An Angel in Disguise Summary in English by T.S Arthur

An Angel in Disguise Story Summary in English and Hindi Pdf. An Angel in Disguise is written by T.S Arthur.

An Angel in Disguise Story Summary in English by T.S Arthur

An Angel in Disguise Summary
An Angel in Disguise Summary

An Angel in Disguise About the Author

T.S. Arthur who was born on June 6, 1809 had little formal education. He used to hear stories from the Bible and stories about his grandfather who was an officer in the Revolutionary War, from his mother. He was fond of reading books and thus educated, himself through reading. Later he became an apprentice for a Baltimore craftsman.

Later on he became an editor for the Baltimore Athenaeum and Young Men’s Paper. Three years later he started the Baltimore Literary Monument. It was during this period that Arthur learned of the Washingtonian Temperance Society, which inspired him to write many novels on prohibition.

His novels were such a success that during the decade after the Civil War, the only author that outsold him in American fiction was Harriet Beecher Stowe with Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The older he grew the worse his eyesight became. His world narrowed during the early years of the 1880s, although he continued editorial work with the aid of amanuenses. By February 1885, he was unable to leave his home and died on March 6th, 1885. He was buried in Philadelphia’s old Chestnut Street Cemetery.

An Angel in Disguise About the Story

All about the Story :
The author stresses the importance of loving and caring in the story ‘An Angel in Disguise’. He believes that it is essential for human survival. He explains the true meaning of compassion, kindness and love very clearly.

In this story, T.S. Arthur strikes a didactic note by laying emphasis on the importance of loving and caring for others. He points out that love is essential for human survival and happiness.

The story is about a poor woman who falls upon the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit and dies leaving behind two daughters and a son to fend for themselves. The townspeople take pity on these children and the two oldest are taken in by new families, but the youngest Maggie, who is crippled, is left alone because no one wants to deal with her disability. A man named Joe Thompson decides to take her in for the night but plans on taking her to the poorhouse the next morning, because he knows his wife would not approve of her. When Joe brings Maggie home in arms, his wife is enraged that he brings that ‘sick brat’ into her house.

Joe begs her : “Look at her kindly, Jane; speak to her kindly.” “Think of her dead mother, and the loneliness, the pain, the sorrow that must be on all her coming life.” The softness of his heart gives eloquence to his lips. While Joe is out at work, his wife spends the day with Maggie and grows very fond of her.

The Thompsons end up keeping Maggie and she becomes a blessing. “It had been dark and cold and miserable there for a long time just because his wife had nothing to love and care for out of herself, and so became sore, irritable, ill-tempered and self-afflicting in the desolation of her woman’s nature. Now the sweetness of that sick child, looking ever to her in love, patience and gratitude, was as honey to her soul, and she carried her in her heart as well as in her arms, a precious burden.” Maggie was an angel in disguise.

An Angel in Disguise Summary in English

Death of a poor woman
The story ‘An Angel in Disguise’ tells us about a poor woman who was in the habit of drinking. Once she was in a drunken fit and therefore fell upon the threshold of her own door. She died leaving two daughters and a son behind to fend for themselves. This woman had been despised, scoffed at, and angrily denounced by nearly every man, woman and child in the village. But now people took pity on her. Neighbours went hastily to her hut with food for the half-starving children, three in number.

Of these, John, a boy of twelve, was a stout lad. Kate, between ten and eleven, was a bright, active girl; but poor little Maggie, the youngest, was hopelessly diseased. Two years before, a fall from a window had injured her spine and so she was bed-ridden. The townspeople pitied these children, and the two oldest were taken in by new families, but the youngest Maggie, who was crippled, was left alone because nobody wanted to deal with disability. One of them said, “Take her to the poorhouse”. But another said, “The poorhouse is a sad place for a sick and helpless child.”

Joe Thompson takes pity on Maggie
A man named Joe Thompson, the wheelwright, took pity on Maggie and decided to take her with him for the night but planned to take her to the poorhouse the next morning, because he knew his wife would not approve of her. Joe was a kind man and liked children. He lifted her in his strong arms and took her to his home. Now his wife, who was childless, was not a woman of saintly temper. She saw her husband approaching from the window. When Joe entered his home with Maggie in his arms, his wife was enraged and said, “You have brought home that sick brat !” Anger and astonishment were in the tones of Mrs Joe Thompson and her face was in flame. Joe did not reply except by a look that was pleading and cautionary, that said, “Wait a moment for explanation and be gentle.” Joe explained to her that after her mother’s funeral, everybody went away. She was left alone in her hut. So he brought her here. He told her that he would take her to the poorhouse the next day. She told him to go at once and leave her there.

