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Woodchucks Poem Analysis

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“Woodchucks” by Maxine Kumin, which narrates her experience with woodchucks and how she lost her humanity trying to protect her garden from the pesky creatures. She uses such a simple past experience to symbolize something more profound. Throughout the poem she is at war with the woodchucks and as the story progresses, her means of extermination do as well. In the end, she uses a rifle to kill them all she is left saddened as she watches the last woodchuck die. The simplicity of the title is perfect for this poem because it leads the reader into thinking the poem is going to be a happy story about an encounter with a woodchuck, when in reality it is the retelling of the author killing woodchucks.. The author uses war-like diction and a tone that is frustrated and ruthless to symbolize the theme of human malevolence and how easily our evil can be channeled.
The author’s diction makes the dilemma with the
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We get a sense of how much evil can be within someone and how easily it is to lose humanity. Kumin described it as “righteously thrilling to the feel of the .22, the bullets’ neat noses” (14). In the former quote, the author is being honest about the sensation she felt and how she was getting a thrill from killing the woodchucks one by one. Although it is a gruesome description, it is very instrumental to the development of the theme which is emphasized in the next line. The author explains what happened to her by comparing herself to “a lapsed pacifist fallen from grace puffed with Darwinian pieties for killing” (16). The former quote contains the two most important lines of the poem because it explains that the author is normally a peaceful human who had fallen astray from her true self for a brief moment. The authors uses “Darwinian pieties” referring to the fact the she was killing the woodchucks for her own
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