Analysis Of Maxe Kumin's Woodchucks

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A Simple Farmer’s Dark Side The speaker of Maxine Kumin’s “Woodchucks” is a farmer or gardener, angered by the pesky woodchucks in his/her garden, However, underneath the simple story of a farmer trying to get rid of woodchucks is a disturbing metaphor about World War II and the evil inside everyone. The evil side of the speaker develops throughout the poem with each stanza showing more and more anger and even thrill and satisfaction in the killing. “Woodchucks” begins with an explanation of how the first effort, more merciful than the rest, doesn’t kill the woodchucks. The speaker, a farmer, develops a growing hatred for the woodchucks in their garden and realizes the evil they never knew was inside them. In the first stanza, the speaker…show more content…
The speaker offers a more in-depth view of their personal experience with hunting the woodchucks. The speaker begins to find joy and satisfaction in the murdering of pests, as demonstrated by the phrase, “thrilling to the feel of the .22”. The speaker admits that he/she is a “lapsed pacifist fallen from grace puffed with Darwinian pieties for killing”. This phrase shows that the speaker acknowledges their evolution towards evil. “Darwinian” can symbolize that the author is beginning to feel a primal “survival of the fittest” mindset while killing; it could also be a hint to the WWII metaphor because the Nazi’s used Darwinian ideas to justify the killings they committed. In the fourth stanza, the focus is still on the speaker’s personal experience and feelings. Now, the speaker is using blunt phrases that don’t suggest any mercy or regret, they suggest satisfaction and joy. The phrases “I dropped the mother” and “O one-two-three the murderer inside me rose up hard, the hawkeye killer came on stage forthwith” are cold and suggest a relentless killer. The phrase “O one-two-three” offers a song-like vibe, even though the speaker is talking about murdering a family of woodchucks, solidifying that the speaker is enjoying the murder and finds it…show more content…
The speaker is still focused on him/herself as seen in the use of “I” and “me”. The feelings of guilt and grief begin to surface after the speaker’s murderous rampage, they say, “If only they’d all consented to die unseen gassed underground the quiet Nazi way.” This loaded sentence brings the poem full-circle again, speaking of the gassing and referencing Nazis; however, it seems to be a charged accusation to the woodchucks themselves, as if the speaker is accusing them of bringing out all of this evil because they didn’t choose to die easily when the speaker was being
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