Children need Special care
“Jane”, said Joe, with an impressiveness of tone that greatly subdued his wife, “I read in the Bible sometimes, and find much said about little children. How the Saviour, rebuked the disciples who would not receive them, how he took them up in arms and blessed them, and how he said that ‘whosoever gave them a cup of cold water should not go unrewarded’. Now, it is a small thing for us to keep this motherless little one for a single night, to be kind to her for a single night to make her life comfortable for a single night.” The voice of the strong, rough man shook, and he turned his head away, so that the moisture in his eyes might not be seen. Mrs Thompson did not answer, but a soft feeling crept into her heart.

“Look at her kindly, Jane, speak to her kindly,” said Joe. “Think of her dead mother, and the loneliness, the pain, the sorrow that must be on all her coming life.” The softness of his heart gave eloquence to his lips.

A change in Joe’s wife
While Joe was out at work, his wife spent the day with Maggie. When Joe returned he saw Maggie lying a little raised on the pillow with the lamp shining full upon her face. Mrs Thompson was sitting by the bed, talking to the child. He was happy to see a change in his wife’s attitude. A deep-drawn breath was followed by one of relief, as a weight lifted itself from his heart. Joe entered the house but did not go immediately to the little chamber. His heavy tread about the kitchen brought his wife suddenly from the room where she had been with Maggie. Joe thought it best not to refer to the child.

“How soon will supper be ready ?” he said. “Right soon”, answered Mrs Thompson with no roughness in her voice. After washing his hands and face, he went into the little bedroom where Maggie was lying. He looked at Maggie and saw that it had a lovely face.

“Your name is Maggie ?” he said, as he sat down and took her soft little hand in his..

“Yes, sir.” Her voice struck a chord that quivered in a low strain of music.

“Have you any pain ?” said Joe.

“Sometimes, but not now.” replied Maggie. Mrs Thompson takes care of Maggie

They continued conversing with each other. Then Mrs Thompson came and said that supper was ready. Joe glanced from his wife’s face to Maggie’s. She understood him, and said, “She can wait until we are done, then I will bring her something to eat.” After sometime, she said, “What are you going to do with that child ?” “I thought you understood me that she was to go to the poorhouse,” replied Joe. Mrs Thompson gave food to Maggie and asked her if it was good. The child answered with a look of gratitude that awoke to new life old feelings which had been slumbering in her heart for half a score of years.

“We’ll keep her a day or two longer, she is so weak and helpless,” said Mrs Joe Thompson.

Maggie – a blessing : Mrs Thompson grew very fond of Maggie. The Thompsons ended up keeping Maggie, and she became a blessing. “It had been dark, and cold and miserable there for a long time just because his wife had nothing to love and care for out of herself, and so became sore, irritable, ill-tempered, and self-afflicting in the desolation of her woman’s nature. Now the sweetness of that sick child, looking ever to her in love, patience and gratitude, was as honey to her soul, and she carried her in,her heart as well as in her arms, a precious burden.” Maggie was an angel in disguise.

An Angel in Disguise Word Notes and Explanations

intemperance – drunkenness/ self-indulgence
wretched – bad
despised – disliked
scoffed at – mocked at
denunciation – criticism
charitable – kind
attire – dress
puzzled – confused
wheelwright – A person whose job is making and repairing wheels
precious – valuable
astonishment – surprise
countenance – a person’s face
indignation – a feeling of anger
tossed – threw
rebuked – scolded
tread – walk
asperity – roughness
obliterate – remove
mingled – mixed
slumbering – sleeping
almshouse – a house owned by charity
miserable – unhappy
irritable – getting annoyed
desolation – loneliness
gratitude – feeling of being grateful
disguise – concealment
dreary – dull

An Angel in Disguise Theme

In this story ‘An Angel in Disguise’, the author strikes a didactic note by laying emphasis on the importance of loving and caring for others. He argues that love is essential for human survival and happiness. Through this story, he points out the true meaning of compassion, kindness and love. He conveys his idea through the story of a poor woman who falls upon the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit and dies leaving behind two daughters and a son to fend for themselves. The townspeople take pity on these children and the two oldest are taken in by two families, but the youngest, Maggie, who is crippled, is left alone because no one wants to deal with her disability.

A man named Joe Thompson decides to .take her in for the night but plans on taking her to the poorhouse the next morning, because he knows his wife would not approve of her. When Joe hrings Maggie home in arms, his wife is enraged that he brings that ‘sick brat’ into her house.
Joe begs his wife to treat her kindly. He tells her to think of her dead mother, and the loneliness, the pain and the sorrow that must be on all her coming life. He refers to the Bible in which the Saviour has taught his disciples to love children.

