In Ezekiel's poem, "Night of the Scorpion," discuss how differences in beliefs are brought out with the simple occurrence of the scorpion's sting.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the reasons that Ezekiel's poem is so strong is that it is able to bring out the clash of cultures in a moment of crisis.  The sting of the scorpion represents the instant of uncertainty, and within this, the collision between the rural and the urban, the superstitions and the scientific, the fated and the free will all play themselves out.  I think that this works because it suggests that the belief systems of an individual are revealed through a moment where the most struggle is evident.  Standing against the forces of immortality and death is a specific instant when individual value systems or core beliefs are revealed.  When times are good and when there is contentment in human consciousness, this difference can be downplayed.  Yet, when individuals have no recourse or are uncertain of what to do and how to live, the reliance on their own belief systems becomes evident.  It is this point that is being made in the poem.  When the scorpion stings the mother, it is a moment where everyone feels helpless, thereby allowing them the chance to explore their own value systems in the face of such helplessness.  It is here where contrasts emerge.

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