Angels & Insects Summary
A. S. Byatt

Everything you need to understand or teach Angels & Insects by A. S. Byatt.

  • Angels & Insects Summary & Study Guide

Angels & Insects Summary

The two novellas explore the place of humans in the universe; they are somewhere, as the title suggests, between angels and insects and are part of both the physical and spiritual worlds. In "Morpho Eugenia," the society created by humans to distinguish them from what they view as lower life forms proves to be a thin veneer covering behavior very much like, and in some cases perhaps worse than, that of primitive humans and of animals. Tennyson's view of nature as "red in tooth and claw," quoted in the novella, has replaced the rosier Romantic ideal. In "The Conjugial Angel," an uneasy relationship between the living and the dead develops. Byatt suggests that excessive concern with the afterlife, especially if caused by grief for a lost loved one, is not only detrimental to the living person but to the dead as well. The sad young ghost of Arthur...

(read more from the Short Guide)

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Angels & Insects Short Guide

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