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Analysis and comments on In the desert by Stephen Crane

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Comment 39 of 919, added on March 23rd, 2006 at 2:09 PM.

There is one inherent confusion in this poem that I cannot reconcile. I
believe the creature and the speaker to be two sides to Crane's self. This
has been stated before so I will leave it at that. I also believe that the
"eating" of the heart is a representation of the attraction of misery. It
is all too common for humans to experience a loss and retreat into a "poor
me" attitude that embraces sorrow instead of moving beyond it.
Ok so back to the original conundrum. In this poem, does Crane take a
stance? One one hand, you could assume that the creature's bestial
nakedness puts it on a lower, more primitive level of cognition. Thus it
is a base reaction to embrace sorrow and refuse to move on. If this were
the case, then Crane is saying that we should all move past our misfortunes
and live. Then there is the opposite reading. Is Crane really saying that
the world is a cruel, indifferent, and oftentimes hostile creation that
breeds sorrow? And that embracing sorrow is the only possible reaction in
a world that breeds constant misfortune?
This is my quandary. Which position is Crane really taking? The fact that
the poem ends on the creature's words of woe seems to point to the 2nd
interpretation. One would assume that if Crane wanted us to move past
"eating our hearts" then the speaker would respond to the creature's words.
However, he does not. Is this conclusive proof? I don't think so.
Regardless it is a wonderfully sorrowful poem in either instance.

Patrick from United States
Comment 38 of 919, added on March 16th, 2006 at 8:34 PM.

I believe that this poem clearly states that the creature is oveously a
struggling 6th grader try to work ona poetry unit and he is eating his
heart so he dies and never has to worry about that project

Zach from United States
Comment 37 of 919, added on March 14th, 2006 at 2:34 PM.

Well,if it is possible to survive without having a heart then what is the
use of it?Am I being too pragmatist or too weak to tolerate a heart beating
as if it rebells?

elif from Turkey
Comment 36 of 919, added on March 8th, 2006 at 9:17 PM.

I think this is good poem and i agree that the dog is eating his dog poo,
and hes a bad little doggy now. Dogs are cool though.

JJ Melendez from Azerbaijan
Comment 35 of 919, added on February 23rd, 2006 at 2:06 AM.

The heart is passion. The creature is our carnal nature and desire, and to
eat the heart is to glutt oneself on his passion. When you do that, when
you feast on your passion, it is bitter, bitter, but you like it because it
is bitter and because it is your heart. The poem is a masterpiece. I
think about it often.

Nathaniel H. from United States
Comment 34 of 919, added on February 3rd, 2006 at 2:36 AM.

I think the bestial creature is nothing more than a creature. I believe he
is discussing pride. The creature is proud. He has a heart, and he likes
it. It is bitter, true. All men are bitter, but all men are proud. Is the
eating of his heart introspective? No, because he says "In the desert, I
saw a creature." He is not eating his heart, he is not necessarily bitter.
It may mean no matter what man becomes, even a gangrel creature in the
desert, he always has a heart. Whatever that may mean.

John from Canada
Comment 33 of 919, added on February 2nd, 2006 at 10:42 AM.

this poem is about eating dog poo. the dog thinks it tastes bitter but he
loves eating his dog poo, especially other dogs poo

Morgzin Richardsonz from Canada
Comment 32 of 919, added on February 1st, 2006 at 6:23 PM.

I think that this poem could possible be about a person who has lost
everything because of his own doings. The desert symbolizes remoteness and
desolation in his life, and his heart is all that he has left. He holds the
heart in his own hands as if weighing it and eats from it. And when he
likes the bitter taste of his heart, he likes it because he is taking
account for his own sins and accepts it. He judges himself by what he knows
of himself, and not by what others see of him, as it is emphasized when
another person asks him how his heart tastes.

Laura from United States
Comment 31 of 919, added on December 19th, 2005 at 5:08 PM.

Beutiful.... i analize it as a man who is bitter.. who is bitter because he
is lonely

Lori from United States
Comment 30 of 919, added on December 12th, 2005 at 9:06 PM.

The poem has a strong mystical content. In just about every religion, there
is the symbology of the desert as a place where the Sun (The awareness of
the concious mind) burns away ignorance with the relentless light of its
presence. In Jungian terms, the author is wandering (like Jesus or
Siddartha) in a place where he is confronted with the fact that his
spiritual troubles can no longer be laid at the feet of others, because the
shadow(or "satan") is the darker, or emotional part of our psychological
nature. The author, in my experience, is confronting the bestial side of
his humanity. Feel free to e-mail me on your thoughts on this
P.S.: I am a hermetic/Jungian/mystical/Hanumaian

wes from United States

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Information about In the desert

Poet: Stephen Crane
Poem: 3. In the desert
Volume: The Black Riders & Other Lines
Year: 1905
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 1870 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 28 2000

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