The Rattler


The author of the passage, “The Rattler” creates two equally likable characters which presents a dilemma for the reader. The author wants the reader to believe that life is dear in his story “The Rattler.” The author uses smaller effect to produce the overall picture of life being dear. The conflict between the snake and man makes the reader realize that life is precious and the author controls the readers emotions through lesser effects. The author uses smaller effects to make the reader like the man, he then continues to depict the snake as an innocent creature, and he also has the man justifying his intentions to kill the snake to produce the overall effect of life being dear.
The author first portrays the man as a likable character creating the effect of life being dear. The author first displays the man to the reader as a person who likes nature by expressing details about the man. “I walked out into the desert.” The author depicts the man among the setting of nature because the author knows a reader is more favorable to character who enjoys nature. The author then uses first person point of view to produce a likable main character. The man says that “my duty” is to kill the snake to protect the women and children of the farm he is working on. The author creates a man who thinks not only about himself but about other people, and this creates an image of an admirable, likable person. All the characteristics the author uses to produce a likable man is related to his major theme of life being dear, when he creates an equally likable character, in the snake.
The author then depicts the snake as an innocent creature to continue to produce the effect of life being dear for the snake, also. When the author first introduces the snake to the reader the snake did not have his head “drawn back to strike.” The detail to include the snake’s “calm watchfulness” and demeanor of the snake creates an effect of a snake that is not mean or despicable, but of a snake that is “fair.” The author’s use of the word “fair” creates an effect of an innocent snake who did “not even” rattle when he first viewed the man, which creates an atmosphere that is “sportingly” and the snake waited for the man “to show his intentions.” The overall selection of detail and language the author uses creates an effect of a likable, innocent animal, whom the reader can not hate, which is used to enhance the author’s major effect of life being dear even of the snake.
To continue to enhance the authors theme of life being dear, he displays the man as having to justify his intention to kill the snake. The man reflects on the consequences which could be death if he does not kill the snake. “I reflected that there were children, dogs, horses at the ranch, as well as men and women.” Using first person the author stresses that it is the man’s responsibility to kill the snake to protect the people of the farm, even if the man says that “taking life is a satisfaction he can’t feel.” This quote of not having any satisfaction of killing an animal proves to the reader that the man honors life and he even justifies his intentions to kill the snake by thinking about the women and children of the farm. The man explains that he “never killed an animal I was not obliged to kill” to produce an image of a man who has to chose between his “duty” or leaving the snake lying on the ground “like a live wire.” The man even thinks about letting “him go his way,” but he realizes that he has to kill the snake and justifies that it is his “duty.” Through the man’s justification of whether to kill the snake or not to, the author finishes creating the overall theme of his passage of life being dear.
The structure that the author uses produces the smaller effect of a likable man, an innocent snake, and a man who has to justify his reasons to kill the snake