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Rock Street, San Francisco

The speaker had begun by asking the white sky: did you not see this? The speaker had wondered why no higher power had intervened to stop the sudden tragedy that was echoed by imagery of the buck dying in slow motion. The speaker’s nearly instant recovery to reason, “how strange,” “how strange,” is actually his moral death. Like the deer, he accepted the idea of bad things in the world and ate the fruit of reason. That acceptance further enforces the author’s point that everything and everyone is imperfect, the speaker of the poem included. Finally, the poem ends with Nature reflecting on the occurrences. The hemlocks “Shift their loads a little letting fall a feather of snow,” (line 11) as if to shed a tear for the loss of purity. Life, personified, “looks out attentive from the eyes of the doe” in the final line, implying a hunger to escape and suggesting the world naturally tends to be good, but has been spoiled, just as Eden was spoiled.

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