While Joe is out at work, Mrs Thompson spends the day with Maggie and develops compassion for her. Then she grows fond of her. The Thompsons end up keeping Maggie and she becomes a blessing. It had been dark and cold and miserable there for a long time just because she (Thompson’s wife) had nothing to love and care for except herself and so became sore, irritable, ill-tempered and self-afflicting in the desolation of her woman’s nature. Now the sweetness of that sick child, looking ever to her in love, patience and gratitude, was like honey to her soul, and she carried her in her heart as well as in her arms, a precious burden. Maggie becomes an angel in disguise.

The writer wants to convey that not only does Maggie need the care of another to survive, but Mrs Thompson also needs Maggie as someone to care and love for, to live a happy purposeful life. Mrs Thompson gets a direction to lead a pleasant life.

An Angel in Disguise Title

The title of the story ‘An Angel in Disguise’ is most appropriate because the story deals with Maggie, the youngest of her family, who proves to be an angel in disguise for the Thompsons. A poor woman falls upon the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit and dies leaving behind two daughters and a son to fend for themselves. The two oldest children – John and Katy – are taken away by new families but the youngest Maggie, who is crippled, is left alone because no one wants to deal with her disability. Joe Thompson, a kind-hearted person, takes Maggie to his home. His wife Mrs Thompson is enraged to find that he has brought that ‘sick brat’ to her home.

Joe Thompson exhorts his wife to be kind to her and treat her gently. But Mrs Thompson, who happens to be childless, is an irritable and ill-tempered woman. She spends a day with Maggie. Gradually, she grows fond of her and begins to love Maggie. The sweetness of Maggie, the sick and helpless child, looking ever to her in love, patience and gratitude, is like honey to her soul, and she carries her in her heart as well as in her arms, a precious burden. Maggie’s love has completely conquered Mrs Thompson and she is totally changed into a kind, caring and loving woman. Maggie, for Mrs Thompson, is an angel in disguise. Thus the title is apt and suitable.

An Angel in Disguise Message

In this story ‘An Angel in Disguise’ the writer gives a moral lesson. He lays emphasis on the importance of loving and caring for others. He proves that love is essential for human survival and happiness. Through this story, he points out the true meaning of compassion, kindness and love. He conveys this idea by depicting the story of a poor woman who falls upon the threshold of her own door in a drunken fit and dies leaving behind two daughters and a son to fend for themselves. The townspeople take pity on the children and the two eldest are taken away by two families, but the youngest, Maggie, who is crippled, is left alone because no one wants to deal with disability.

A man named Joe Thompson takes pity on her and decides to take her to his house for the night. He plans to leave her in the poorhouse the next morning because he knows that his wife would not approve of her. The same thing happenned. When Joe brings her home in his arms, his wife is enraged that he has brought that ‘sick brat’ into her house. Joe, the mouthpiece of the writer, begs his wife to show love to her and treat her kindly. He refers to the Bible in which the Saviour has taught his disciples to love children.

When Joe is out at work, Mrs Thompson spends the day with Maggie and develops compassion for her. Gradually, she grows fond of her. The Thompsons end up keeping Maggie and she becomes a blessing. Mrs Thompson who is childless had become irritable and ill-tempered due to her loneliness. Now the sweetness of that sick child has changed Mrs Thompson completely. She has become a loving and caring person. Maggie is like a honey to her soul. She carries Maggie in her heart as well as in her arms. Maggie has proved to be an angel in disguise.

Thus the writer conveys the message that not only does Maggie need the care of another to survive, but Mrs Thompson also needs Maggie to lead a happy and purposeful life.

An Angel in Disguise Character Sketch

1. MAGGIE

  • tragically crippled young girl
  • unable to leave her bed, weak and helpless
  • symbolizes innocence
  • turns out to be a blessing for Mrs Thompson
  • transforms the irritable Mrs Thompson and makes her a happy and compassionate person
  • polite and humble
  • an angel in disguise

Maggie, the youngest child of her family, is a crippled girl. She has injured her spine after her fall from a window two years ago. She is unable to leave her bed and is dependent on the others. She is poor and helpless. She is so weak that she cannot leave her bed unless carried in someone’s arms. Maggie symbolizes innocence and helplessness because she literally cannot survive without the love and care of someone else. Maggie turns out to be a blessing in the Thompson house because she gives Mrs Thompson a purpose. She brings joy into the sad life of Thompsons.

In fact ‘an angel had come into his (Thompson’s) house, disguised as a sick, helpless child, and filled all its dreary chambers with the sunshine of love’. She talks a little but conveys her despair when she says something. After losing her family, she says : “O, Mr Thompson ! don’t leave me here all alone !” Though it is a short sentence, it has a very specific emotional colouring. She is very polite and humble. She always says ‘sir’ when she talks to Joe Thompson. In fact, Maggie’s character illustrates the main theme of the story that humans cannot survive without other humans to love and care for them.

