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Extra resources for A Wrinkle in Time (A Lively Learning Guide by Shmoop)
In the poem, he portrays the “Reds” as even more reprehensible than the French revolutionaries of 1789: The Revolution, whose ﬁrst mode, Ere yet the maniacs overrode, Despite the passion of the dream Evinced no disrespect for God; . . But yesterday – how did they then, Billy Budd and American labor unrest 33 In new uprising of the Red, The offspring of those Tuileries men? They made a clothes-stand of the Cross Before the church; . . 25 In other words, the revolutionaries become like Lucifer’s minions, angels who revolt against God and are cast into hell.
Current events had always interested him, and in the last decades of his life, he had ample opportunity to follow them. He lived in the country’s largest city; he read its papers; he walked its streets. From 1866 to 1885, he was a district inspector of customs in New York City, working ﬁrst along the North River waterfront at 207 West Street, then at 62 Harrison Street (which was nearer his home at 104 East 26th Street), and ﬁnally at 76th Street and the East River. As he began Billy Budd early in 1886 by writing the prose headnote to the ballad “Billy in the Darbies,” labor unrest broke out near at hand.
The majority view was expressed by the owner of a Chicago clothing ﬁrm who declared, “No, I don’t consider these people to have been found guilty of any offense, but they must be hanged . . ”7 In the wake of the Haymarket bombing, New York and other cities witnessed judicial reaction. As Philip Foner has explained, “the Police and the courts were assigned an important role in the employers’ counter-offensive; police activity was matched by judicial tyranny. 8 An editorial in Harper’s Weekly entitled “The Anarchists at Chicago” rationalized the contemporary legal severity by declaring, “Anarchists who justify and counsel murder as necessary to the overthrow of society, when murder begins in consequence of that incitement, cannot be held guiltless.