© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Host

The Host

by Stephenie Meyer

Analysis: What's Up With the Epigraph?

Epigraphs are like little appetizers to the great entrée of a story. They illuminate important aspects of the story, and they get us headed in the right direction.

QUESTION
Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt

Where can I go
without my mount
all eager and quick
How will I know
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure
When Body my good
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door
and wind for an eye

with cloud for a shift
how will I hide?

—May Swenson

What's up with the epigraph?

The poet May Swenson has been described as a "visionary […] observer of the fragile and miraculous natural world" (source). And, guess what? Wanderer and her species are also observers of our fragile world, finding it pretty miraculous. Especially Wanda, who wants to stay here forever.

This particular poem is a love letter to a person's body. To a human, body and soul are intertwined and separable only through death. But Wanda's species sees the two as distinct entities. Bodies are like costumes they can change at will. But notice that they always seem to want a body. Even though both species view a body differently, Swenson's poem would probably evoke similar feelings of anxiety, fear, and worry in both of them. Neither human nor soul can live a full life without a body.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement