Herman portrays seems to be calm and

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Melville, an American author during the renaissance period gifted us with
pieces of literature that are now considered classics. Melville was one who was
obsessed with finding out more than the limits of knowledge which ultimately
led him to the questions of God’s existence, how the universe fits in with God,
and how the presence of evil will lead to destruction. Due to his obsession,
Melville’s works often portray religious themes and symbolism. Throughout his
writing, Melville’s characters are all often preoccupied by an intense quest
that is in search for a higher truth. While, the plot of his story initiates
what the pursuit is, the themes throughout his literature represents the
relationship between what is its truth and what is its illusion. The Lightning
Rod Man may seem like a story about salesman who’s attempting to sell lightning
rods to a man who seems resistant, regardless that there is a thunderstorm that
is occurring, has a larger meaning than what meets the eye. Due to Melville
using religious themes in the past, this story can be portrayed as a
battle/confrontation between good and evil. The characters in this story have
two very opposites behaviors, that support claim of the story having a
religious concept. While, the storm is pressing on, the character that the
narrator portrays seems to be calm and seems trusting in a higher power while
the storm is occurring. On the other hand, the Lightning Rod Man’s character is
a persistent and negative character, who only has faith in only what he is
selling and what he can gain.
descriptions and diction that Melville uses, leads to an assumption that the
narrator’s character is a follower of god. The concept that the narrator’s
character is a follower of God or one who believes in an almighty power is
discovered towards the later part of the story. The narrator uses a statement
that shows his beliefs towards a higher power by simply saying “in thunder as
in sunshine, I stand at ease in the hands of my God”. Throughout the argument
with the lightning rod man, the author seems to debunk every claim that the man
tries to make about the protection that the lightning rods give. The narrator
even goes to length of asking the man “Your rod rusts, or breaks, and, where
are you? Who has empowered you” to point out that this man has not gifted the
gods with power over nature. He even tells the Lightning Rod Man that “the
hairs of our heads are numbered, and the days of our lives” to enlighten him
about the path that god chooses for you, that no device can change the course
of your destiny. While the Man persists on, the narrator uses a convincing
statement that represents his devotion to his god by telling the man “See, the
scroll of the storm is rolled back; the house is unharmed; and in the blue
heavens I read in the rainbow, that the Deity will not, of purpose, make war on
man’s earth”. This statement is more than just a way to prove that the narrator
is devoted to god but symbolizes that the almighty power is watching over him
and can get him safely through the darkest times.
comes the Lightning Rod Man, who seems to portray the prince of darkness. From
the very beginning the man is clearly made to be the bad guy, and Melville
describes him as the opposite of the narrator and makes the man’s attitude more
negative.  Melville starts out using
satanic imagery to describe the unusual stranger who appears at the door during
a thunder storm. He says that the man is a “dark gloomy figure” who’s eyes
“were ringed by indigo halos”, which could suggest that the man is embodiment
of a more satanic being. The man preaches that he has a device that can make
man fearless of nature and that they can control more than themselves. In his
mind he believes that he possesses the only key to saving mankind, which is his
lighting rods. He tries to pray on the fears of the people around him to achieve
what he wants. Melville wanted the reader to see and become tired with the man’s
constant reasoning for why everything in the world is dangerous and bad. At the
end of the story the narrator states “But spite of my treatment, and spite of
my dissuasive talk of him to my neighbors, the Lightning-rod man still dwells
in the land; still travels in storm-time and drives a brave trade with the
fears of man.” Despite the conversation between the narrator and the Lightning-Rod
Man, the Lightning Rod Man continues with preying on the fears of man and doing
what he can to only benefit himself.
the end, Melville’s short story challenges readers to look beyond the surface
and look deeper towards a more complex meaning. This story gives each reader
the opportunity to interpret it, into their own unique way. Each reader can
discover new meanings to this story each time they read it, depending on how
they are looking at it. While, some may not agree with me on how I interpreted this
story others might have seen it the same way. For me, when I read this story it
symbolized more than just a generic battle between good and evil, but it had a
larger religious symbolism to it than what meets the eye.  Although, there is no right or wrong when it
comes to interpretation and that is just the beauty of literature.


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