William Stafford's Traveling Through The Dark

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While many narratives are about whether a person goes out of his way to do what is right or takes the easy route by ignoring the problem and hoping someone else will take care of it, William Stafford's poem “Traveling through the Dark” addresses the idea of doing the right thing in an way that is not usually used. When he speaker comes across a deer that has been killed along a narrow stretch of road along a canyon, he decides to move it. At first the decision seems straightforward; if someone sees the deer and swerves to miss it, he could lose control and the car would fall into the canyon and “make more dead.” With that information, it is clear that the right thing to do is to get the deer out of the way of future motorists potentially to…show more content…
Each of the five stanzas relates to a different thought and action that the speaker executes; the first stanza is the recognition of the dead deer on the road and the decision to remove it from the road for the sake of safety. This is the evidence of his ability to be unswayed by death. The next stanza has the speaker beginning to carry out his planned course of action, and noticing that the doe is “large in the belly.” The points to his ability to act instinctively, as he doesn't give the sight of the large doe enough thought to consider that she was pregnant. In the next stanza the speaker realizes the existence of life within the dead deer, and he hesitates, no longer sure of his plan. He is sympathizing with the fawn because his heart is not simply hardened against wild animals and he cares for its life. In the fourth stanza the speaker is forced to choose between going through his original plan or trying to save the unborn fawn, and all of his surroundings seem to wait for his decision. Even though he is able to act purely on instinct, he is also very aware and observant of his surroundings and very pensive when confronted with the unexpected. In the final stanza he resolves to push the deer over; this stanza is shorter than the others, and this break from the pattern throughout the rest of the poem signifies that he probably had to stop his mind from racing and considering all the possibilities and act quickly or he wouldn't have been able to act at

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