Homework Questions for “The Black Snake”

1.  What was your reaction to the speaker’s description of the snake?

2. A. What does the speaker do with the snake?  B. What does this tell you about the speaker?

3. A. What image begins and ends the poem?  B. What does the repetition of this image suggest?

4. A. What is the “brighter fire, which the bones/have always preferred”?  B. Why is the fire brighter?

5. A. Identify words and phrases that describe circles.  B. Why does the author repeat the image of a circle?

6.  How does the idea of a “light at the center of every cell” tie in with the speaker’s thoughts?

7.  The speaker in a poem is the voice that communicates with the reader.  Why do you suppose Oliver wrote so little about the  speaker and so much about the snake?

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