Throughout this whole 20th century, the values in our society are changing all the time. Compared to now, towards the end of 20th century, some of the Ideas Introduced In the early century are very different. D. H. Lawrence Snake Is one of a group of poems entitled Birds, Beasts and Flowers written between 1920 and 1923. It tells of how Lawrence reacted when he saw a snake while he was living in Sicily. The poem can be interpreted in three different ways. The first possible theme Is the Idea that the natural, instinctive person Is superior to he celled person and that civilization robs people of their capacity for happiness.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau began this Idea – often referred to as “the noble savage” – In the 18th Century and it became popular again in the last century and at the beginning of this century when people such as Lawrence noticed that industrialization made workers into machines. The second possible theme Is the fear of death. People have always been scared of dying. But Lawrence had a disease that took many years to kill him. The disease was tuberculosis, also called consumption, which was prevalent in the first half of this entry.
The third possible theme Is sexual repression which Is explained In Sigmund Fraud’s theory of psychoanalysis. The poem shows the conflict between the two parts of Lawrence mind: the natural Instinctive part and the educated part. When he sees the snake, his Instinctive reaction is to see it as an equal. “Someone was before me at my water-trough, And l, like a second comer, waiting. ” Even though he is afraid, Lawrence feels honored that the snake has come to his water-trough. “And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid. But even so, honored still more.
That he should seek my hospitality. From out the dark door of the secret earth. ” I en evolves AT Nils coeducation tell ml, “He must be killed. For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous” He obeys the voices of his education: “l picked up a clumsy log, And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter. ” He misses it; the natural instinctive part of him returns and Lawrence feels ashamed of trying to kill the snake. “And immediately I regretted it. I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act! I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.
Lawrence compares the snake to the albatross that was killed by the Ancient Mariner in Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. “And I thought of the albatross. And I wished he would come back, my snake. ” At the end of the poem, Lawrence feels “And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords Of life. And I have something to expiate: A pettiness. ” Lawrence makes clear the effect of civilized education directly. “l despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education” Lawrence creates intimacy with the reader by using the first person and free verse.
Avoiding rhyme makes the poem more friendly and represents the idea of the superiority of the natural person very effectively and convincingly. The poem arouses feelings of love and sympathy for all creatures in this world. Lawrence natural instinct prevails in the end. The poem can also be interpreted as showing Lawrence knowledge and fear of his approaching death. Because of the warmth of Sicily climate and as he wanted to live as long as possible, he moved to Sicily. He died eight years later in 1930, aged 45.
Lawrence does not menthol cleat n alertly out Just as reactively, out en uses ten adapter of the Underworld, the land of the dead ruled by the god Pluto and his bride Persephone in Greek mythology. Lawrence mention of the Sicilian volcano, Mat Tent, is a reminder that it was near here that Pluto stole Persephone and took her to the Underworld. “On the day of Sicilian July, with Tent smoking. ” When he sees the snake entering the crack in the wall and going underground, Lawrence identifies with the snake and imagine himself going into the hole too.
He feels horrified, showing his fear of being buried under the dark ground. “And as he put his head into that dreadful hole, And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther, A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole, Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after, Overcame He tries to stop the snake entering the hole by throwing the log, showing his desire to avoid death. His regret for throwing the log shows that he accepts that he must die.
He sees the snake as a lord of life like Pluto and thinks that death may be a wonderful though frightening experience. “For he seemed to me again like a king, Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld, Now due to be crowned again. And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords of life. ” Lawrence uses the metaphor of the Underworld to represent death again in one of his last poems, Bavarian Gentians, in which he shows a greater acceptance of death and asks for a gentian to be his dark torch to guide him through the Underworld. Reach me a gentian, give me a torch! Let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower Down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness Even where Persephone goes, Just owe, from the frosted September To the sightless realm where darkness is awake upon the dark And Persephone herself is but a voice Or a darkness invisible enfolded in the deeper dark of the arms Platonic, and pierced with the passion of dense gloom, Among the splendor of torches of darkness, shedding darkness on the lost bride and her groom. For readers up to the asses the most obvious interpretation would have related to the popular psychoanalytical belief that sexual repression in childhood leads to unhappiness (neurosis) in adulthood. The psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud got his attains to talk about their dreams. In their dreams, a snake often symbolized male sexual . TTY IT we Interpret tons poem psychoanalytically, Lawrence urge to SKI snake as it tries to enter the female symbol -the dark underground hollow- shows his sexual repression. And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther, A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole, Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after, Overcame me… ” Lawrence was very interested in psychoanalysis and wrote a lot about sex including Lady Chatterers Lover.
A psychoanalytical interpretation would have been popular until the asses and asses when feminists began to criticize Fraud’s theories because they regarded them as male-centered and now Fraud’s theories are much less popular. To conclude, the poem succeeds in convincing the reader that the natural, instinctive person is superior to the civilized, educated person and reminds us how terrible it would be to know that death is approaching. But the reader in the late 20th Century is unlikely to agree with the psychoanalytic interpretation of the poem.