The Road is Not Taken
What would be more important, the safety of an animal, or our own safety? Each day many animals cross our roads but sometimes the unfortunate happens when an animal accidently crossed the road when we are passing by. What do you do? In “Thoughts on Capital Punishment” by Rod Mckuen and “Traveling Through the Dark” by William Stafford, there are some similarities that help the reader compare the two poems, but there are also a number of differences that set them apart for example Stafford’s poem is much more serious than Mckuen’s poem.
Although in both poems, the poets show sentimentality for the animals being killed by drivers, they differ in imagery, persona, and tone. In “Thoughts of Capital Punishment” and “Traveling Through the Dark” they illustrate different imagery. In Mckuen’s poem the imagery described is cartoon like: “And then found guilty, after too fair a trial should be caged in a cage with a hyena’s smile or maybe an elephant with an elephant gun should shoot out his eyes when verdict is done.
” This stanza illustrates silliness and rather immature from the poet.
If we try to imagine the poem, we wouldn’t be able to imagine the situation because of his lack of imagery: “for her husband who lies with his guts spilling out cause he didn’t know what automobiles are about.” Although this part may illustrate some imagery, we would not be able to imagine the killing of “Mrs. Badgers husband”. While in Stafford’s poem he shows real life imagery: “My fingers touching her side brought me the reason—her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting, alive, still, never to be born.” Stafford is showing genuine emotion and real tenderness towards the deer and we can have a visual of deer and its unborn fetus. Mckuen and Stafford’s poems differ in persona. In “Thoughts of Punishment” the poem is being told in third person: “There ought to be capital punishment for cars that run over rabbits and drive into dogs and commit the unspeakable, unpardonable crime of killing a kitty cat still in his prime.” There are no real cars, no real persona and no real toads. In “Traveling Through the Dark” he continuously lets the reader know that he is the persona by repeating it in each stanza: “Traveling through the dark I found a deer… By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back if the car… I dragged her off; she was large in the belly… My fingers touching her side brought me the reason… Beside the mountain road I hesitated… I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red; around our group I could hear the wilderness listen… I thought hard of us all—my only swerving.” He repeatedly states that he is the persona. The tone is what sets the poets attitude or feeling towards a person, thing or a situation. Both poets show a difference in tone. In “Thoughts on Capital Punishment” the poets tone in his writing is focused more on anger towards people that “murder” an innocent animal: “There out to be capital punishment for cars… Purgatory, at the very least should await the driver… Hell on the highway, at the very least should await the driver…Who kills a man kills a bit of himself but a cat too is an extension of God.”
Throught the poem he While in “Traveling Through the Dark” he would rather risk the life of an animal than of a person. “Traveling through the dark I found a deer dead on the edge of the Wilson River road. It is usually best to roll them into the canyon: that road is narrow; to serve might make more dead.” He shows that he is concerned about the humans’ safety on the road, and again is cautious for a persons’ safety at the end of the poem when he says: “I thought hard for us all- my only swerving- then pushed her over the edge into the river.” He cares more about a human life rather than the animal getting killed. In “Thoughts of Capital Punishment” and in “Traveling Through the Dark” are similar in the sentimentality of an animal getting killed, but differ. In McKuen it does not show any imagery because it is written cartoon like meaning that there is not real victim, or animals, no persona because it is told in third person, and the tone sounded as though he was angered towards those who killed an animal. In Stafford’s “Traveling Through the Dark” the imagery was well written to where we could imagine the situation and the feeling towards peoples’ safety on the road, the persona was told in first person and the tone was of concern towards saving the life of a person rather than risking it.
Cite this English Literature “The Road is Not Taken”
English Literature “The Road is Not Taken”. (2016, Nov 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/english-literature-the-road-is-not-taken/