Emotions in the poem Snake by DH Lawrence

Emotions in the poem Snake by DH Lawrence

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Snake by DH Lawrence

In Snake, Lawrence tells of a confrontation with a snake he had
at his water trough. This poem is actually based on an incident that
occurred to him and obviously reflects his feelings and emotions.
Lawrence was honored by the snakes presence, but was also afraid. “If
you were not afraid, you would kill him”, he said to himself. He
simply waits for the snake to finish drinking its water, and then
throws a log at it to scare it away. After doing so he immediately
regrets doing it because he missed a chance with one of the “lords of
Throughout the poem Lawrence illustrates his point about strife
and the clash of opposites. Education and social conventions make
Lawrence think that the poisonous snake must be killed, and that a
brave man should undertake the task. For a brief moment Lawrence
lacked the faith of his own intuition and missed his chance with one
of the lords of life. (Internet, 3) He compares the snake to
domesticated farm animals and to a human by referring to the snake
as “someone” and describing “him” as amusing. Lawrence compares the
snake to a god, a king, and a lord of life. It almost seems as he
feels the snake is above him. The snake is the first one on the
scene, and the first to leave. Lawrence wonders why “petty” mankind
always tries to rob the dignity from all Godly creatures
(Masterplots, 1930).
Some religious themes could be drawn from the poem as well.
There was a snake in the Garden of Eden. Lawrence is drawn by the
snake, just as Eve was in the Bible. He is in complete awe of it, and
can not decide to turn away from it or get a chance to understand it.
Lawrence’s act of scaring it away could illustrate an attempt to draw
closer to God. His inner feelings are fear of the snake “And truly I
was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more.” His
Garden was both honored and violated by the snake (Masterplots,
1931). This poem, along with others, convey his inner feelings and
conflicts. He is confused on how he should feel about the snake. He
is torn between what he thinks society would have him do, and what
would be morally right. He has been taught that a snake is something

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evil, and that he should be scared of. Inside, however, he feels
honored by the snake being there. But the pressure of society wins,
and he throws a log at the snake and scares it away. He regrets it
and wishes he had not done it. He was drawn to what represented evil,
but did turn away. Perhaps this has been a frequent occurrence in his
life. Whenever he conforms to society or God he regrets it because he
did not do what he really wanted to do, which might sometimes be
Snake is an excellent poem that I enjoyed. It deals with a great
deal of inner conflict, with good prevailing. But does good prevail,
when evil is what you still feel you should have done. The fact that
Lawrence actually experienced the account that took place in the poem
makes it all the more interesting. You can tell by his writing he has
a great deal of inner discord that developed throughout his life.
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