The two poems ‘Night of the Scorpion’ and ‘Vultures’ are both similar in several ways but the most obvious similarity is that both poems involve animals. Both poems also involve evil and love, ‘Night of the Scorpion’ talking about the evil of a scorpion’s sting and a mother’s love and ‘Vultures’ talking about how evil creatures are able to love. In ‘Night of the Scorpion’, the speaker’s mother is stung by a scorpion and the local people try all sorts of bizarre and superstitious remedies. In this poem you feel some sympathy for the scorpion; it has been driven from its home by the rain and forced to take cover beneath a sack of rice.
The scorpion is not being aggressive, it is not wandering through the house trying to find someone to sting, it is acting defensively because its hiding place has been disturbed. The vultures, however, seem a lot more sinister. They are seeking out corpses and “gorging” themselves on the flesh. Even though they are not being aggressive by attacking living animals, the fact that they are feasting on corpses makes you think of them as cowardly animals, waiting for another animal to kill something and then stealing the leftovers.
Both of the animals act differently and therefore serve different purposes in their respective poems. In ‘Night of the Scorpion’, the scorpion causes pain to the speaker’s mother and it is this pain, and the people in the poem’s reactions to the pain, that is dealt with. In ‘Vultures’ however, the vultures are used as metaphors to show that even evil things can love. ‘Night of the Scorpion’ is a poem that deals mostly with someone else’s pain, whereas the poem ‘Vultures’ deals with a person who is causing pain.
‘Night of the Scorpion’ involves the speaker in the poem, recalling an incident in which his mother was stung by a scorpion, whilst ‘Vultures’ deals with a Nazi officer who has been killing people. Both poems also deal with infection, in ‘Night of the Scorpion’ the mother has been infected with a scorpion’s venom, and this is coursing through her veins, and in ‘Vultures’, a “Daddy” has been infected with evil and has become a Nazi officer, not thinking twice about killing someone.