I need a critical analysis and summary of the poem "Snake" by D.H. Lawrence.

Expert Answers
tpisano eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem "Snake" by D.H. Larence has many different layers of meaning.  It is narration of a persons unexpected meeting with a snake. Fear and fascination take control as he is left with the internal struggle of being rational vs. natural feelings. It highlights the difference between our natural feelings and what is socially acceptable or learned. 


The narrator "knows" that the snake is dangerous:

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 yet he doesn't want to harm him:

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,

In the end, his education prevails and he throws a log into the water. However, he immeadiately regrets this:

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.

It evokes feelings of love and sympathy for all animals.   This poem reveals the human weakness of liking the evil and the corruption. It shows that humans are naturally attracted to the things they are afraid of the most.

student77717 | Student

I wrote an essay on this poem for my English class. I researched a little bit before I wrote it and looked at different interpretations. I read this student essay that stated the poem being about social classes, the snake being upper class and the man beinglower class. As well as examples like the man waiting his turn at the trough while the snake drank water and so forth. So my essay was similar I used irony, metaphors, symbols, and theme and supported my reasons with examples from the poem. My teacher ended up giving me an F on my paper and said "that is the wrong interpretation of the poem." Poems can be viewed many different ways and not everyone views them the same way, so I believe that she cafail give me an F for that reason. What is your guys's opinion? Is my argument agreeable or is app interpretation unacceptable?