Air for Mercury Themes

Brenda Hillman
This Study Guide consists of approximately 18 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Air for Mercury.
This section contains 525 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Religious Faith

Hillman's poem examines a number of religious themes, the primary one being the concept of religious faith. Over the course of the poem, Hillman uses several symbols that indicate this faith is being lost. In the first section, Hillman addresses the poem to what at first appears to be the classical Roman god, Mercury. This figure sports "crenellated shoulder wings," which is an important detail. When something is "crenellated," it is furnished with battlements, the square notches found on castle towers, which were used to provide openings through which to shoot at one's foes with arrows. The fact that Hillman is using a warlike image underscores the conflict between religion and secularism over the course of human history, especially in modern life, where the poem ends. In this section, religion loses the battle, and the Mercury character is forced to take off his shoulder and ankle wings...

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This section contains 525 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Air for Mercury Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Air for Mercury from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.