North Of Eden Theme

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North of Eden, written by Poet Laureate Rennie McQuilkin, is titled after the postlapsarian movement out of Eden by Adam and Eve. The movement out of Eden symbolizes the movement of humans from a life of comfort to one of mortal challenges. McQuilkin develops themes in his novel that mirror his depiction of the transition to a postlapsarian world. Such themes include the immortality of love and the victory of beings against chance.

The poems of North of Eden perpetuate a theme of perpetual love in nature and humans alike. In the poem “Holding On”, McQuilkin explores a relationship between a man and a car. However, the car is portrayed as a humanoid being which he loves. Even though the car is old, his love continues to be expressed for
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The poem opposite the title page is titled “After the Fall”, which depicts the postlapsarian world where man must now work to live and love. The challenge that the new world brings man is one that it is found throughout nature. Man is now faced with the probabilities of failure and defeat, as are every other animal. “Crops no longer grow themselves, nor do the ewes birth safely alone”. McQuilkin uses the biblical story of the fall from Eden to portray the point at which man became an animal, and was thus incorporated into nature and nature’s challenges. In “Because Easter”, a turtle is given to the speaker, however the turtle appears dead and disfigured, so it is thrown away. Near the end of the poem, however, the turtle is depicted as being alive and still adhering to nature’s call. “Its legs busily making for water. The thrust of its neck is easterly”. It is also important to note that the turtle is described as easterly, where Easter refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The comparison between the turtle and the biblical son of God shows that nature is always fighting to live. When related to the theme of life against all odds, the Jesus-turtle makes a superb exemplar, as it was seemingly frozen over during winter, but lives on. McQuilkin’s “Squirrels” makes use of the life’s perseverance theme. In the poem, the speaker makes obstacles for the squirrels in an attempt to stop them from eating the bird seed. However, even when he has greased and baffled the pole leading to the seed, the squirrels still find a way by means of swaying from a nearby plant. “The squirrels sway the lilac next to it for momentum, then leap to the feeder”. Even with the challenges put in place, the squirrels are able to get the food and sustain their life. Interestingly, the squirrels overcoming this challenge is compared to the speaker’s mother’s death. It would seem then,
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