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Analysis and comments on Traveling Through The Dark by William Stafford

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Comment 14 of 314, added on March 31st, 2008 at 11:00 AM.

Okay, so I came to the conclusion that the driver could be interpreted as
Adolf Hitler. The fawn could be intrepreted as the Jewish people. This is
from the perspective of Adolf Hitler, so Adolf Hitler comes to God (deer).
It is a narrow road, meaning Adolf Hilter has a very narrow perspective.
The engine purrs at one point, The nazis passion for waht they are doing,
the front lights dim. Adolf Hitlers narrow perspective becomes narrower.
Exhaust turns red, they used torture methods of that kind, and also the
battle became bloodier. Hilter hesitates, a moral battle of some kind,
finally decides that the jewish people killed there God, cannot survive on
there own, and nor could Adolf help them in any way.
Of course i don't believe any of this, but Hitler could have

Brian from United States
Comment 13 of 314, added on January 5th, 2008 at 7:11 PM.

viewing all the comments i just read helped me to understand the poem more
and i got some answers as well from these comments for my homework
assignment and i think this is a pretty good idea for students like me
cause im only 14 in high skool and this was a big help for me so thanks ill
be back when i need help with my other poems lol bye now

nish from Saint Kitts and Nevis
Comment 12 of 314, added on January 29th, 2007 at 7:41 AM.

Traveling Through the Dark is a deeply emotive poem which presents a deep
and true meaning. The title, firstly, could be understoodas a journey into
no light. The word 'dark' could be understood as no light, gloom,
difficulty of finding the right path. Stafford, throughout the poem makes
a link between Nature and human beings. He is faced with the decision of
throwing the doe over the edge of the cliff. He is saddened however by the
fact that the doe is pregnant and the fawn (baby deer) will not live. He
has to make a choice. . He eventually rools the deer into the canyon. The
'I' in the poem had to roll the deer over the edge as the deer could cause
other accidents. In order to save one life, another must be sacrificed. The
moods of the poem include: sadness, despair. The tone is contemplative. The
rhythm is slow due to punctuation which evokes the person's feelings. The
figurative devices used include, personification (L.16 wilderness listen)
pun (L. 17. swerving), oxymoron (L. 11. alive, still never to be born) and
alliteration (L.4 might make more).

Rani from Jamaica
Comment 11 of 314, added on February 13th, 2006 at 6:23 PM.

The main tones highlighted in this poem is "dark" which signifies death,
negativity,& loneliness.It's major theme is human nature.

The persona finds a dead doe on a heap by the roadside and out his care and
love for nature he stops to see the deer.On touching the side of the doe
the persona realizes that the doe is pregnant and the fawn is still alive
inside waiting to be born.

The persona became hesitant because now he has to make a more difficult
choice of wether the mother would want her fawn to live or die.As his
audience wait in anticipation of his next move. The persona pushed the doe
over the edge into the river.

This poem could best be renamed as "Man of Nature" or "Never to be born".

In conclusion while travelling through the dark a carefull driver, who
loves nature, found a dead doe which was pregnant but her fawn was never to
be born.

sher from Jamaica
Comment 10 of 314, added on October 27th, 2005 at 7:52 PM.

This poem is exactly what the title suggest. It is about life. The darkness
is our future, which we cannot see. The deer did not "see" the car which
hit, before the fact. This is just as humans do not know the future and
get "hit by cars" all the time (ie. Hurrican Katrina,9/11). This is the
swerving he did for all of us. The deer represents death/life. The car
helps bring out the image of piercing through the darkness with limited
vision in front of us.

Nodnarb Eloop from United States
Comment 9 of 314, added on October 17th, 2005 at 4:00 PM.

Though William Stafford wrote of the ordinary life of man and the
experiences of the every day life, I found a more complicated meaning
inside this poem. I saw that as the narrator as 'traveling through the dark
I found a deer dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.' I felt as if the
deer represented an effort that was made but destroyed by humans
(represented by the car). I am very big on symbolism and I saw: Car=public/
human cruelty; Deer= fallen attempt of something; Fawn= surviving hope
of the product of the effort; Dark night= a bad situation or struggle.
As the narrator first starts to dispose of the carrion (decaying flesh) he
feels the fawn inside and he realizes that it will not survive with it's
mother dead. The narrator is given the chance of rescuing the dying hope,
but as William describes "The car aimed its lowered parking lights; under
the hood purred the steady engine. I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust
truning red around our group I could hear the wilderness listen." I see the
description of the car as the waiting of human kind to go ahead and dispose
of the carcus and return to its normal route, while the wilderness is
listening to see if the human will help it. After much thought, the
narrator chooses to dispose of the deer. This is symbolic to human
ignorance in that he was given the choice and did not take advantage of the
situation of saving a hope. The Swerving mentioned in the first stanza
(...to swerve might make more dead.) is described as his swerving at the
last stanza (--my only swerving--). The swerve that the narrator recognizes
in his action may lead to (as teh irony calls for) the downfall or 'more
dead' that he may inflict upon himself. It is a very descriptive poem that
does have deeper meaning if you look for it. This is just my interpretation
of it.

Lauren from United States
Comment 8 of 314, added on September 19th, 2005 at 9:45 PM.

I believe this poem was an excellent choice to read in my English II Honors
class. I think this poem was very explanatory, and most poems are not.
This did not cause any confusion, and made a very good resource to work off
of. This poem was a good subject, since this happens in real life, and was
very visual to read. This poem had a sense of compassion and hurt since a
baby doe was not born due to his mother being hit by a car. I enjoyed
writing about this poem, and would definately want to do it again.

Kyla Johanson from United States
Comment 7 of 314, added on September 19th, 2005 at 9:35 PM.

I feel that the poem was strong and very descriptive toward the drivers
thoughts and feelings for the dead deer. It wasn't very sad because thats
what happens sometimes in life and wilderness...accidents! But I think that
the driver made the right decision to knock the deer off the edge because
the deer was dead and so then it would not get run over or cause any
accidents to any other drivers who would pass by it and not see it... I
think that it was the best thing to do....

TylerTui. from United States
Comment 6 of 314, added on June 19th, 2005 at 1:41 PM.

i think that he is cruel to do such a thing he should have called an animal
reascue agency because they would have come and take it away and probably
cut the fawn out of the doe's stomach

Gracie from United States
Comment 5 of 314, added on June 3rd, 2005 at 9:38 AM.

Traveling Through the Dark though seemingly straightforward and "literal"
questions that of the value of life and to a lesser extent the treatment of
death. Clearly this individual isn't instinctively an inhumane individual "
my fingers touching her side brought me the reason her side was warm: her
faun lay there waiting" as well as others instances where the individual
contemplates the next move. He weighs in on the fact that" she was large in
the belly" and whatever was inside was 'alive". The average, ego driven,
self centered individual would not have taken the time to notice these
things instead the deer being "lesser" than him would have been more that
happy "to roll it into the canyon".

Stafford through his creative use of language and detailed description,
seemingly hints at and seeks to highlight human nature at it's best
especially when there is no one else there only "the wilderness".

Clearly the persona is of the opinion that one death especially that of an
animal should not cause the death of another and so though compassionate he
joins the masses, that majority of the society who at some point or another
have come across a deer or other animal of the wild along a narrow road and
has done what they have and "pushed her over into the edge of the river".

Mickel-Ann from Jamaica

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Information about Traveling Through The Dark

Poet: William Stafford
Poem: Traveling Through The Dark
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 2774 times
Poem of the Day: Feb 14 2007

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