Traveling Through The Dark By Maxine Kumin Essay

Traveling Through The Dark By Maxine Kumin Essay

Length: 1266 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Traveling through the Dark by William Stafford and Woodchucks by Maxine Kumin are both short poems dealing with cruel acts perpetrated towards animals. In Traveling Through the Dark this takes the form of the author pushing a dead deer, pregnant with a still alive foal, off a cliff. Meanwhile, in Woodchucks the narrator attempts to gas and later shoots the title animal in a manner reminiscent of Nazi’s persecution of Jews in the Holocaust. While these poems are on similar topics, differences in their meaning appear when looking deeper. Woodchucks uses a fairly regular rhyme scheme and a series of short sentences and phrases, diction heavy with weapon references and allusions to historical atrocities, and detailed descriptions to create a maniacal tone, which is thus critical of many human actions. Meanwhile, Traveling uses a form similar to a couplet but lacking rhyme and meter and with an extra stanza, an emphasis on car diction and interesting use of pronouns, and description shifting from the deer to the car, creating a tone threat shifts from reverent to distant, making the actions of the speaker seem weighty, but necessary.
Woodchucks uses and altered rhyme scheme and heavily punctuated structure to help create a sense of unease in the poem. Composed of four six-line stanzas, the poem contains a rhyme scheme of ABCACB within each stanza. While it is a regular rhyme scheme, it is a fairly unusual one, helping their be something standing out as different about the poem. In addition, there are several instances of slant rhyme in the poem such as “worse… course” in the third stanza and “keeps…sleep” and “dream… unseen in the pivotal fourth and final stanza. These instances of slant rhyme also indicate a slight unease in the poe...


... middle of paper ...


...mplicit and quick, as the narrator “pushed her over the edge.” This short sweet description, make the death seem significant yet removed, helping it seem more acceptable.
Both Woodchucks by Maxine Kumin and Traveling Through the Night by William Stafford are poems about animal’s deaths that recognize the significance of their deaths, as evidenced by the descriptions they give of the animals. However, Woodchucks with its rapid pacing, detailed death scenes, and references to feared ideas, jams the death down the audience’s throats. Meanwhile, Traveling takes a slower pace and pulls focus away from the deaths, making the death be more acceptable. Thus Woodchucks shows how human nature can make killing a horrible experience and a flaw of man, while Traveling Through the Night shows that while difficult and horrible, sometime a kill is the right thing for a person to do.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Maxine Kumin Essays

- Maxine Kumin Maxine Kumin, who experienced many different views of the world through travel, feels the most comfortable in New Hampshire, her rural home. In any area that she travels, she always makes a similarity to her home, as expressed in her poems. In her poem, “The Long Approach”, she is driving in her Saab hatchback from Scranton to her farm in New Hampshire. She also discusses her plane ride back from Orlando to New Hampshire the week before. Throughout the poem she makes references back to the animals she cares for and comes in contact with on the farm....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
481 words (1.4 pages)

Essay on Woodchucks by Maxine Kumin

- Woodchucks by Maxine Kumin Maxine Kumin?s, Woodchucks provides an interesting and creative perspective into the mind state of those influenced by nazi warfare. What begins as a seemingly humorous cat and mouse hunt, reminiscent of such movie classics as Caddyshack, soon develops into an insatiable lust for blood. Kumin?s descriptive language provides the reader with the insight necessary to understand to the speaker?s psychology as they are driven beyond the boundaries of pacifism. The poem does indeed have a rhyme scheme, yet doesn?t conform to conventional forms of rhyme such as A, B, A, B, etc....   [tags: Papers Poem Poetry Kumin Essays]

Better Essays
866 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Maxine Kumin

- Maxine Kumin is considered one of the best Jewish American poets of her time. She has won a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for her work in Up Country. She has been compared to Anne Sexton, who was a fellow American confessionalist poet. Confessionalist poets tend to focus their poetry on personal matters that took place in their lives. For example, Kumin discusses the inner lives of her characters in her personal poems. She is considered a naturalist feminist because she gives her utmost importance to ecological things, such as plants, animals, the overall environment surrounding her....   [tags: Biography Jewish Poet Poetry]

Better Essays
1892 words (5.4 pages)

Atrocities in Stafford's Traveling Through the Dark Essay

- 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]

Better Essays
791 words (2.3 pages)

William Stafford's Traveling Through the Dark Essay

- 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]

Better Essays
1187 words (3.4 pages)

Importance of Control in Stafford's Traveling Through the Dark Essay

- 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]

Better Essays
725 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Traveling Through the Dark by William Stafford

- 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]

Better Essays
1097 words (3.1 pages)

How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck Essay

- 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....   [tags: Woodchucks, maxine kumin, dehumanization]

Better Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston Essay

- The theme of “voiceless woman” throughout the book “the woman warrior” is of great importance. Maxine Kingston narrates several stories in which gives clear examples on how woman in her family are diminished and silenced by Chinese culture. The author not only provides a voice for herself but also for other women in her family and in her community that did not had the opportunity to speak out and tell their stories. The author starts the book with the story of her aunt. This story was a well-kept family secret being that her aunt’s actions were of great disappointment to the family....   [tags: Maxine Kingston]

Better Essays
1032 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about No Name Woman By Maxine Hong Kingston

- Maxine Hong Kingston’s story “No Name Woman” can certainly be considered a tale about gender inequality. There are numerous ways that Kingston suggests and incorporates gender discrimination into her story. For example, Kingston makes it clear how sons are celebrated more than daughters in traditional Chinese society. While sons were acclaimed because they could pass on the family name, daughters were commonly given away by their parents. Kingston makes this notion clear in her sentence, “it was probably a girl; there is some hope of forgiveness for boys,” regarding the “no name woman’s” newborn child (Kingston 4)....   [tags: Gender, Woman, Maxine Hong Kingston]

Better Essays
1647 words (4.7 pages)