Woodchucks By Maxine Kumin Analysis

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The speaker of Maxine Kumin’s “Woodchucks” begins the poem as passive only describing what everyone is doing, but then transitions to a place of power describing all the things they have personally done. After careful examination of the poem, the poem seems to be about the Holocaust. The speaker describes how “gassing the woodchucks didn’t turn out right.” (Kumin). This then leads to the speaker describing what him and others were doing to the “woodchucks”, the speaker says, “both exits shoehorned shut with puddingstone,” (Kumin). From these two pieces of evidence, it becomes clear that the woodchucks are like the Jews and the speaker is representing the Nazi’s. Later on in the poem, the speaker talks about how he or she was killing the …show more content…

For example when referring to himself or herself the speaker describes, “and the case we had against them was airtight,” (Kumin) and when describing other people the speaker says, “Next morning they turned up again, no worse” (Kumin). The use of the words we and they when describing is very passive and uninterested, almost like the speaker is unsure of what is going on, not wanting to admit what is actually going on. The speaker does not show any emotion because he or she is trying to hide what is actually happening and feel uncomfortable with their own actions plus the actions of others around the speaker. At this point, the speaker does not want to admit all the things they have done to be apart of this incident. Then in the middle of the poem there is a drastic change from passive to having power. The speaker states, “I, a lapsed pacifist fallen from grace / puffed with Darwinian pieties for killing” (Kumin). This evidence reveals the transition the speaker makes from being passive to becoming powerful. The speaker notices how he or she has changed and become someone they do not understand. The old person that used to be the speaker is now a killer, turned that way by the

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