Paul Muldoon’s “Hedgehog” is a poem that at first glance, and from a literal perspective, is about a Hedgehog who is keeping to itself and hiding. One possible meaning behind this could be that the human race is ruining nature. The stanza with the snail that moves like a hovercraft could be construed as an industrial reference, with the sharing of its secret being the spreading of human industrialization across the world. This would have an adverse effect on nature, which would explain why the hedgehog, which could be an allusion to nature itself, is distrustful of humans. However, another possibility would be that perhaps the poem intends to have the Hedgehog represent God. The snail that moves like a hovercraft could very well be an allusion to the church, which is constantly attempting to “share” the faith with the entire world. However, the Hedgehog, which may represent god, keeps it’s secret to itself and does not expose itself to anyone. Perhaps the Hedgehogs distrust is God’s own distrust in mankind’s ability to govern his creation, but he continues to keep to himself. This would support the notion that the Hedgehog is a god that does not impede free will, despite the cost inaction may have, which is in line with the belief of many branches of the Christian faith. This possibility is given the most credibility in what appears to be an obvious allusion to jesus (as I see it). The allusion takes place in the final stanza.
“We forget the god
under this crown of thorns.
We forget that never again
will a god trust in the world.”
I believe that stanza is a direct allusion to god, for the god under this crown of thorns could easily be taken to mean Jesus, and that perhaps after sacrificing his son, God lost his trust in mankind.
In the prelude to “Salem Village, Massachusetts, May 30, 1706” Katherine Howe begins to set the scene for what will eventually escalate in to the Salem Witch Trials. She writes in the first person perspective, with a woman named Ann being the central character. She starts the story waiting on Reverend Green, so she can make a confession. She is hesitant, which hints that what she intends to confess is not necessarily something that she would feel comfortable with becoming known to others. Judging from the setting, it could be inferred the confession could possibly have something to do with witchcraft, although in the excerpt the reader is not made privy to what the confession actually is. Katherine Howe leaves the reader to infer, based on knowledge of the setting, as to what the confession may be at this point in her writing. This could possibly be done to build suspense, or simply to keep the reader actively thinking and to garner curiosity.
Nadia Bolz-Weber is a female pastor, who styles herself a Pastrix, due to the churches reluctance to appoint a woman to a position of Clerical prominence (clerical as in clergy, not clerks). Nadia Bolz-Weber wrote “Pastrix”, from which we read an excerpt titled “La Femme Nadia”.
In “La Femme Nadia” she details her own life before becoming a female pastor, in particular she writes about an event that occurred at a recovery center. She talks about how she feels like no one there had went through what she is going through, but that she does no she dislikes all of the people around her. However, she realized that she was wrong about other people not understanding because a woman, Margery, immediately recognized what was going on when Nadia jumped at the sound of a pan dropping.
The story also utilizes flashbacks in order to familiarize the reader with her past, and allow them to understand why she is at the recovery center. Nadia Bolz-Weber wrote in a first person perspective, reflecting upon her own life, which makes the work one of non-fiction. She primarily uses summary, with dialogue put in at places where it helps make sense of the summarization, as well as at critical points of the writing, which allows it to emphasize those points.
Jesmyn Ward wrote “The Men We Reaped”. The Prologue of this story consists of two paragraphs. The first Paragraph mentions that the main character’s mother would drive her (it is never explicitly stated whether or not the character is a female, but the context of the writing leads me to believe that the character is indeed female) and several others, presumably her siblings and cousin, from coastal Mississippi to New Orleans, so they could visit her father on the weekends. She also states that her mother would ask her to “Lock the doors”. The paragraph reveals that her mother and father had become separated and that the father had moved to New Orleans and the mother, who maintained custody of the children, remained in Mississippi. The fact that the mother maintained custody of the children can be derived from the line “my father moved to New Orleans, while we remained in DeLisle, Mississippi”. The second paragraph stated that her father’s house was a one bedroom home that was painted yellow and had bars on the window. It had been located in a black neighborhood called Shrewsbury. It is also stated that she had 3 siblings and a cousin who lived with them.
The story makes good use of imagery, going into great detail when describing the appearance of the home and the surrounding area to the reader. The excerpt is primarily summary with only a few pieces of dialogue in the piece. The most important piece of dialogue is when her brother, Joshua, says “Somebody died here,” This statement plants a seed of fear that is confirmed in the last line, when the character says ‘“You just trying to scare us,” I said. What I didn’t say: It’s working.”