Travelling Through the Dark - Class 12 Heritage of words

Travelling Through the Dark            William Stafford 


‘Travelling Through the Dark’ is a modern poem written by an American poet, William Stafford. It is a well balanced narrative poem that shows the conflict between two realities, two systems of life. The first one refers to efficiency and responsibility which help in making rational decision and good judgment. The second system of life is connected with warmer and deeper emotions. The poet does full justices to both sides of the conflict.
According to the poem, the speaker comes across a dead deer while travelling in the dark along the Wilson River road. The animal is lying dead on the edge of the narrow road. Usually, in such cases the dead bodies of the animals are rolled into the deep gorge. The reason for such a step is that any attempt to change the direction of the vehicle may cause many more deaths. Hence, the travelers in the vehicles are expected to push the dead animal into the river below, instead of swerving. The speaker stops the vehicle and stands by the deer which has stiffened already. There he notices the large belly of the animal. By touching the side of the deer, he is quick to learn that there is a fawn inside the belly and it is still alive never to be born. This discovery has a deep impact on his action. He hesitates to push the animal into gorge. For the time being, he becomes sentimental, failing to take quick decision. There his physical action is replaced with mental action of reflecting over the entire situation. Finally, thinking on behalf of the people travelling in the dark and their safety, he dumps the animal over the edge into the river.
The poem is well written with a significant title. It helps in the anticipation of a serious situation. The narrative aspect of the story makes the presentation of the action quite interesting. Each stanza of the poem is carefully designed. For instance, the first stanza creates the background of the poem such as the travel in the dark, finding the dead animal etc. the second stanza deals with observation of the animal and the third stanza presents the discovery of a new situation as well as subsequent hesitation. The fourth stanza reflects the mental action. Finally both types of action get completed in the last two lines.

 Important Questions from Travelling Through the Dark by William Stafford Short Answer Questions
1. What is the central idea of the poem ‘Travelling Through the Dark’? [2057] 2. Show how the action develops stanza by stanza in the poem, ‘Travelling Through the Dark’. [2060] 3. Do you agree with what the narrator did? Why? [2063] 4. Why do you think the reference to the alive but never-to-be-born fawn sentimental? [2069]
Long Answer Questions
1. Write an essay on ‘Travelling in the dark through the dense forest.’ [2068] Glossary: [conflict: disagreement (द्वन्द), gorge: narrow valley, swerving: to change the direction suddenly while driving, stiffened: to stop moving because of fear of anger, fawn: a young deer]


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