Dark" illustrates the mechanisms by which seemingly mundane events become probes into the mystery and ambiguity of the human condition. The poem's situation is simple, a lone traveler driving along a desolate canyon road spots a felled deer; the traveler, desiring neither to hit the deer, nor by swerving to avoid it, hurtle his car over the canyon precipice, stops his vehicle and proceeds to push the falle... [tags: Traveling Through Dark]
791 words (2.3 pages)
- Profound Meaning in William Stafford's Traveling Through the Dark The power of the poet is not only to convey an everyday scene into a literary portrait of words, but also to interweave this scene into an underlying theme. The only tool the poet has to wield is the word. Through a careful placement and selection of words, the poet can hopefully make his point clear, but not blatantly obvious. Common themes of poems are life, death, or the conflicting forces thereto. This theme could never possibly be overused because of the endless and limitless ways of portraying life or death through the use of different words.... [tags: Stafford Traveling Through the Dark Essays]
1187 words (3.4 pages)
- Importance of Control in Stafford's Traveling Through the Dark In William Stafford's "Traveling Through the Dark," the narrator encounters a dead deer on the edge of the road. He knows that the safe and proper course of action is to push the deer into the canyon, but when he finds that the doe was near giving birth before she died, he hesitates to kill the unborn fawn. Stafford's central idea in the poem revolves around the decision the narrator makes to sacrifice the deer in order to clear the road of obstacles, so that others who drive on the dark, narrow road won't have to swerve.... [tags: Traveling Through Dark]
725 words (2.1 pages)
- Traveling Through the Dark by William Stafford In his poem, "Traveling Through the Dark," William Stafford presents the reader with the difficulty of one man's choice. Immediately, the scene is set, with the driver, who is "traveling though the dark" (line 1) coming upon a recently killed deer. At first, his decision with what to do with the deer is easy; he knows he must push it off the edge for the safety of other motorists, but then, a closer examination of the deer reveals to the man new circumstances.... [tags: Papers William Stafford Through Dark Essays]
1097 words (3.1 pages)
- “Grown men can learn from very little children, for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss” -Black Elk- The healthy growth of the mind and the intellect of children is a much discussed topic in the modern world. The physical wellbeing and intellectual growth of children vary according to the environment in which they live. Within the social system we find specialized gendered spaces that permit or forbid natural advancement of children.... [tags: Dark Holds no Terrors]
2479 words (7.1 pages)
- Fear In the Damp and Dark Gap The usual signification of the French feminist's "gap" transformed by Jack Bushnell from silent entrapment to a meaning that signifies the "gap" as that which frees the other and allows for the generation of a voice of the other's own Circus of the Wolves. The famous masculine--self and feminine--other opposition will be freely utilized with the man and the circus representing the former and Kael and nature the latter. Gaps appear literally and figuratively throughout the text and with each appearance its meaning slowly, slowly, alters in the previously stated manner.... [tags: In the Damp and Dark Gap]
1215 words (3.5 pages)
- Traveling Through the Dark Stafford furtively conceals the profound meaning of his poem behind a story of the narrator, who stops alongside the road to care for a deer. The genius behind poem is better understood when the superficial meaning is expressed deeply. Driving down a narrow mountain road, "traveling through the dark," the narrator of the poem encounters a deer. The deer is actually "dead on the edge of the Wilson River road." The traveler decides to send the deer over the edge of the canyon, because "to swerve might make more dead." This line indicates that if he fails or "swerves" in his decision, the deer could cause an accident on the narrow road that might cost more lives.... [tags: Papers]
542 words (1.5 pages)
- "Traveling Through the Dark" by William Stafford was published in 1962. This poem has no consistent line length; there is also no specific rhyme scheme. One characteristic I found in this poem is the similarity between some of the words. Some of the words have the same sounds such as lines five and seven: "By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car.../she had stiffened already, almost cold" (Stafford 155), the words "car" and "cold" both have the C sound. I have found the same similarity between sounds in other lines also.... [tags: Poetry]
487 words (1.4 pages)