Summarize the poem "Snake" by D. H. Lawrence.

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 “Snake” by D. H. Lawrence was written while the author was living in Sicily in 1923.  The poem uses first person narration with the poet as the speaker.  The setting and poem itself epitomizes the natural world and the hierarchy of life found in nature.

The tone and mood of the poem seem almost sympathetic toward the subject of the poem.  The time and setting add to the casual atmosphere: July’s morning heat.  This establishes the reason for the snake finding his way into the world of the man. The order of life created by the man’s authority over his land and trough is pushed aside by the intrusion of the snake and the natural world.


The narrator of the poem goes into his back yard and discovers a poisonous golden-brown snake drinking from the water trough.  The serpent reminds him of a blind, regal deity as he nonchalantly raises his head and flicks its tongue.

The man feels as though he is standing in line waiting his turn. Calmly the snake, though aware of the man’s presence, continues to drink until he is full.  He begins to move his long body down into the hole in the wall where he lives. 

The man finds himself with ambiguous feelings. In some respect, the man experiences the impression that he is the host to an honored guest.  He is both fearful of the snake, and yet, he is honored to have the snake in his yard.

In his mind, he hears a voice that continually tells him that he would kill the snake if he were not afraid of it. Perversity takes over.  As the...

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