The Rattler Essay
“The Rattler” describes the encounter of a man and a rattle snake in a desolate desert shortly after sunset. The two main characters that are the only characters in this situation, each must decide how to approach one another. Although the man would be considered in the snake’s boundaries, he chooses to take the snake’s life for the sake of people at the ranch. The reader soon distinguishes the good intentions of the man as breaking boundaries or survival of the fittest. Through descriptions of the chivalrous snake, the conflicted man and the twilit setting, the author creates sympathy for the rattler and feelings of anger, pity, and disappointment for the man.
When the author describes the rattler through many ways but the reader can see the rattler as chivalrous, patient and self-controlled through personification, it causes the reader to feel a sense of sympathy for the snake. To the reader, the snake can be depicted as being the more chivalrous of the two characters. The man went back to the ranch and came back with a hoe, and “[the rattler] saw the hoe. Now indeed his tail twitched…he drew back.” Although the man was poised for an attack, the rattler chose not to take a strike but rather to send a warning with his tail which shows how the snake is being honorable to his opponent. The reader can also assess that the snake is more patient through his lack of action towards the man. The snake “held his ground in calm watchfulness…waiting for [the man] to show [his] intentions.” The man, as contemplative as the author describes, was not nearly as patient as the snake. The man could’ve been a potential threat to the snake, but the he chose to read his opponent rather than striking too early. Due to the snake’s reasonable actions and lack of attacks, the snake can be seen as having the most self-control. In the beginning of the encounter the snake “was not rattling yet, much less was he coiled.” He also “shot into a...