While reading “The Deer at Providencia”, the main idea that hit me was that beings, whether a deer or a person, undergo pain and suffering that nobody is able to do anything about since it is literally impossible for someone to understand the ache that goes on under their skin. This can be seen at the beginning when the deer’s “neck shows red stripes and some bruises bleeding inside [his] muscles” (61). As shocking as this image may be, Dillard narrates this happening in the most calm way possible since she continues to eat “hot and fried” (62) food such as fish and bananas. At this point of the essay, I just wondered what could be done under that situation since she is a simple visitor in a foreign culture, yet what the deer undergoes seems to be so cruel. However, as the essay continued, I thought that just like that had a “bowl of gunpowder” explode all over him, the deer and Dillard had no power to do anything about the situation since they are powerless against happenings that simply turn out to be that way. As shocking as both stories may be, although Dillard makes a failed attempts to be compassionate and understanding, she simply happens to say “ridiculous thing[s]” (66) since nothing that comes out of her mouth will be able to cease their pain.
The way the author begins her story, give the impression that she is going to talk about a type of deer living in the Ecuadorian jungle. But soon the reader realizes that her focus in on a fact related to a specific deer, and the attitude of people around this animal. “The first thing we saw when we climbed the riverbank to the village of Providencia was the deer. It was roped to a tree on the grass clearing near the thatch shelter where we would eat lunch.” (Page 60)The situation of the deer is miserable, because it is not only with a rope around its neck and three feet caught in the rope, but trying to paw itself free of the rope, scratched its own neck with its hooves. Besides this, in a moment the poor animal has three of its feet hooked in the rope under its jaw. “It could not stand on one leg, so it could not move to slacken the rope and ease the pull on its throat and enable it to rest its head.” (Page 61) There are other details that show how the deer was suffering in front of all people, without any compassion from their part. For the boys of the village this spectacle seemed to be a kind of entertainment; for the local businessman, it was something without any importance; and for the visitors, the three North American men and the situation was strange, pathetic. However, they did not say anything, and they did not try to do something to change the lack of the poor deer.Felipe
Another aspect that I found important in this essay were the contrasting examples that were given. Both very different; one animal and the other one human, both from very different cultures since the deer belonged to the “Ecuadorian jungle on the banks of the Napo River” (60) while the man, Alan McDonald , to the United States, specifically Miami. I thought that this was very important due to the fact that both pains were perceived in very different manners. On the deer’s case, the native people do not react to his suffering and do not blame the dogs or any other higher force for the animals hunting them. Furthermore, nothing is done against the hunting dogs’ actions since nobody aids the deer. Contrastingly, in Mr. McDonald’s case, he does blame someone for the gunpowder that exploded on him since he says “why does God hate me?” (64). Furthermore, action is take in order to try to make his pain stop since he is in a hospital and people try to help him recover, unlike the deer.-Mariale
The author describes how each of these groups reacts to the deer’s situation. The group really active which tries to do something in its favor is the group of native boys. In one moment they tried to help it. “Once three young native boys charged in, released its trapped legs, and jumped back to the circle of people.”(Page 62) Nobody else did anything to make the deer’s life ease. People got together several times to have breakfast or lunch, but they were not shocked by the animal. Even they ate meat of a deer killed the day before. The author, in one moment mentions that while they were watching the deer after their meal, the North American men were watching at her. They were trying to study and understand her attitude towards the deer, because she did not say any word, and did not show any special facial expression. “They had looked to see how I, the only woman, and the youngest, was taking the sight of the deer’s struggles. I looked detached, apparently, or hard, or calm, or focused, still. I don’t know. I was thinking.” (Page 63-4) Then she reveals something that helps the reader to clearly understand why she looked cold or indifferent. Before she came to the Ecuadorian jungle, in her country she was terribly impressed by a photo showing the terrible condition of a man called Alan McDonald, whose face suffered a terrible burn. The tragic condition of that man compared to the condition of the deer. Later she knew that a bowl of gunpowder had exploded on McDonald, and caused that irreparable damage. This is what the author reveals in the last part of her story.Felipe
I agree with your analysis for the most part. I think Filipe brought up an interesting point when he noticed that the village boys do try to help the deer. Everyone realizes the harsh reality of the suffering. It is not as if the village people don't see the suffering. I think Dillard links the two instances of suffering and seeks to make them equal in a way. Maybe we, as humans, are more revolted by suffering of the burn victim. But if we place ourselves in the hooves ;) of a deer would the situation be any less horrific? Imagine watching your deer suddenly become ensnared by an unknown entity that planned to kill, skin, and eat it. Imagine watching your friend tear gashes in her own flesh desperately trying to free herself. I'm getting images from those "Saw" movie in my head. Clear that suffering is on par and feels as senseless as the burn victims.Life is unfair. It is full of the cruelest and most horrific instances of suffering. Dillard doesn't seem to have any answers to this. But merely notes it's existence. Filipe, some of your comments have a lot of grammatical errors. Make you you read it over and correct any errors you can because grammar is part of your grade.