A brave, tough, and a self-confident woman, that is who Gail White is. White claims to be a critic of the world around her and she expresses this through her poetry. In her poem “Dead Armadillos,” she points out the way the society looks at animals and how they give importance to them. Gail White was able to bring attention to the status of animals in the wild by using armadillos as a representation of them, and telling how the majority of the society gives little importance to them by using similes and giving the poem a sarcastic tone.
White used similes to compare armadillos to a “blind knight” (l. 9), like medieval knights, armadillos are covered in armor, a soft shell that surrounds their body as their defense mechanism, but even with this kind of protection, armadillos have a big flaw, they are not able to see, armadillos have a poor eyesight, almost blind, that is why Gail compared them to a “blind knight”. Gail also referred to armadillos that try to cross the road as dumb, “The dumb ones get a sudden urge to check the pickings across the asphalt, and nine times out of ten, collide with a ton of moving metal. (l. 3-7). This is a poor example of a simile because she reasons that armadillos are ran over by speeding vehicles because they are dumb, but later on in the poem she compared them to a blind knight. Armadillos are often killed on the road because of their inability to see clearly, a fast moving vehicle that is coming their way is not easily seen because of their blurry vision, not because they are mentally incapable of realizing that crossing the road is deadly for them. In the end their soft shell armor is no match for a speeding heavy metal thus resulting to their death.
White also compared the armadillos to money, she states in lines 13 to 15 “There are too damned many armadillos, and beauty, like money, is worth more when it’s scarce. ” She is saying that like money, society does not put much attention to armadillos because there are still too many of them, but when their numbers starts to decrease society will slowly take notice and slowly take actions, and start looking for solutions to save the armadillos from being extinct, instead of taking action now before the problem arises.
But instead society waits until the situation comes to a danger stage, then society will take actions to save the armadillos, which is probably too late. In her poem she states “When we’re down to the last half dozen, we’ll see them with the eyes of God. ” (l. 18-19). When the numbers of armadillos are very low, society will start to care for them like other animals which are included in the endangered species list.
Society will act like they cherish the lives of the armadillos, much like we cherish the lives of our children, or another human being, society will start to see them with the “eyes of God,” like how God gives importance to us as his children and how God cares for us. White also used a sarcastic tone to her poem. The sarcastic tone of the poem adds power to the message she is trying to convey to the reader.
It brings attention to the situations of not just armadillos but every wild animal that are being taken for granted. In lines 10 to 12 “No one cares. There is no Save the Armadillo Society. ” Unlike other animals that are included in the endangered species list, there are no groups or people who are trying to save the armadillos, because they are not endangered yet, there are still plenty of them in the wild, their lives are not as precious as a polar bear, or a siberian tiger.
In conclusion, White is trying to tell the society that even though armadillos and other animals that are taken for granted are not as precious as polar bears and other endangered animal, the society needs to give them attention now and start to protect them before it is too late and they are added to the endangered animal list. Even though White used a poor simile in the start of the poem, she still effectively conveyed the message that she was trying to convey. And her use of a sarcastic tone added power to the message, it gave the poem a big push to catch attention.