American literature plays a significant role in the everyday life of individuals. It connects people with the universal truth and ideas in society. Literature establishes a way for individuals to display their feelings and experiences in a way that others can access. The two characters that will be explored in this paper are Hop- Frog and Trippetta. They are dwarfs and had been presented to the King as presents. The two characters become close friends, probably because of their similar status as servants at the royal court, and they look out for one another. The two characters are symbolic. They represent individuals whose social identity is unknown because of the status, physical body structure, cultural background, race, and so forth. In such a society, the extent of discrimination and hatred towards the marginalized persons is despicable.
The American literature plays a significant role in determining the role of individuals in the society with the purpose of conveying a specific message to the intended audience. Hop-Frog successfully manages to surpass the limitations of his physical morphology. Biologically, Poe represents Hop-Frog as a natural freak in life. First, he is a dwarf. His style of walking is anomaly. He leaps and jiggles as he walks (Poe 482). He has large, strong, and repulsive teeth (Poe 484). His arms are not proportionate to his body but are very strong. His hands are not equivalent to his body and resemble a squirrel or a small monkey (Poe 482). When the King compels him to drink all the wine, his ability to overcome the effect of the drink is nonexistent. Furthermore, Hop-Frog comes from “some barbarous region”(482). The King perceives Hop-Frog as a triplicate treasure because he always makes the King happy due to his movement and nonexistent personalities. Nevertheless, his deformity does not limit his thinking. Even after drinking the wine, he tries to stay sober to devise a scheme to avenge his friend Trippetta. It hurts to realize how the King treats his servants. For example, he knows about the effect of consuming excessive wine, yet he compels his slave to drink beyond his capacity. The King’s intention together with his ministers is to make a joke out of Hop-Frog’s deformity. His inability to see the ability in other people is what brought him down unknowingly. As mentioned earlier, Hop-Frog’s life is valueless and insignificant in the eyes of the King and no one had even bothered to ask him about his real name. The name ‘Hop-Frog’ comes from his nature of locomotion. This means that the society did not even acknowledge his existence and instead saw him as useless and an object of laughter. Irrespective of all these failures, Hip-Frog is determined to disprove their perceptions about him. Since the King is blinded by his pride and ego, he is unable to discern the scheme or trap that Hop-Frog has planned all along (Poe 1089). The King can only see a brainless slave whose identity and name are anonymous. He has given Hop-Frog all the mandates even for his security. When the King does not allow the quests to join the gatherings with their power by entrusting Hip-Frog with the entrance key, he has already fallen for the trap. Not even the King’s seven friends could conceive the motives of Hop-Frog. Even at their point of death, the King and his loyal men are yet to come into terms with what is transpiring. They “were convulsed with laughter,” (486) and oblivious of the events that heralded their death. The fate of the King and his ministers is contributed by their predisposition to jokes as well as their incapability of acknowledging the greatness of Hop-Frog.
Trippetta is another character with similar characteristics as Hop-Frog. She is also a dwarf but more beautiful and proportionate compared to Hop-frog. Her character is noted based on her relation with Hop-Fog. She is caring and protective; particularly to a person that almost resembles her. She also surpasses her transcendence of being a slave and a dwarf by intervening for his friend. She is well aware that her actions would disappoint the King but her love for Hop-Fog is evident. The King also perceives her as nobody of value. She is vulnerable to harassment and powerless to retaliate. In the American literature, Trippetta represents individuals that are subjected to hardships but lack the ability to counter the challenges. Although the King harassed Hop-Fog, he never reached a point of striking or beating him. In the society, women are seen as weak and often subjected to violence. They usually require a higher force to help them overcome the predicaments they encounter in life. In this case, Hop-Frog comes in rescue and condemns the King and his ministers to death.
The purpose of literature is to connect people with the universal truth and ideas in the society. Hop-Frog and Trippetta represents the individuals in the society that are marginalized because of their social status, health, deformities, and all aspects of despicable nature. However, such people are usually determined to transcend to the amusement of everyone.
Poe, Edgar Allan. “Hop Frog”. The Bedford Introduction to Literature Ed. Michael Meyer. 3RD Ed. Boston: St. Martin’s Press, 1996. 481-487