Annotated Bibliography
“Travelling through the dark” is an 18-line poem, consisting of 5 stanzas, 4 of which are
quatrains. There is no rhyme scheme, no full rhyme though there is alliteration and
personification. Its presentation to the reader poses difficulty of one man’s choice, the driver
travels through the dark to find a recently killed deer, he becomes mixed up on what to do for the
purpose of other motorists’ safety. The course of action to take is unclear and his decision
becomes perplexing.
(Kitchen, Judith. Writing the World: Understanding William Stafford. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1999.)
Here he alludes to those difficult times in life when one has to make a very tough
decision that could cost him a lot in future. The deceased deer in this case is the one that makes
the motorist to stop along the road. There is symbolism as generally it is only death that causes
people to stop along their path (change their daily routine) and take their time to make some
important decisions. Theme of death is here symbolized by the death of the deer, river and
canyon. the deer here is an obstacle, actually a road block in life progression of the motorist
which must first be dealt with before progression with the journey. The best way to deal with this
problem is only by not hesitating to discard it at all.

(“Traveling Through the Dark – Bibliography” Masterpieces of American Literature Ed. Steven G. Kellman., Inc. 2006 22 Feb, 2018
The deer should therefore be moved and rolled out of the road, may be drawn into the
river. This means that the oncoming motorists will not have to swerve to avoid the deer
which eventually causes death to himself and others. The theme of the poem is that of nature
versus technology and maybe wilderness versus the modern life. It therefore gives the reader a
wide scope to think of their positions in great scheme of things.
(“A Noiseless Patient Spider – Themes and Meanings” Critical Guide to Poetry for Students Ed. Philip K. Jason., Inc. 2002 22 Feb, 2018
This poem has a very lonely and dark tone. The theme depicted is about the difficulty
nature of human life and possibly how hopeless it can seem. Here the speaker talks of a noiseless
spider on an outcropping rock over the ocean and which is so patient. The spider goes ahead to
leave an indomitable mark on the vast surrounding by weaving a web. The spider here is being
compared to the speakers’ soul which always touches lives and always makes connections in the
( “Whispers of Heavenly Death.”* The Broadway, A London Magazine 10 (October 1868): 21-22. “* This Poem has been written expressly for this Magazine.—ED.”)
There is a significant shift from literal to figurative aspects where the speaker watches the
spider make its web on the rock to the speaker addressing his soul to make attempts of having
connections on the world. Here the poem draws a close comparison between the spider and the
speakers’ soul. They both face a similar plight in that, to make connections they must use their
skills by searching for effective and meaningful bonds. At the first the creature seems hopeless
since it is ever unreeling, however it is optimistic later and although it is hard to ceaselessly
search for the connections, the soul will eventually be successful and then just like a spider with
a completed web, then he can rest.
( “Whispers of Heavenly Death. By Walt Whitman”. Published Works : Periodicals. The Walt Whitman Archive. Retrieved 21 November 2012. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors)