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Use of Angels in Smith’s Annunciation and Plath’s Black Rook in Rainy Weather

Use of Angels in Smith’s Annunciation and Plath’s Black Rook in Rainy Weather

Since biblical times, people have looked to angels as sources of comfort, inspiration, protection, and solace. Yet very little is said in the Bible about what angels actually are; the Bible focuses mainly on their deeds, and leaves their nature to the imagination. Consequently, few people really understand them, and the very notion of angels is a rather open-ended idea subject to personal interpretation and design. Poets, never ones to let a chance at interpretation go by, have written about angels, using them as both subject and metaphor. Two poems of note where angels are used as metaphors are “Annunciation”, by Kay Smith and “Black Rook in Rainy Weather”, by Sylvia Plath. In these poems, angels are referenced not for their own sake, but rather for the metaphorical meanings which the reader may glean from them. In “Annunciation”, Smith uses an angel to represent greatness left pursued yet unattained a life, while Plath uses angels to represent unusual occurences which brighten or add meaning to an otherwise dreary life.

“Annunciation” begins with a note about the standard artistic depiction of the Annunciation, in which the angel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary to declare that she will be the Mother of God. Smith notes that in paintings of the event, Mary is always reading a book; she seems trying to keep her place in the book, despite the arrival and great presence of Gabriel. In the poem, Smith herself paints a portrait of a young girl at a crossroads: two girls at a museum in Italy on some sort of trip. “We two sometimes women” (line 20) implies that the girls are fairly young, but since they seem to be alone together they have likel…

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…vene in the lives of the faithful in times of trial. Plath uses angels as a metaphor for strength and hope in a time of darkness.

Angels are so commonly felt but poorly understood that it is possible to attach many different meanings to them. In poetry, angels can represent a spectrum of ideas and feelings, from awe to hope to strength to fear, just to list a few examples. In “Annunciation”, Kay Smith uses the majesty and biblical significance of the angel Gabriel to represent a feeling of greatness and destiny that the speaker let slip through her grasp. In “Black Rook in Rainy Weather”, Sylvia Plath uses angels to symbolize the brightness and hope that make an otherwise bleak and dreary life livable. Clearly, angels, like our lives themselves, can have whatever meaning we choose endow upon them.

“In the arms of the angels, may you find some comfort here.”

Hop Frog as a Love Story

Hop Frog as a Love Story

“Hop Frog”, by Edgar Allan Poe, is a short story in which the title character, after enduring much abuse by the king, gets revenge in the end. Hop Frog is not only the king’s jester, but is also a handicapped dwarf. The king perpetually berates Hop Frog and plays practical jokes on his poor jester. At one point, king and his seven ministers summon Hop Frog before them so that he may give them ideas for an upcoming masquerade. The king forces him to drink wine (which Hop Frog always has an adverse reaction to drinking) and becomes very upset at him. Hop Frog is saved only by the intercession of Trippetta, a woman from Hop Frog’s own land and his only true friend. Trippetta succeeds, but only after suffering great humiliation at the hands of the king. Nevertheless, Hop Frog gives the eight an idea for their masquerade disguises. After tarring them, covering them with flax, and chaining them together, they have the rough appearance of eight orangutans, and Hop Frog leads them into the masquerade. Here his vengeance plot unfolds, as he hoists the into the air and sets them on fire. He then makes his escape, probably with Trippetta and the two are never seen again. But this story is not just about escape from oppression. Instead, it is a love story, because Hop Frog’s entire course of action was inspired only by his love for Trippetta.

Hop Frog had suffered through years of torment at the hands of the king. To begin with, Hop Frog was kidnapped from his own land and sent as a captive to the king. Hop Frog was made to suffer verbal abuse for his physical shortcomings and sufferings.

For example, he was given the insulting nickname of “Hop Frog”, though …through the distortions o…

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…e being abused himself, but when his love is mistreated, something just snaps. His cool plot is created solely to avenge the injustice done upon Trippetta. If Hop Frog only wished to escape or to have revenge for his own trials, he would have just killed the king. But instead, he kills the king (committer of the injustice) and the ministers (who all laughed at the humiliation of Trippetta). He does so in a public forum so as to humiliate them in the way they humiliated his love. After inflicting his vengeance on these men, Hop Frog escapes with his love and they disappear from the kingdom. One can only assume that they returned to their homeland, but wherever they did go, they went there together. This truly is a love story.

Works Cited:

Poe, Edgar Allen. “Hop-Frog.” Collective Works of Edgar Allen Poe. Ed. Thomas Ollive Mabbott. Massattusetes: Harvard, 1978.

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