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Traveling through the Dark
is all persona in the worst sense. Perelman: It seems to me the climax of the poem is "I thought hard for us all.". As he thinks hard on behalf of the nature lovers, he comes to the conclusion that the right place for the doe is the river. He was filled with pity and was unwilling to do anything. It's the persona of the real life self speaking normally. It's not a particularly musical poem, or rhythmically inviting work - in fact there is a subtle counter flow in action as the middle two stanzas stumble and slow down, in contrast to the first and fourth and fifth, which are more fluid. By sharing his personal experience so vividly, Stafford gives it an immediacy, authority, and power that helps one make it a part of ones own. The images, however, are not surreal, and the poem itself the Great Transition remains consistently an objective narration.
"Traveling through the Dark" recalls the Emotive Imagination through its use of take Responsibility personifications and images. Following the pause at the end of line one and at the beginning of line two, "dead" receives extra emphasis. He also uses the sound reinforcements of assonance and alliteration; in stanza 1, for example, there is dark, deer, and dead; river, road, and roll; and might, make, and more. In death the traveler discovers life, but not normal life that emerges from the womb into the world, for the fawn is "never to be born." This unhappy realization causes the traveler to hesitate. I felt the I was a convention, and not particularly apt. In the first three stanzas, the speaker describes how he saw a deer, how he dragged her to the side and what he felt when he touched her side. Greiner has pointed out, the use of a single word can be significant. There is a break in the narrative. "Traveling through the Dark" defines in trenchant terms the invasion of the wilderness by a new civilization. Traveling through the dark I found a deer dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
Traveling through the Dark