The Rattler

967 Words4 Pages
Humans often kill powerful animals for interacting with humans in a seemingly dangerous way. Is their murder justifiable? One can answer this question for themselves through the short story The Rattler, in which the author presents the contrasting views of a rational man that must kill an innocent snake The snake is not willing to die without a fight, and the man is not willing to let his duties go unfulfilled. The author persuades the reader to empathize with the man and sympathize with the snake by giving the snake a personality, narrating the story from the man’s point of view, and creating a calm setting. The snake’s intelligence, fair treatment of the man, and gruesome death evoke sympathy from the reader. Upon seeing the man for the…show more content…
Deciding the best course of action, in which there are many possible avenues, is stressful, and the man must make a decision that could lead to repercussions. He then determines the benefits of committing the murder, and reaches the conclusion that his “duty, plainly, was to kill the snake.” It would be much easier for him to simply walk away, but he decides to kill the snake instead. In his eyes, he must execute his decision to protect his family and friends. He does not expressly want to kill the snake, and he is obviously remorseful. The author legitimizes the murder by using this guilt as an excuse. After he eventually kills it, the man drops the snake “into the close green guardian-ship of the paper-bag bush.” He essentially buries the snake because he feels guilty for killing an animal that hasn’t done anything wrong. His actions were inevitably going to lead to repercussions, and he wants to remedy them, mentally at least, through this burial. The reader is empathetic towards the man because of his obvious remorse. In conclusion, the author uses the emotions that the man feels as justification for his actions, leading readers to understand why he would kill the…show more content…
He imagines the calmness prior to him destroying the snake, a part of nature that he considered beautiful. The contrast between the setting and the gruesome events that took place are accentuated even more when the man compares the two after killing the snake. He imagines the beauty of the setting without his interference, and this creates empathy for having to deal with the situation in this way. In conclusion, the author uses the feelings generated by the setting to emphasize the contrast between them and the horrible murder The author persuades the reader to sympathize with him and empathize with the snake by giving the snake a personality, narrating the story from his point of view, and creating a calm setting. His decision to kill the snake may have been an exhausting ordeal, but the implications are everlasting. Therefore, when he makes this decision, the effect that it has on him and on the reader is profound. It is the responsibility of readers to understand both situations so that they can, by themselves, determine whether or not killing animals is justifiable under any circumstances
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