Panther, by Reiner Maria Rilke Essay

Pages: 3 (1241 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Animals

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
The one behind the wheel thinks like the deserving member of the community: he or she leaves the shelter of his or her car, transgressing, to enter the darkness, guided by his taillights. His first action is thus apparently motivated by his or her concern for the other members of his own community: "the road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead."

To describe the reason that made him or her descend into the darkness, the first word the narrator uses is noncommittal: "a heap." The second word that follows immediately is: "a doe." This is another word for the female deer, but it will also bring one to the idea of a John / Jane Doe: an unidentified corpse, that is, a dead human being. The word that follows in the description seems to reinforce this idea: "a recent killing." The narrator deliberately describes his finding as a killing, leaving behind the object of that killing as if, to establish a first connection between the two worlds: his or hers and the being in the wild, the deer. The reader finds the next image jumping back to the original attitude of indifference, in a void of feelings: "I dragged her off." But, the phrase continues and engages: "she was large in the belly." The narrator uses the third person personal pronoun to suggest he or she realized it was more than just "a heap," furthermore, it was more than just a dead animal. From that moment on, the story becomes very personal: the dead wild animal was bearing life, a life that had not ceased along with its bearer. The second and most powerful connection between the human world and the animal kingdom is thus established: the ability to give life.

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This is the moment when the human hesitates. He or she is incapable of finishing something as mechanical as getting rid of a lifeless obstacle on the road. The moral aspect of human existence, what humans think separates them from animals, enters the stage: to act deliberately and to take or not to take a new life. Here it is the fourth unseen character: the living fawn. The five character is quickly introduced: the car. The car takes the lively form of an animal: "under the hood purred the steady engine." The human and the lifeless mechanical engine are partners in conquering the animal kingdom and establishing the victory of men vs. animals.

Essay on Panther, by Reiner Maria Rilke Assignment

The narrator describes this scene as if it were a painting, including the fifth character, the working car, in it: "around our group I could hear the wilderness listen." The character who has been there all along, wilderness, is presented as if waiting for a deliberation, with the human being judge, messenger and executioner. This judge emphasizes that he or she, as a representative of his or her species, but for the benefit of all involved, took his time and pondered, before reaching a decision: "my only swerving." He granted this favor to the unborn.

The journey to the end is a painful one for the reader. One hopes that somehow the fawn will be saved, although it is absolutely clear that no one would spend the night taking it out of its mother's belly to who knows what avail. The final action is, as expected, but hoped against: "then pushed her over the edge into the river." The words the narrator chooses to describe his final action are liberating: he treated the dead creature with respect; he gave it back to the nature it came from. He took the best decision under the circumstances. He acted according to nature's laws and according… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Panther, by Reiner Maria Rilke."  Essaytown.com.  October 24, 2013.  Accessed April 2, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/panther-reiner-maria-rilke/4115263.