When an unnamed narrator opens his door to a lightning-rod salesman, the two become involved in a philosophical discussion about faith and the will of God. The salesman claims that the copper rod will protect its owner from the very lightning that the narrator believes to be an act of God. As they argue, and the narrator laughs off the explanations, the salesman becomes increasingly and violently angry.
The allegorical nature of Herman Melville’s tale explores the ideas of good and evil, and faith in God before faith in fear. This story was included as part of Melville’s collection The Piazza Tales.
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