What is the theme of "The Ballad of Father Gilligan"?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that the theme of the poem is the idea that God cares about the least members of his creation.  In the Bible it talks about how God knows if even one sparrow dies.  This poem's theme is the same as the idea that is in that quote.

In this poem, Father Gilligan is worn out emotionally and physically.  So when he tries to pray for the "poor man" who sent for him, he falls asleep.

When he wakes up the next morning very early, he goes to the poor man's house and finds that an angel in his own form had already been there.  The angel helped the man die happy.

Gilligan says this shows that God cares even for him and the poor man and that is the theme of the poem.

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