Behaviorism In William Stafford's Traveling Through The Dark

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Ever had a mental “fork in the road?” Of course you have. We all have those tough decisions to make at times. William Stafford’s “Traveling Through the Dark” is about one of those very instances. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. In fact, one could argue that the point of view character has this internal struggle due to a psychological theory called behaviorism. Behaviorism is the psychological theory that we are influenced by our environment through social means. Because of behaviorism theory, the main character develops a moral struggle caused by his surroundings. To delve deeper, here’s a line-by-line analysis of “Traveling Through the Dark.” Starting readers off with the first two lines, “Traveling through the dark I found a deer dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.” (Line 1 and 2, Stafford), adds a sense of setting to the story. The conflict becomes recognized in the next two lines, “It is usually best to roll them into the canyon: the road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.” (Lines 3 and 4, Stafford). Apply your brakes here to reassess this statement. Not only does this add to the sense of setting by giving detail of Wilson River road, but it gives the reader more detail into the conflict. Our narrator states “It is usually best to roll…show more content…
They continue “her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting, alive, still, never to be born.” (Lines 10 and 11, Stafford), this setting forth the cause of the moral imbalance with the narrator. Line 12 confirms the question of judgement for the narrator as it reads “Beside that mountain road I hesitated.” We also are clued into more detail into the setting that Wilson River road is a slim mountainside one. As the climax of the story heats up, so does the narrator’s
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