Nothing is able to affect us more than other people. Spreading of opinions, knowledge, and even diseases will teach us easily what is right, or what is wrong. However, what we humans teach is not always “right.” We are taught that we are the best species. We are taught that we are bigger, better, and stronger than anything else that walks on this Earth. We are taught that we are always right, and anything else is always wrong. Yet, there is something in all of us that tells us undoubtedly that we are no better, if not lower, than what has long been here before us. Our instincts are often not to kill, but to admire. A part of what is inside our brains wants to take in all of the nature and wildlife, soak it in and allow it to remain untouched. Even so, we are unfazed. No matter how caught up in the natural world, another part of us is screaming to destroy, to enforce our superiority. And does this voice not scare us? “Snake” by D.H. Lawrence portrays one poet’s admiration for nature, struggle with society, and fear of himself, as he loses his chance with one of the Lords of Life.
Our entire lives, we are taught that not only are we the best, but that everything else is the worst. If it is not a human, it is dangerous and must be annihilated. The poet in “Snake” begins his experience with the snake fairly peacefully, however this quickly turns on him. Everything the poet had been taught was telling him that nothing is more dangerous than a yellow-bellied snake, and that he should exterminate the animal completely. He refers back to a time in Sicily, when he had actually been taught this.
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous. (quoted in D.H. Lawrence 22-25)
He begins to feel guilty for the feelings he is having towards the snake, and thinks of himself as a coward. “He uses the word ‘confess’ as opposed to simply stating his feeling about the element of nature” (Nicole, ¬¬¬“An Analysis of Snake, by D.H. Lawrence”). The voice inside his head tells him to kill the snake, and that the only reason for him not killing the snake is because he is afraid. Nicole says this quite clearly, “There is a shame that is implicated in the preservation of nature as if it is a threat to his manhood” (Nicole). Society continues to press upon the poet, until the moment the snake turns his back. Having filled his stomach with water from the man’s trough, the snake turns and slowly, leisurely, begins to return to his hole. The snake showed no fear. It was now that the voices in the poet’s head become louder and he was unable to constrain himself any longer. “I looked round, I put down my pitcher, / I picked up a clumsy log / And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter” (Lawrence 54-56).
Although the poet missed the snake, the fact that the voice of society had become so strong in his head that he was unable to observe without...