Home > Free Essays > Art > Historical Drama > Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt

Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jun 14th, 2019

Literature plays key roles in shaping, informing and educating the public on the importance of morals and warning people against evil activities. However, despite these differences writers strive to pass their messages to the audience through all ways possible. This discussion involves an analysis of “Angels and Insects” by A. S. Byatt.

This discussion will focus on the third paragraph on page five of the novel. This passage involves Mr. William and Miss Alabaster. Mr. William is a returning traveler having happy times at an evening ball room event organized in his honor by Lady Alabaster. In addition, she has prepared three young ladies to dance in his honor and keep the evening fire burning.

Even though, Mr. William is reluctant to dance for fear of showing his awkward movements he is at last convinced to join other dancers on the floor. Miss Alabaster is Lady Alabaster’s daughter who seems to attract attention from Mr. Williams and eventually manages to get him to the dance floor. The exact passage is attached at the last page of this essay.

This passage portrays various cultural aspects that influence human lives. The author has placed much emphasis on human relationships and interactions. These aspects play key roles in shaping behavior and associations among people. The author has used a ball room dancing event as a venue where people from divers backgrounds meet and share their experiences and keep each other company.

Even though, it may not be clear that there are significant cultural differences between Mr. William and Miss Alabaster, there is sufficient evidence of these disparities from their previous conversations.

At the beginning of the story Lady Alabaster requests Mr. William, to appreciate the presence of young ladies in the ball room by dancing with them. She places much emphasis on the importance of his dancing with them rather than sitting next to her and enjoying the drinks.

The fact that there are more women than men in this event means that they play hosts to men from various professions. This is a clear indication of the position this society has given women especially young ladies in their prime teenage years or mid twenties. This society perceives women as sources of men’s pleasures and thus must be available to entertain them after a hard days work.

However, the most shocking aspect of this novel is the fact that women are supposed to fight for their rights and independency from relying on men for survival.

However, Lady Alabaster seems to be in the fore front in advocating for women to be treated as objects rather than human beings. She has many young ladies prepared to entertain men by dancing with them. Therefore, she perpetuates male chauvinism and encourages women to remain subservient to men.

This passage outlines the differences between men and women and how their lifestyles are worlds apart. When Mr. Williams rises and leads Miss Alabaster to the dance floor, she seems concerned with his shoes and lifestyle. She remains silent when Mr. William asks her why his shoes got her attention.

However, she does not answer making Mr. William think that she was afraid that he did not know how to dance or may step on her slippers. This shows the differences that exist between men and women in this society. In addition, the author portrays this society as one dominated by men and women have limited chances of expressing their views to other members of the society.

However, this passage is a complete opposite of the happenings in the movie “Set it Off” that highlights the plight of women in a competitive society. This movie features four women whose ways to success are shattered by male dominance.

This movie depicts these women as people who never give up despite the challenges they experience in their quest for independency. While the author of this passage portrays his female characters as people pushed to the walls and unable to find their way out, this movie explores ways through which women struggle to seek means of succeeding in life.

Vivica Fox plays the role of a bank cashier who loses her job as allegations against her point to her involvement in a recent robbery. Even though, she struggles to prove to the detectives that she played no part in the robbery and that her actions were motivated by the prevailing risks during the robbery none of the detectives believes her story. She is sacked and vows to seek revenge and make ends meet through all means possible.

This lands her in a manual job involving cleaning company offices. She meets other three ladies working in the same company and establishes rapport with them. Later they discover desperation poverty and male chauvinism are their greatest problems and hurdles they must pass through to succeed in life.

While the author of this passage portrays women as contended with their ways of life, this movie depicts them as strugglers who get tougher and stronger after every tribulation. This is a significant contrast that separates the characters used in the novel from those in the movie. The author of this passage seems to focus on desperation as a central theme that drives women to be contended with their present situations.

The movie plays a crucial role of highlighting the importance of having hope for a better future despite the present predicaments. There is no doubt that women can set themselves free from male chauvinism through financial independency.

On the other hand, the author of this passage highlights some of the retrogressive traditions in male denominated communities. This involves the belief that women should entertain men after work in order to earn their living. On the contrary, this belief belongs to the dustbins as far as the movie is concerned.

The ladies in the movie are tired of male dominance and, in fact, Clare (Queen Latifah) prefers having a female partner to a male one. These four women realize that men have disappointed them directly or indirectly. Stony sacrifices her body to raise money to take her brother to college after her parent’s death. However, her brother refused to go to college and instead became part of a local criminal gang.

There is no doubt that women are capable of doing what men can do including working in challenging professions. However, these women fail to direct their energies to the right course and instead start participating in bank robberies.

Women in the passage are satisfied with the little money they get from ball room events. On the contrary, the ones in the movie seek to satisfy their curiosity and revenge by robbing banks and having more money than they require.

Both stories highlight the importance of money for survival and thus compromise the means through which people earn money. While the movie highlights how revenge and desperation leads to social evils like robbery and prostitution, the novel highlights male dominance as a way of making ends meet.

This movie and the passage reflect class differences among members of the same community. In addition, these differences are more pronounced between men and women who struggle to make ends meet. In this passage, Miss Alabaster admires Mr. William’s shoes secretly, and this is echoed through the way she stares at them.

Education as a means of exposure to the outside world seems to be a force to reckon when it comes to economic differences. In this passage, Mr. William seems to have travelled to various parts of the country and is enjoying his evening after a tiring day.

The movie highlights the levels of exposure to the outside world when Stony meets and falls in love with a man working in a local bank. During one of their conversations, it is evident that Stony has never been to the outside world since she gives negative answers to all questions relating to international trade and foreign places.

In addition, in one of the dinner parties organized by his boyfriend’s close friend she exhibits extremely poor table manners by drinking more than she should have and dropping wine glasses on flower pots. This highlights the benefits of education in giving career skills and future to individuals, as well as the importance of exposure to other communities.

This essay on Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2019, June 14). Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt. https://ivypanda.com/essays/angels-and-insects-by-a-s-byatt/


IvyPanda. (2019, June 14). Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/angels-and-insects-by-a-s-byatt/

Work Cited

"Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt." IvyPanda, 14 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/angels-and-insects-by-a-s-byatt/.

1. IvyPanda. "Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt." June 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/angels-and-insects-by-a-s-byatt/.


IvyPanda. "Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt." June 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/angels-and-insects-by-a-s-byatt/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt." June 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/angels-and-insects-by-a-s-byatt/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Angels and Insects by A.S. Byatt'. 14 June.

Powered by CiteTotal, essay reference generator
More related papers