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Snake Analysis



Author: poem of D.H. Lawrence Type: poem Views: 20


A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before
me.

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,
Silently.

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
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.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

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 me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

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.

And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

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.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

Taormina, 1923

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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||




.: :.

I see the snake as symbolic of a number of different things - it is masculine/phallic/sexual for one thing, but also potentially evil, taboo, forbidden, sinful due to its Biblical connotations. Is the water trough also a metaphor - for something life-giving, something that is "his", possibly his lover/wife Frieda? Is this perhaps a metaphor for another man (one whom he perversely admires) 'drinking from' or having some sort of a love affair with Lawrence's woman? Just an idea.

| Posted on 2014-11-04 | by a guest


.: :.

Wats the meaning of froked night ?
Some 1 plz tell...

| Posted on 2014-03-03 | by a guest


.: :.

In DH Lawrence's poem, "Snake" the use of the snake is used to represent nature. The man is afraid of the snake but ultimately respects it because of its beauty and grace. He does not really want to kill it even though his instincts say he should. We can learn through this poem that we are to have respect for nature and we also learn that we are to make retribution for what we have made wrong.

| Posted on 2013-07-15 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this is a romantic poem in which the poets love devoted to the Snake means the nature and to all animals.It should be taken very seriously to save the nature and its creature. Without nature and its creatures We the humans can\'t live here. We will vanished with them. So for our own sake we have to protect nature.

| Posted on 2013-05-22 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this is a romantic poem in which the poets love devoted to the Snake means the nature and to all animals.It should be taken very seriously to save the nature and its creature. Without nature and its creatures We the humans can\'t live here. We will vanished with them. So for our own sake we have to protect nature.

| Posted on 2013-05-22 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem is actually a romantic poem depicting the poet\'s love towards nature. The poem was printed or published for the first time in Lawrence\'s book birds and flowers. The poem is written in free verse and represents modern literature. What I mean by romantic is romantic literature...

| Posted on 2013-03-07 | by a guest


.: :.

why did the narrator seem the snake as a king at last?can anyone answer this

| Posted on 2013-02-18 | by a guest


.: :.

This is a general poem abot a snake who comes to drink water from water trough. the idea is that one must not kill all the snakes as they enhance the beauty of the world for their peculiar movement and glittering body.

| Posted on 2012-12-09 | by a guest


.: :.

This is a general poem abot a snake who comes to drink water from water trough. the idea is that one must not kill all the snakes as they enhance the beauty of the world for their peculiar movement and glittering body.

| Posted on 2012-12-09 | by a guest


.: :.

clumsy log,with a clatter,convulsed,and writhed like lightning. what an albatros. what a guilt. dr. nelson idogho

| Posted on 2012-05-31 | by a guest


.: :.

clumsy log,with a clatter,convulsed,and writhed like lightning. what an albatros. what a guilt.

| Posted on 2012-05-31 | by a guest


.: :.

hehe !! lawrence is in love with the snake . !!!
erghh .... aren\'t there any notes as well ?

| Posted on 2012-05-03 | by a guest


.: :.

i feel the snake poem is amazing because my english teacher took 5 periods to explain this thing which meant we could bunk 5 periods and go play football. :D

| Posted on 2012-03-10 | by a guest


.: :.

Well.... this poem just shows how modernism can take over a mans instincts and brainwash him .in the beggining he is observed being provided love to the snake.But later his \"accursed human education\" wins his mind and take control of his body .It just shows that every person has good in him.it just differs whether a man can overcome the effect of the unhuman being

| Posted on 2012-02-01 | by a guest


.: :.

I feel its a beautiful piece and its written so mellifluously that u inadvertantly fall in love with the snake.Besides it lends to various interpretatons starting from natural instinct Vs nurture, Duality of man\'s nature, man\'s supreme effort to be in control etc.Anyway its a good piece worthy of reading and contemplating, ideal for young and old alike as it compels us to think of our response to mother Earth
Symria

| Posted on 2012-01-31 | by a guest


.: :.

for me this poem has a great vision human vs. nature... its about human being scared by the innocent creature but also distracted by it\'s beauty. The phrase \"My Snake\" shows how human could change his feeling in period of time it is one of those things when a person don\'t know what they want by the the things aren\'t there for them and they later on realize that they have made a mistake by not caring or making the right decision on the right time.to me the owner\'s purpose to let his ego take over was just another reason to get away with the reality of nature.

| Posted on 2011-05-13 | by a guest


.: :.

