Earle Birney

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What are three types of conflict in Earle Birney's poem "David"?

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Let's take a look at your question regarding the conflicts revealed in Earl Birney's poem "David."

Birney's poem begins with the description of hard labor and its environment

that summer cut[ting] trails...for wages, in air that was steeped in the wall of mosquitoes", and the desire to escape " from the ruck of the camp."

This physical need was met by the joy experience by  hik[es] in the long afternoon to a curling lake" and it was "lost [to] the lure of the faceted cone in the swell of its sprawling shoulders."

Together they faced the "fist" of nature, instead of the hardships inflicted by labor, with

peaks...upthrust like a fist in a frozen ocean of rock that swirled into valleys the moon could be rolled in.

"And David taught [him]" how to survive on the hike, on a climb, as they struggled, man against nature, as

a rainsquall caught us, and passed, and we clung by our blueing fingers and bootnails an endless hour in the sun, not daring to move till the ice had steamed from the slate.

One can clearly visualize this two hikers determination to succeed and to survive the dangers and challenges of the climb. This is further illustrated by the description of the mountain goat's skeleton and he comes to terms with his vulnerability in his realization " that a goat could slip."

This, of course, comes to a reality with David's aid as the speaker

swayed and shouted.David turned sharp and reached out his arm...turning again with a grin and his lips ready To jest. But the strain crumbled his foothold. Without a gasp he was gone.

And on this fateful day, as David is described as a "broken doll," Bob must make a choice, conflict between right and wrong, a moral judgement of whether to honor his dear friend David's request ""For Christ's sake push me over!" Due to his love for his friend, and for all that they shared together, the narrator spins David's end " said that he fell straight to the ice where they found him" bringing the last day of his youth.

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