Discuss the appeal of the poem "Night of the Scorpion."

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

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I think that the appeal in the poem is that it constructs a setting where complexity and ambiguity are present.  There is little in the poem that is clear and absolute, which is reflective of moments of crises in the minds of human beings.  The sting of the scorpion is seen as fatal and, in these moments, when something that has been part of our lives is taken away, there is panic, chaos, and a lack of clarity.  The poem does a great job in conveying this.  The villagers have their approach, while the father has his.  Yet, in the end, nothing can stop the inevitable death and pain that results.

While both sides use the scorpion's sting to advance their own manners in dealing with the adversary of death, pain still exists.  The pain of the mother enduring the poison and the pain of her children who must watch her fade from consciousness.  I think that the poem does a good job in conveying this feeling or experience.  I would also say that the appeal of the poem lies in the ending.  The only absolute certainty that can be taken away from this situation is that a mother's love is stronger than death.  The love of the mother, the protectorate in her, is what compels her to speak at the end that she is glad that she, and not her children, were stung by the scorpion.  I think that this is something that proves to be appealing in the poem because it helps to give some redemptive end to a poem where suffering and confusion reign supreme.

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