I am only a high-school student, but i believe this poem can be related to everyone\'s lives. This poem can have a very open meaning, and can be interpreted in not just one way. It is a message, of fear of sexuality, a message of disregarding modernism, and basically everything that has been mentioned in the other analysis\' on this page.

| Posted on 2011-05-06 | by a guest


.: :.

whne he talks about the albatross he is talking about the poem \"the ancient Marineer\" whenre the marineer kills the albatross.

| Posted on 2011-04-25 | by a guest


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Anyone know what \'and I thought of the albatross\' might mean? My lecturer specificaly pointed that out for our essay and I can\'t think of anything other than the fact that the narrator is a traveller AND the albartross is a traveller, so he could be relating to himself and how he feels misunderstood in such a different climate. ideas? :)

| Posted on 2011-04-21 | by a guest


.: :.

I find it both funny and amazing that such long arguments about the meaning of this poem can take place. Part of the beauty of this poem is that it can be taken in so many different ways. I enjoy reading everyone\'s varying perspectives. The poem could refer to good vs evil (or lack of), sexuality, man vs himself, humanity vs nature, etc. The interpretations are endless. There\'s a certain beauty just in that.

| Posted on 2011-04-19 | by a guest


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The poem is best analysed through psychoanalysis, wherein Freud explains the struggle of the ego against the ID and SUPEREGO.

| Posted on 2011-02-16 | by a guest


.: :.

I agree with the idea that this poem conveys the Freudian concept of superego vs. id. The man\'s own voice argues against the internal instinct to kill the innocent beast.

| Posted on 2011-01-10 | by a guest


.: :.

Snake by lawrence is a poem about nature and it\'s beauty. It is more like a romantic poem and can be compared to Coleridge\'s rime of the ancient mariner. Even an albatross was mentioned in this poem. We must learn to appreciate whatever that is part of nature

| Posted on 2010-11-24 | by a guest


.: :.

I guess the poem is trying to point out mans inability to appreciate nature just as is seen in Coleridge\'s The Rime of The ancient Mariner,but unlike the Mariner,the lyrical persona in the poem under discussion doesn\'t come to any harm 4 failing to appreciate the fact that the snake has a right to life...I believe the poem appears to be difficult because Lawrence himself doesn\'t doesn;t worship nature

| Posted on 2010-11-23 | by a guest


.: :.

This is really very interesting. I\'m trying to write an essay at the moment imposing a post-structuralist reading on \'Snake\' (even though I think it\'s all bollocks) but the fact that all of you think you know what the poem is about and rubbish everyone else\'s interpretations, without recognising that, in fact, you\'re all right, is actually giving me plenty of food for thought. Thank you!

| Posted on 2010-10-23 | by a guest


.: :.

It\'s about a snake drinking water at a human\'s water trough. The human wants it dead, then he wants to entertain himself with it\'s countenance. He calls it \"My snake.\" Geeze. The man is probably lonely and the snake kept him company, When the snake is ready to leave, the man doesn\'t want it to go. It\'s like the man is childish I think. He wants the snake and dead and alive at the same time. Mostly he wants it to stay so he\'s not alone. I am glad the snake got away!! Mankind is unpredictable as shown in this poem.

| Posted on 2010-10-20 | by a guest


.: :.

sir lawrence its too much, u wrote easily but for us its dificult to study.! Wit tears By preeta.

| Posted on 2010-10-13 | by a guest


.: :.

sir lawrence its too much, u wrote easily but for us its dificult to study.! Wit tears By preeta.

| Posted on 2010-10-13 | by a guest


.: :.

sir lawrence its too much, u wrote easily but for us its dificult to study.! Wit tears By preeta.

| Posted on 2010-10-13 | by a guest


.: :.

sir lawrence its too much, u wrote easily but for us its dificult to study.! Wit tears By preeta.

| Posted on 2010-10-13 | by a guest


.: :.

