The Job of a Prophet: Biblical Allusions in American Literature

Leonardo Da Vinci's painting "The Last Supper"

Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting “The Last Supper”

Biblical allusions show up constantly in classic American literature. For example, the story of the last supper contains the popular motif of Jesus as a prophet. A prophet in literature can be someone who chooses not to conform to societal norms and who tries to show others that societal standards are wrong. The characters that symbolize society’s demand for the norms to be obeyed often reject this prophet. In “The Awakening” Edna Pontellier shows these aforementioned characteristics of a literary prophet. Her actions throughout Kate Chopin’s novel are those of a nonconformist. She does not accept the conventional role of a woman during this time period. She is not the perfect mother or wife and this sends a message to the reader that society is flawed. Edna conveys this lesson in a similar way to a prophet. Edna sheds light on women’s issues in society at the time in a similar way to Christ when he prophesizes that Judas will betray him “before the cock crows twice” (Mark 14). This biblical motif shows up in other works of merit as well such as “The Scarlet Letter”, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, and “The Age of Innocence”.

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One Response to The Job of a Prophet: Biblical Allusions in American Literature

  1. 16msd says:

    Your analysis of what a prophet is in literature was well done. I liked both how you explained it and how you chose Edna, not someone you immediately think of, as your example. I am however a little confused latter on in this post. How does Edna’s illumination of women’s issues compare to Jesus prophesizing that he will be betrayed by Judas. Maybe if you talked abou how both of their societies rejected them your point would be more clear.

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