I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth–
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth–
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.
What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?–
If design govern in a thing so small.
The persona that immediately came to me after reading Robert Frost’s “Design” was a character from Sarah J. Maas’s YA fantasy series, “Throne of Glass.” The main character, Celaena, was orphaned at a young age and raised by a guild of harsh assassins. She grows up to be the city’s most deadly killer, but she is young and pretty, and people are unlikely to suspect her as a murderer. This reminded me of the spider that Frost describes in his poem. The use of the color white to portray innocence, and the inclusion of the heal-all plant make the spider seem pure and elegant, unable to hurt. Frost contrasts this beauty and purity, much like Celaena’s character, with an ability to be lethal. Words like “death”, “blight”, and “darkness” play against the peaceful nature of the scene. I also liked the connection that the spider is not killing the moth out of malice, but rather because it needs to survive. This is much like Celaena’s character in that she was raised by brutal assassins, and had to learn to fight and kill out of a need for survival.
Since Celaena is fictional, and there isn’t a film adaptation, I attached the cover artwork for the first book in the series.