Symbolism In One Foot In Eden By Ron Rash

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Ron Rash’s novel One Foot in Eden tells a story of murder in a small South Carolina town. However, this novel is more of “why-dunnit” as opposed to the much more common “who-dunnit”. Rash utilizes the viewpoints of multiple characters to tell the story; this feature aids the reader in gaining a more in-depth understanding of the novel. The setting and imagery of this novel also help shape the character’s minds and, therefore, their actions and reactions as well. One Foot in Eden is the epitome of the Southern Gothic novel: it portrays Southern culture and its shortcomings, and the effect that characters have one another. Rash makes use of symbolism in his novel, particularly religious symbolism. The use of symbolism adds another layer to already …show more content…

Place is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of, What happened? Who’s here? Who’s coming?...”(Literature). One aspect where One Foot in Eden really excels is in the use of setting as a literary element. The novel takes place in the Jocassee valley of South Carolina, but after reading the story one feels as if they have spent time in the town. The author uses detailed description to help the reader really visualize the setting. In the first chapter of the novel, told from the sheriff's perspective, the reader is told where the name Jocassee comes from and that is a Cherokee word meaning "valley of the lost." This adds a sense of irony since the story begins with a search for the body of local criminal, Holland Winchester. …show more content…

Consequently, One Foot in Eden is filled with biblical allusions, names, and references (Shurbutt). The most obvious biblical allusion is, of course, in the title One Foot in Eden by just barely being in the garden but more on the side of sin which we see many examples of throughout the novel. In the Old Testament of the Bible, God sends a great flood to rid the world of sin which is paralleled in the novel as Carolina Power Company building a dam which will cause the area to flood. Especially the dynamic between Amy and Holland is where the reader will understand many religious allusions. Amy uses bathing as her means at seducing Holland which is similar to the Biblical story of King David and Bathsheba. King David sees a lady bathing and orders her to come to him despite her being married, and later Bathsheba conceives King David’s son, very similar to Amy and Holland. Rash’s Isaac is a dark twist on the Biblical tale of a child longed for. In the Hebrew Bible in book of Genesis, Abraham and Sarah did not think they could have children, so it was Sarah’s idea for her servant, Hagar, to become impregnated by Abraham so he could father sons. They were successful. Later on when Abraham and Sarah have their own child, he is called Isaac, just as the boy in Rash’s story. The barbed wire that Billy put

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