2. MRS THOMPSON

  • childless
  • cruel, harsh, having no compassion
  • Maggie, the crippled child transforms her
  • finds purpose and direction in life
  • was irritable and ill-tempered before Maggie comes into her life
  • no longer irritable, but loving and caring woman
  • leads a happy and pleasant life

Mrs Thompson, who happens to be childless, is a woman without compassion, kindness and sympathy. She is not a woman of saintly temper. She is first introduced as a very cruel, harsh character with little compassion for Maggie. When her husband, Joe Thompson, enters his home with Maggie in his arms, Mrs Thompson is enraged and says why he has brought that ‘sick brat’ into their home. But after spending time with Maggie, Mrs Thompson is transformed and decides to take care of Maggie for a few more days, which eventually turn into the rest of her life.

Mrs Thompson ends up falling in love with Maggie and finds purpose in taking care and looking after her. Before Maggie comes it was dark and cold and miserable there for a long time just because Mrs Thompson had nothing to love and care for except herself, and so became sore, irritable and ill-tempered, and self-afflicting in the desolation of her woman’s nature. Now the sweetness of that sick child transforms her. She is no longer irritable and ill-tempered. She is a loving and caring person. The sweetness of Maggie is like honey to her soul, and she carries her in her heart as well as in her arms.

3. JOE THOMPSON

  • the wheelwright
  • a kind-hearted person
  • rough in exterior but tenderhearted from inside
  • loves to spend time with children
  • takes pity on Maggie, the crippled child
  • lifts her in his arms and carries her to his home
  • exhorts his wife to be kind and loving
  • his words have the desired effect on his wife

Joe Thompson, the wheelwright, is a loving, caring and kind-hearted person. He loves children and likes their company. Though rough in exterior, he has a tender heart. He is a strong man, but the experience with Maggie touches him greatly, and that is why he cries a little bit when the youngest Maggie, the crippled child, is left alone because nobody wants to deal with her disability. He takes pity on Maggie and decides to take her with him. For a while, he is puzzled because he knows that his wife would not accept her. But he soon resolves his conflict and takes her along with him.

He lifts her in his strong arms and takes her to his home. He has a great understanding of his wife. When she asks why he has brought that ‘sick brat’ to her home, he does not reply, but gives her a look that is pleading and cautionary. Then to calm his wife down, he refers to the Bible in which it is mentioned that the Saviour rebuked the disciples who did not receive and love the children. He exhorts his wife to be kind to her and treat her gently. The voice of this strong, rough man shakes and he turns his head away to hide his moist eyes. His words have the desired effect and a soft feeling creeps into his wife’s heart.

An Angel in Disguise Critical Appreciation

Third Person Narrative
The story is narrated in the third person by an omniscient narrator. The author introduces his characters and comments on them, as for example, he says about the drunken woman : “This woman had been despised, scoffed at, and angrily denounced by nearly every man, woman and child in the village.” The narrator has a pity for the children of the dead woman, especially Maggie, due to her predicament of being an orphan whom everyone is reluctant to take in. The narrator demonstrates his tender feelings for Maggie when he describes her as having ‘sad eyes’, and a patient face.

Purpose
The author wrote this story in order to illustrate the importance of caring and loving. Not only does Maggie need the care and love of another to survive, but Mrs Thompson also needs Maggie as someone to care and love for to live a happy purposeful life. This displays that humans are interdependent, and cannot live in isolation. The author proves that love is essential for human survival.

Tone
The tone of the story is a melancholy one. A woman whom none cared about previously has passed away, and the townspeople suddenly act as if they were in mourning. This tone continues as the narrator reveals that the children are orphans, and none of the townspeople is willing to take little Maggie in. Once Joe Thompson takes Maggie to his house, the tone shifts from melancholy to hope. Finally, when Mrs Thompson realizes that Maggie is bringing the couple happiness, the tone ultimately becomes optimistic.

Message
The story gives a message to alcoholics and those who discriminate against disabled persons. It shows the tragedy that alcohol can inflict on a family. It also targets those who have a bias against the disabled because it illustrates the joy and love that disabled people can bring to one’s life.

Language
The writer uses carefully planned complex sentences with powerful vocabulary in order to lay emphasis on the importance of loving and caring for others. He makes use of literary devices to make his style rich, literary and artistic. He makes use of personification in the following line: ‘Death touches the spring of our common humanity.’ The use of oxymoron ‘precious burden’ in the line ‘she carried her in her heart as well as in her arms, a precious burden’ is noteworthy.

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