The Garden of Eden

Without context, a garden is simply a plot of ground where plants are cultivated. However, once this universal symbol is put into reference, the meaning is typically traced back to the well-known story in the Bible’s Genesis 2-3, the Garden of Eden. Prior to the test of Adam and Eve, that they ultimately failed, the garden represented pure perfection. Specifically, the Garden of Eden symbolized a place without sin, where there can be flawless communication between God and mortals. Evidently, perfection cannot exist eternally on earth, demonstrated as the serpent slithered into the sinless world. This introduction establishes the start of human nature’s tendency to give into temptation that ultimately results in sinning. The meaning and powerful value of what this garden represents is frequently assimilated into literature, that serves to be significant in itself.

Specifically, in Hawthorne’s The Scarlett Letter, the prominent garden scene is in the governors’ hall, juxtaposes the typical essence of gardens due to its decaying condition. Although this interpretation tends to contradict the classic biblical interpretation of purity, it is in parallel with the post-test idea of the garden of Eden, conveying that the world not being as flawless as one might imagine. To illustrate, the English-styled ornamental plants have not been rooted to serve their potential beauty, revealing that the gardener has abandoned these decorative plants. Governor Bellingham had hoped for a smooth transition into America but the connections to the Puritan society that were supposed to be abandoned, in fact were the customs the Puritans attempted to break free from, but ended up bringing to America. Despite his hope for an effortless transition, the state of the garden reflects the standards and morals of the old world, which cannot be effectively relocated to America.

Other examples include:
-The Great Gatsby: the parties are always occurring in the garden
-The Age of Innocence: Newland brings May to the Spanish garden in hopes of convincing her to be his wife quicker

The Scarlett Letter: the forest that Hester and Dimmesdale escape into.

This entry was posted in Biblical Allusions, Honors English III, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

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