Analysis Of William Stafford's 'Traveling Through The Dark'

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Life of the Doe
The correlation of the speaker’s experience with the dead doe in “Traveling through the Dark” by William Stafford is much alike the ongoing hardships and difficulties faced in life. The title “Traveling through the Dark” conveys a message of grief and discomfort, but there is a constant urge to keep progressing on with one’s journey. Although the experience itself is hard to relate to, Stafford’s use of literary devices enhances the emotions and intensity felt, making it relevant to readers that had dealt with hardships in the past.
Avoiding challenges in life allows the problem to grow and fester. After being confronted by the dead deer laying on the edge of the road, the speaker explains that the road is narrow and to “swerve
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The doe’s life is symbolic for an unexpected death, as death can happen at any moment. Stafford chooses to affiliate the speaker and the fawn with isolation from the rest of the world to display the preciousness of life and the inevitable threat of death. Motionless, the speaker stands in “the glare of the warm exhaust turning red,” (15), the red symbolizes the spotlight and decision lying in the hands of the speaker. Oftentimes, red is associated with anger and desire as the color holds a warm an emotionally intense feeling. The desire to save a life, but the inability to do so angers the speaker as the speaker is left with no alternatives to save the unborn fawn’s life. To intensify the situation and to show more signs of isolation, the personification of the wilderness is used to impersonate the calm and quiet night, “around our group I could hear the wilderness listen, (line 16).” Stafford quotes that the speaker could hear the wilderness listen, revealing that the forest is at peace regardless of the choice that the speaker makes. The wilderness resembles the world and peace is commonly associated with acceptance of a given situation, Stafford implies that the world does not show sympathy for anyone. The speaker must accept the terms of being unable to save the unborn fawn’s life and move on. Similar to one’s life, one should be appreciative of the blessings

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