The Rattler Short Story Theme

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Bloody, vicious, and gut wrenching deaths occur frequently across the world. Human often contribute to the demise of various living things in order to ensure their own survival. People capture and execute animals for nourishment and protection. In the short story “The Rattler,” a man must decide whether or not to spare the life of a rattlesnake that he encounters during a walk in the desert. He chooses to slaughter the snake, resulting in the snake’s gory death. The author convinces the audience to sympathize with the snake and empathize with the narrator through the characterization of the snake, the descriptions of the tranquil environment, and the perspective of the man. The snake’s just treatment of the man, intelligence, and gruesome …show more content…

At the beginning of the passage, the man decides to take a walk in the desert after sunset. He notices the “thinning” sunlight, along with the much “cooler” air and “savory odors” from the scrub. The combination of the cooler weather and twilight surrounding create a relaxing environment. The peaceful surroundings contrasts with the violent, bloody execution of the serpent. The juxtaposition between the location and the snake’s upcoming death causes the passing of the snake to feel even more jarring and harsh. The narrator also indicates that he is alone in the desert. Until encountering the snake, the narrator believes that he is the “only thing abroad”. The narrator is completely away from society with no other humans nearby. The man is strolling through the desert, which is the snake’s habitat. The snake can normally roam freely throughout his environment. However, his life is abruptly cut short despite wandering in own home. The death occurring in the snake’s territory makes his death even more cruel. After the death of the snake, the narrator envisions him departing over “twilit sands.” In the man’s daydream, the snake is shown the desert leaving peacefully instead of dying. The author’s choice to end the story with the image of snake adds to the already dismal mood. The author uses the time of day, emptiness of the surroundings, and the daydream of the serpent highlight the snake’s cruel

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