Why do you think she uses so many biblical references? What is the effect of these allusions on the reader? Atwood draws upon biblical text when she mentions a quote from the Genesis 30:1-2 which states, “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” This scenario is what’s depicted throughout The Handmaid’s Tale which explains why Gilead is the way it is. The Wives, which depict Rachel, have little to no chance of bearing children for the Commanders therefore handmaids come into play, depicting Rachel’s sister.
Porter’s “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” is packed of the flashbacks and memories of Granny’s past relationships with the only people she loves even though are all dead. She reminisced about her youthful days when she was strong, independent, and with John, the man who stood her up at the altar and died when Granny was young. She still loves him and wants to see him, but “John would be looking for a young woman with the peaked Spanish comb in her hair and the painted fan,” (Porter 81) she believed he would not recognize her. Granny also lost one of her daughters, Hapsy along with her newborn who also died. When Granny brought those memories to the surface a fog of darkness, clouds reality and she gets lost and recalls that, “there was the day, the day, but a whirl of dark smoke rose and covered it, crept up and over into the bright field where everything was planted so c... ... middle of paper ... ...to be pertinacious like Sister.
The great scene of grief, in which the wild infant bore a part, had developed all her sympathies; and as her tears fell upon her father's cheek, they were the pledge that she would grow up amid human joy and sorrow, nor forever do battle with the world, but be a woman in it. Towards her mother, too, Pearl's errand as a messenger of anguish was all fulfilled.” (Hawthorne 281) That is to say, that preternatural fire Pearl has embodied since birth, fueled by shame and secrecy, has finally burned out owing to its lack of fresh fuel. This paragraph is essential to casting light upon Pearl’s other function within the novel. Reconsidering Pearl’s previous interactions with her parents, she also functions as judgment for their Puritanical, dogmatic secrecy concerning the other half of her origins. Considering Pearl’s relationship with her father before his admission, there is much denial and avoidance on Dimmesdale’s part that causes Pearl to lash out at him in kind.
The austere Puritan ways punish Hester through banishment from the community and the church, simultaneously punishing Pearl in the process. This isolation leads to an unspoken detachment and animosity between her and the other Puritan children. Thus we see how Pearl is conceived through sin, and how she suffers when her mother and the community situate this deed upon her like the scarlet letter on her mother's bosom. Hester Prynne impresses her feelings of guilt onto Pearl, whom she sees as a reminder of her sin, especially since as an infant Pearl is acutely aware of the scarlet letter "A" on her mother's chest. When still in her crib, Pearl reaches up and grasps the letter, causing "Hester Prynn [to] clutch the fatal token… so infinite was the torture inflicted by the intelligent touch of Pearl's baby-hand" (Hawthorne 88).
After failing to 'save' her children from the schoolteacher, Sethe suffered forever with guilt and regret. Guilt for having killed her "crawling already?" baby daughter, and then regret for not having succeeded in her task. It later becomes apparent that Sethe's tragic past, her chokecherry tree, was the reason why she lived a life of isolation. Beloved, who shares with Seths that one fatal moment, reacts to it in a completely different way; because of her obsessive and vengeful love, she haunts Sethe's house and fights the forces of death, only to come back in an attempt to take her mother's life.