In the Bible there are various motifs that represent several important themes in the text. One significant motif in this work is the garden, signifying how appearances can be deceiving. Demonstrating the aforementioned idea, the Bible portrays how God warns Adam and Eve to not eat from one tree in the Garden of Eden, as further depicted in David Helling’s video The Fall of Man. Nonetheless, Eve is tempted by the beauty of the tree, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat,” (King James Bible, Genesis. 3-6). However, although the tree seems rich and fruitful, it is marked by evil. Adam and Eve mistakenly trust the exterior of the garden, believing the beauty can only represent good. Similarly, in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby’s neighbors and acquaintances make the same mistake. They view his decadent garden, where he hosts many parties, as confirmation that Gatsby is a successful, content person. Nevertheless, Gatsby’s public image is simply a façade. Nick Carraway, his neighbor, describes how “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among whisperings and the champagne and the stars,” (chapter three). Although one might see Gatsby hosting many gatherings in his garden and believe that he is a very social, satisfied man with much success, he is not. In his “blue gardens,” Gatsby is very lonely and isolated. Furthermore, different from what everyone believes, he comes from a humble background where his family was farmers, similar to how Adam is the first farmer on earth. The appearance of his lavish parties in his gardens mislead people to trust that Gatsby is man different from who he is truly. Moreover, in the novel The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Archer similarly proves that appearances can be deceiving while talking to May in a garden. Fearing his secret desire to be with Ellen Olenska, he tries to convince May to have their wedding sooner. However, Archer appears to simply be excited to have May as his wife. As his secret connection with another woman grows, “His only hope was to plead with May, and on the day before his departure he walked with her to the ruinous garden of the Spanish Mission. The background lent itself to allusions to European scenes” (chapter 16). In the artistic, scenic garden, Archer appears to be longing to get married to his fiancé sooner out of love. However, he truly wants to move the wedding date earlier so that he has less time to be tempted by the one woman he is truly captivated by, Ellen. All in all, as presented in the Bible as a significant motif, in many literary works, gardens represent how appearances are misleading and cannot always be trusted. As a result, readers become very engaged when characters encounter something or someone seeming far too convenient and beneficial to be true. Moreover, when the audience knows that the object of the character’s desire is simply an extravagant façade but the character does not know, it creates dramatic irony that further intrigues the readers to discover the consequences of the character’s actions.
The Fall of Man