An Angel in Disguise
The story “An Angel in Disguise” is set in a village where a poor woman who was hated by all met a tragic end when she fell on the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit and died, leaving behind three children to fend for themselves. Death, as inevitable as it is, leaves those who are left behind, broken and destroyed.
The poor woman’s death leaves her three children extremely vulnerable, and dependent on the pity of others.
An angel in disguise is a story narrated by an omniscient narrator in the third person. We look at the characters and understand them through the narrator’s eyes. He presents all the characters with direct commentary. Hence there is a bias in his analysis of the characters.
The tone of the story is a gloomy one; however it ends on a very cheerful and optimistic note. The first half of the story deals with the death of a parent and pathetic condition of the children. The writer shows the predicament of the children and especially the diseased child, Maggie. Everyone leaves her alone. All except, Joe Thompson. He brings her home and the little girl’s presence proves to be soothing and a blessing to the childless couple. Thus, the story ends on a happy tone.
Arthur uses his short story to shed light on the evils that plague our society. His story mirrors the strengths and weaknesses of our society, portraying his characters in a way that they represent all the sections of the society. He was an ardent supporter of the Temperance movement and thus used alcohol as the cause of mother’s death and the foremost reason for the child’s pain and sufferings.