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Biblical Allusions in Modern Literature

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Brooke Merlene

on 17 February 2015

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Transcript of Biblical Allusions in Modern Literature

Biblical Allusions in Modern Literature
Why do author's use Biblical allusions?
Artists and writers use allusions to create meaning. Comparisons (metaphors, similes, analogies) help the reader or relate to the material.
1st Example- Scarlet Ibis
"Everybody thought he was going to die-everybody except Aunt Nicey, who had delivered him. She said he would live because he was born in a caul,3 and cauls were made from Jesus' nightgown."
(page 1)
Connecting Scarlet Ibis through the bible.
Explanation #1
In the short story, the Scarlet Ibis, Doodle is born very sickly. When Doodle is born, his Aunt Nicey is only person who believes he'll make it. Her reasons for believing this are interesting. She's the story's most overtly religious character. It's hard to tell how Brother feels about her, though we think he takes comfort in her suggestion that Doodle is connected through his caul with "Jesus' nightgown." By this biblical allusion, Aunt Nicey believes that those born with physical problems are the ones blessed by the eyes of God.
Significance #1
In this allusion, Aunt Nicey is using Jesus as a reference from turning a situation that may be very negative to many people, to something as a blessing through her faith and beliefs.
Romans 10:10 connects to Aunt Nicey's faith in the story concerning Doodle.

Biblical Allusion #2
"Now, there were two possessions of the James
Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy. " (pages 1 and 2)


King Solomon
Explanation #2

The Magi are said to be the kings and brought Jesus three expensive gifts. In the story Jim and Della are both broke but need to give one another gifts for Christmas. So they both sell their most prized possessions for money. By bringing up King Solomon O Henry creates a contrast between their riches and the poverty Jim and Della are facing.
Connecting Gift of the Magi to the Bible
King Solomon:
1 Kings 10: King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire which she requested, besides what he gave her according to his royal bounty. Then she turned and went to her own land together with her servants.

The Gift of the Magi
Significance #2
In the story, The Gift of the Magi, O Henry uses biblical allusion referring to King Solomon to show the reader what it means truly to have wealth. Not exactly meaning riches of money, but in the story Jim and Della are as rich as King Solomon because they love each other.
Huckleberry Fin #3
"A body would a thought he was Adam, he was just all mud."
Explanation #3
In the story, Huckleberry Fin, this shows that Huck was in a society that revolved heavily around religion, whether he accepted it himself or not. With Huck's beliefs, it shows that Huck has either adapted them for himself or it possibly shows that he finds out the truth in religion but not the myths and society who follows them. This is one of the main inner conflicts that Huck must tackle alone.

Connecting Huckleberry Fin to the bible
In Genesis 2:5
Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams[b] came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Significance #3
This is just one example of this is when Huck is describing his father after coming home from laying drunk in a gutter the entire night before.
Twain uses biblical allusion in order for the reader to understand his conflict concerning the religion he was surrounded by. By using this allusion, it allowed the reader to actually reevaluate Huck's experiences.
Sources Used
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+2%3A4-3%3A24&version=NIV
http://www.gradesaver.com/the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn/q-and-a/huck-says-a-body-would-a-thought-he-was-adamhe-was-just-all-mud-explain-what-huck-mean-128281
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