The Rattler” – A Story of Sympathy for Both Man and Snake

Category: Common Law
Last Updated: 25 May 2023
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Eva Wambura 8/29/12 Period 2 The Rattler Rough Draft In the passage “The Rattler” the writer uses details about the man, details about the snake, and details about the setting to lead the reader to feel sympathy for both the man and snake. The detail that shows sympathy for the man is when he’s out for a walk and he unexpectedly comes across the snake. The man’s first instinct was to “let him go on his way” and he would go on his. This shows that the man wasn’t really aggressive and really did not want to hurt the snake. The man then goes on to decide if he should kill the snake or not.

But he “reflected that there were children, dogs, horses at ranch, as well as men and women” and his “duty, plainly, was to kill the snake. ” His indecision leads you to have more sympathy for the man because he came on to his decision only because he thought it was his duty and if it wasn’t for that he would have let the snake go. Even after killing the snake the man didn’t “cut off the rattles for a trophy” and imagined seeing the snake “as he might have let him go, sinuous and self-respecting” showing that he felt guilty of taking the life of the snake.

The details of the snake show more sympathy for it than for the man. When the man first comes upon the snake the “head wasn’t not drawn back to strike” and “was not even rattling yet, much less coiled. " This was a sign that the snake wasn’t going to attack the man but was merely watching to see what the man was going to do. When the man got his hoe to attack the snake with it “shot into a dense bush”. The snake’s action shows his nonviolent behavior by defending itself another way then just attacking the man. Then the snake “shook his fair but furious signal, quite sportingly”.

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It’s warning the man that if he continued further he has no choice but to attack. But soon the man “hacked about, soon dragged him out of it with his back broken. ” The details of the setting show sympathy for both the man and the snake. The man was just having his “first pleasant moment for a walk after long blazing hours” and thinking he was the “only thing abroad” encountered the snake and thinks that it’s endangering his people. In sympathy for the snake the man is the one who stepped into the snake’s habitat. The man not only trespassed but also ended up killing the snake in its own home.

When the man and snake crossed paths the “light was thinning” and “the scrub’s dry savory odors were sweet on the cooler air”. The beauty of the setting makes you think that the snake was on its own walk through the desert. Even though man killed the snake for the good of others you can’t help but feel sympathy for both characters due to the details of the setting, the man, and the snake. The man doesn’t want to kill and doesn’t take satisfaction in taking life but goes on instead and kills the snake because of his duty even though the snake was minding its own business and wasn’t bothering anyone.

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The Rattler” – A Story of Sympathy for Both Man and Snake. (2017, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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