I\'m studying this poem for my IB Diploma. I think that some of the anaylsis on this page is good and provides food for thought, on the other hand I would like to add my own little piece on what I feel that D.H Lawrence is trying to say. I think that the poet is trying to portay the sheer destructive nature of mankind and our paradoxical existance; whilst man searches for knowledge in order to understand the world he is compelled by fear to destroy that which he does not understand. In the case of this poem the poet is torn between his \"accursed human education\", which tells him to \"kill\" the snake, and his own fascination for the creature which has chosen to drink from his water-trough.
There are of course other ideas which you may agree with more than the one I have put forward here. I do emplore you not to simply disregard peoples\' interpretations of literature simply because you have a different opinion; literature is to be enjoyed not bickered over.

| Posted on 2010-09-20 | by a guest


.: :.

Surely the fact that the poem evokes such a variety of reactions - thoughts, feelings, memories - is in itself testament to its poetic value. Quite distinct from the question of what LAWRENCE had in mind .

| Posted on 2010-08-26 | by a guest


.: :.

I agree Lawrence would laugh if he spotted all of this commentary. My education tells me this is a reflection of his (Lawrences)reaction to Modernism, however the Law of Intertextuality, tells me it can mean whatever you want it to mean. Lets face it we are not exactly the structuralist type are we now.

| Posted on 2010-08-16 | by a guest


.: :.

I'm ashamed to be sharing the earth with some of you people. This is a poem that is open enough for others to get different things out of it, I understand that, but some of your conclusions are totally ridiculous. Racism? Homosexuality? Good VS Evil? I think some of you don't understand it while others try too hard to read between the lines.
For me personally, my general belief of what this poem is about is a mixture of things, one of them being Reason vs Fear. The narrator has been taught to kill poisonous snakes-- not all snakes. He mentions that the black snakes are "innocent", not poisonous while the "golden" snake he describes here, is. It's a dangerous animal, and his first instinct is to kill it because that is what he is taught. Kill the snake before it kills you. However, the snake is only drinking peacefully and so the narrator is then conflicted. On one hand he's fascinated by the creature and doesn't want to harm it if it isn't aggressive, yet the voices continue to tell him to kill it. He thinks himself a coward for not doing so. In the end he attempts to kill the snake only to deeply regret it, because he struck first without being provoked.
In a abstract way, you can even argue that this is a description of war; soldier VS soldier that don't have a personal reason to hate each other, but they're obligated to attack. However, I HIGHLY DOUBT that is the intentional meaning of the poem. Again, this is a very open poem, but come on now.

| Posted on 2010-07-20 | by a guest


.: :.

In the poem "Snake", snake is the traditional symbol of creativity.

| Posted on 2010-06-27 | by a guest


.: :.

It's all about ego,super ego, and id. The poem defines that our super egos (social education) make us get away from our inner wilderness inside us ,whch is our id. When the writer comes across the snake, his id becomes superior to his super ego for a while, but when he hit the snake with the log, his super ego comes back, showing that he sufers the dilemma between id and super ego. And the ego is the balance.

| Posted on 2010-05-30 | by a guest


.: :.

I have little faith left in the internet now a days.
When people give off the wall interpitations without any evidence, I get discouraged in your abilitys.
Its about inocence and our ignorance of it.
The hate int he world.
How we are taught to judge before we know what it is personaly.
the narrator is the human mind
the snake is innocence
the burning bowels of the earth is the warish planet that we live on

| Posted on 2010-05-24 | by a guest


.: :.

I have little faith left in the internet now a days.
When people give off the wall interpitations without any evidence, I get discouraged in your abilitys.
Its about inocence and our ignorance of it.
The hate int he world.
How we are taught to judge before we know what it is personaly.
the narrator is the human mind
the snake is innocence
the burning bowels of the earth is the warish planet that we live on

| Posted on 2010-05-24 | by a guest


.: :.

I have little faith left in the internet now a days.
When people give off the wall interpitations without any evidence, I get discouraged in your abilitys.
Its about inocence and our ignorance of it.
The hate int he world.
How we are taught to judge before we know what it is personaly.
the narrator is the human mind
the snake is innocence
the burning bowels of the earth is the warish planet that we live on

| Posted on 2010-05-24 | by a guest


.: :.

The main analysis of this poem is that sometimes the man is overcome by his knowledge and study and his teachings and not wanting he has to follow them like Lawrence hit the snake with the log as his inner voice was saying him to kill it as it was dangerous

| Posted on 2010-05-05 | by a guest




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