A Tormented Toad
Once upon a time, a little frog was trapped in the bottom of a well for 100 years, torn between returning to his former state of royalty, or remaining a lowly frog; but upon closer inspection, this fairy tale offers more than the moans of a tormented toad. It gives readers insight to a common fear that many Christians are subjected to. Within the poem “The Frog Prince,” Stevie Smith uses the word “disenchanted” to refer to humans being freed from their mortal bodies and moving onto the spirit world. Smith successfully asserts this with her use of rhetorical questions, diction, and indirect characterization thus proving her theme that life on earth often leads to complacency, causing humans to fear death because they have not adequately prepared themselves for admittance into heaven.
This poem follows the dilemma of an aged frog who knows not whether he wants to be “disenchanted” or remain a frog. Through the use of rhetorical questions, Smith is about to lend readers better comprehension of precisely what the frog ponders: The story is familiar
Everybody knows it well
But do other enchanted people feel as nervous
As I do? The stories do not tell,
Ask if they will be happier
When the changes come
As already they are fairly happy
In a frog's doom? (10-17)
This excerpt asserts that many other people experience the same uncertainty that the frog currently faces, referring to them as “other enchanted people.” Rhetorical questions in these lines help to transcend the insecurity felt by the frog, to a bigger audience by inquiring whether other enchanted people feel nervous about the changes that come with disenchantment too. Line 13, “The stories do not tell,” lends validity to the word “disenchantment” meaning the passage to the spirit world because no one who passed on has ever come back to report on it. It is unknown what happens after someone dies. Lines 16 and 17 cite the only thing that humans do know for...
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