The Ten Commandments and One More

The Ten Commandments can be seen as a covenant with God and as rules for life. In this bible story, they were able to have a “covenant with God” similarly as Hester’s town did in Massachusetts in The Scarlet Letter. The Ten Commandments can be seen as God’s everlasting covenant. This painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, depicts Moses holding the tablets. This painting is illustrating the Commandments on the tablet, which again, can be seen as covenants of God. This is considered one of the most authentically Jewish pieces of art ever created. This is interesting because even though the specific bible stories I am speaking about are from the Bible, many stories overlap and this illuminates the idea that religion is different, but also very similar.

One book that is Romanticism is The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The setting is in a New England Puritan town and the Puritans had a covenant with God about their New World adventure. Also, in their new town, they are finally able to practice religion freely. With this in mind, Hester’s branding of an A, because of their strict religious beliefs, should have been no surprise. Through the covenant in their town with god, Adultery was a major sin; therefore when Hester was found guilty of it, she was cast as an outsider. The rumored meteor that fell in the shape of a letter “A”, could be considered as God’s covenant. In many of the townspeople’s eyes, it is a reminded and a promise from God that Winthrop is going to heaven and that the “A” stands for Angel. In Dimmesdale’s eyes, he sees it as his own personal “A” for adultery just as Hester has. Either way, although there are many interpretations, the “A” can be seen as a sign and covenant from God promising that Winthrop will be taken care of and is going to heaven, or a covenant that yes, Dimmesdale did do something wrong and there are consequences.

Another book is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. In this Realism book, one passage that clearly stands out is when Tom says, “Now, we’ll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer’s Gang. Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood”. This quote illustrates the idea that they want people to swear their loyalty to each other, even if that means offering their own blood as promise. With this in mind, Tom and Huck see a need for a covenant in their friendship. They make a covenant together that they’ll always be there for each other. This relates back to both the Ten Commandments and The Scarlet Letter, where they both have “covenants” with god. In this instance, they have a covenant among each other.

Lastly, in The Great Gatsby, a modernism novel, the main characters consistently break the Ten Commandments. Going along with the Modernism of the book, meaning a concise break from the usual and common writing. This is ironic because The Great Gatsby has thematic ideas of each character going against what religion has taught the, which was a big part of the American Dream back then. For instance, the first commandment says that no one should have any other god or someone they worship except for God himself. This could be considered broken by Gatsby because he idolizes and worships Daisy tremendously. Their lacking the covenant that most have with God when they follow the Ten Commandments and Christianity.

Connecting this back to the Bible, Noah’s Ark also has a God’s covenant in it. The Rainbow can be seen as God’s covenant. When they finally came to land, God put a rainbow in the sky as a sign of God’s covenant that he will never use flooding again to cleanse the Earth (destroy mankind). Further, God continues to make covenants with men including Abram, Moses, David, and many others. God’s covenants are very forthcoming through out the Bible, whether it be a sign such as the rainbow or it be explicitly said that there is a covenant.


This entry was posted in AP Mindset, Biblical Allusions 2018. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Ten Commandments and One More

  1. 19msd says:

    This is a very good explication of the Ten Commandments. Are there two other works that go along with modernism and realism? Other than that, I loved how you incorporated the painting into your analysis. If you include the other two like you did with the Scarlet Letter, then this will be a very good blog post.

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