In "Snake," how does DH Lawrence demonstrate respect for other creatures?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The narrator in D.H. Lawrence's poem "Snake" demonstrates respect for other creatures by humanizing the snake who drinks out of the narrator's water trough. Further, the tension between what the narrator thinks he should do (admire and respect the snake) present a sharp contrast in reference to what he has been conditioned to do.

In the seventh section of the poem, the narrator depicts the snake as a fellow comrade, even a "guest" who is then described to be "peaceful, pacified, and thankless," in spite of the fact that it is customary to view (gold snakes, in particular) as "venomous." Indeed, we see the snake as an equal rather than an adversary who must be destroyed. In fact, the narrator feels "honoured" to have such a guest, yet this sense of honor does not prevent him from attempting to destroy the snake. Even after the narrator executes a clumsy attempt at harming the snake, the narrator then states that he "despised himself and his accursed human education" for doing so. This line specifically addresses the ongoing issue of tradition and social convention versus human intuition and emotion. And, even though the narrator does succumb to his "accursed" human ways, the fact that these very views towards other creatures are questioned illustrates the narrator's overarching respect for other creatures. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial