The poem ‘hunting snake’ written by Judith Wright highlights the idea that nature and man are equal. Through the use of language and imagery the poet portrays the snake as a powerful and majestic creature. This emphasizes the persona’s response to the snakes. She implies that we humans have narrow stereotypical views of the snake. This poem portrays how humans don’t always learn how to respect other creatures and only think of ourselves. Throughout the poem the personas view of the snake is mingled with admiration and amazement and fear. This was shown by the words “sun glazed”, “curved” and “diamond scale”. These words portray the beauty of the snake and how the persona was fascinated by the snake’s appearance. On the fourth line of the second stanza the words “lost breath” shows how the persona was hypnotise by the snake’s beauty. Furthermore Judith Wright also uses oxymoron such as “cold, dark, and splendid” to show the majestic and fearful nature of the snake.
The snake also shows a sense of determination as he pursues his prey displaying the beauty and power of the predators in nature. In stanza two he had his “head down” as he was perusing his prey. This highlights his sense of determination; this is further reinforced by the word “quested” describing the path it was taking to get to his prey. It was a mission for him although we as human saw it as a small and insignificant act. This makes us admire the snake in the way is dealing his problem, in order to survive. They are creatures that should be admire like any other animal and not treated differently. The poet also describes the snake as a dangerous creature that always focuses on surviving. The poem started off with a tranquil scene of an autumnal day. Through the adjective “sun-warmed” and “gentlest sky” an image of calmness is establish, also creating a peaceful tone. Sun warmed creates a sunny, calm perspective of the day. The tone changes in line three and four of the first stanza. Fear is shown in line three “We walked and froze half-through a pace.” The word “froze” has connotations of fear.
The tone of the poem shifts to a tense and stressful one in comparison of the previous tranquil atmosphere. Throughout the poem Judith Wright uses descriptive words such as “great” and “black” to portray the power of the snake. The adjective “great” describes the snake size and the word “black” symbolizes evil. The snake’s uses sinister movement such as “flickering” and “reeling”, its body shows his power as a predator but the snake didn’t even notice the humans. The snake was too busy dealing with his own needs and problems. In stanza three “what track he followed, what small food fled living from his fierce intent” shows he has power. It display how skilled he is at hunting and the other animals knows to stay out of his range. We need to appreciate the fact that he needs to survive, that’s why he needs to hunt. The poet implies that we should respect the snake and appreciate his characteristic rather than staying away from it as far as possible. Not only Judith and her companion are scared of the snake but even the animals are scared of the snake.
The adjective “fierce” describes his intent but it was only for his survival. Judith Wright and her companion were curious but also fearful. The word “still” shows that they were petrified by fear “Our eyes went with him” describes that the poet was scared and was hypnotise by dear but still they were curious. The structure of the poem portrays the persona’s perspective of the hunting snake. It has the traditional four stanza layout which shows how the persona is stereotypical and narrow minded. The poem had a simple rhyme scheme ABAB. The continuous slow pace in the poem shows balance nature. Furthermore the rhyme scheme in the final stanza follows the mood of the persona. The rhyme pattern changed to ABBA. This could be because of the sudden shock the poet had realizing what a dangerous experience she has just gone through. The poem start to rhyme towards the end shows that the poet is already starting to get her thought back in order illustrating the impact the snake had in her life.
The fact that she could maintain the rhyme to that point also demonstrate she was forcing herself to stay calm in the experience and it was only after the incident that she allowed herself to panic a little. The final stanza shows the feeling of the persona has changed. She shares a new perspective of nature. She respect and admire the snake yet she still fears it. Perhaps the persona and the companion never had this opportunity if being so close to the snake and to learn about it. Wright could be saying that we could be judging the snake wrongly. That it could not actually be a creature of evil. The persona powerfully changes from the experience she had just gone through.
She portrays the snake as a powerful and dangerous but also majestic and admirable. The poem “hunting snake” shows us that nature is equal to man. That snakes are like any other animal in the world. We need to admire them and not be prejudice and we shouldn’t stereotype it. Judith Wright has shown us that nature will only harm man if man harms nature. In the bible in the book of Genesis we are told that we are all equal. Therefore we human need to appreciate the snake rather than hate it and fear it as it is also a creature of God.