Inman has a negative view of the world around him. He expects for something much better but is disappointed in what he sees. As he looked across the dewy fields to try to appreciate nature, life, his place on Earth he is not given what he longs to see. Instead, as the rays of light reveal the scenery, he sees some asinine snake going from the roadway into the chickweed.
This image of a snake could have been a positive image but the words described of the snake (sliding flabby and turdlike) suggests the negative attitude toward it, such that the snake looks like shit.
Inman is also not appreciative of the species of trees. Here in the second paragraph they are described as “trash trees”. The trash trees are described as plared-off and disorganized-tangled. He also does not like the towns-really anything. Inman feels disgusted that he fought so hard as described “from the piedmont to the sea” to get this trash and lack of beauty.
The place is described metaphorically as (foul and sorry had flowed downhill and pooled in the low spots). This adds to Inman’s negative view of life. He believes that these places are only bad and have only to present the horrors and pains of life.
The birds are also no exception. The cicadas are screaming everywhere. Their shrill, according to Inman, is like many pieces of jagged bone being twisted together. The scream not only affected Inman’s wound but it seems to remind him of the war. It can represent those that have died (soldiers) and are nothing but dry bones now. The scream or shrill of the cicadas served as a lasting reminder of the faceless, nameless many lost during the war.
Inman himself does not escape his view of life. Inman is not perfect as he desires the world around him to be and his wound at his neck is a direct example of that. Inman notices that the wound at his neck throbbed with the screams of the cicadas. This unified pulse of the bird shrills and his wounds imply that Inman himself is foul. Inman is part of the terrible, horrible, foul and sorry parts of life. Inman has done his own personal part of causing death and pain and the unified pulses and shrills remind him.
As much as Inman wants to escape and see beauty of nature and life, he cannot. To some other person, the scene of him walking on the open road might have not been that bad. The excerpt says that at another time Inman’s presence might have suggested freedom of a wandering man doing as he wished. The man is surrounded by the fruits of nature; red maples off to a side and other elements. The sunlight (golden) added to this seemingly picturesque scene.
But to Inman, it was all different. It was the total opposite. Inman seems to be fed up with nature and does not yearn for the things that he used to read in that book he carries. The book describing the geography, species of plants, landmarks, and other things. Inman has suffered from too “many wet and miserable nights” and thus he has lost his appreciation. He virtually feels like the worst person on Earth when it is said ” Inman felt like Gods most marauded bantling.”
All these negative images and internal feelings of Inman seem to convey and foreshadow that more pain has yet to come. But along with these pains comes Inman’s impatience. In the line that says “A miry slough indeed, and he could take little more of it” shows Inman’s impatience for the war, land and life. If things continue as presently, Inman will break out from frustation.
The screeching cicadas can also represent a warning of danger that has yet to come. Birds are commonly used to foreshadow danger. But the theme of birds is common. They seem to affect Inman in many ways. He wishes to fly away as a bird (fly away from the war) and yet there are so many signs of birds along his journey home.