This exercise was inspired by an assignment from a class I took at Webster the Spring of 2008. The class was titled “Point of View.” The assignment was to rewrite Genesis from the point of view of Adam, Eve, God or Satan/the serpent, and to experiment with how the story changed based on who was telling it.
With this post I’ve taken the exercise a little farther. As well as experimenting with changes in the story of Genesis, I also wanted to experiment with voice, tone, and character expression. In addition to this, I’ve also re-written the story using the points of view from the four characters mentioned earlier. Each character will have his or her own separate post. At the end of the post, I’ll clarify who it was talking, but hopefully by then it should be obvious.
On a side note, I’m aware that Genesis is a religious story, and I don’t mean for these exercises to express any viewpoints on God, religion, etc. This is just an experiment with point of view, character, and voice; and should only be viewed as such.
I was the king of the world, in the literal sense. The world was different than it is now. It was smaller, nicer. Everything, save the Creator, was under me. All the plants, the fish, the serpents, the mammals, the woman; Eve, she was under me. The way she used to look at me, that love, that adoration . . . I was her sun, her moon, her Earth, her everything, and she loved me. My third son, he likes to criticize our Creator—said it’s wrong to demand love and adoration. Though I punished him for saying such things, I understand why he says them. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know what it is to have that implicit love, that implicit obedience. I don’t claim to understand the awesomeness of that which is our Creator, but—if our worship of Him is even half of what Eve’s worship was to me—I understand why he demands it.
That’s why I lost it; Eve, her worship, and my rule over the small sum of the world that was Eden. I loved it so much, having her under me, that I began loving that authority more than her. That’s what caused the fall. It makes me mad. Eve played her part, but she’ll get the brunt of the blame—not me or the serpent. Every daughter after her will get punished because of it, something they never did and something that Eve didn’t cause. It wasn’t her fault. It was mine. Every son after me will be cursed to the temptation of repeating my mistake—and calling it right, or natural order. If that’s what natural order is, it’s wrong.
We used to be one, Eve and me—one sexless, loveless entity. We were like the Creator, as in His image. A constant state of inner opposition was our existence. We were called Adam, and we were lonely. When I remember that loneliness—even after all I’ve been through since—I can’t help but shudder. The Creator knew that loneliness—he knows it every moment, in every space. My heart weeps for Him. He wept for us in our single existence as Adam—us and our loneliness. He did not make another Adam, for that other would’ve simply shared the companionship of loneliness. When Eve and I were one, we were not made to love. In His wisdom, He ripped us in half—and then there were two of us: me and Eve.
I’ve no idea why I retained the title of Adam, and why Eve was called Eve. The Creator split us by qualities, and called them male and female. The ambition, the sternness, the strength; that’s male, that’s what stayed Adam. That is me. The placidness, the affection, the submissiveness; that was to be female, that’s Eve. If forced to say why the Creator chose me and my qualities to be the leader, the base—to stay Adam—I would say it’s because those are the qualities He admires in Himself. Those traits are those which He feels make him a God—everything else is lesser. Perhaps He’s right.
I liked staying Adam, and Eve bore me no resentment for being Eve. She never has—probably she never will. The resentment she holds now comes from somewhere else. As said, I was her everything. She trusted me implicitly. When the angels would sing me messages from the Creator, or when the Creator himself would come, Eve would do as told and leave me to hear the verses alone. She let me hold the keys. I could’ve lied to her at any moment—I never did. It never occurred to me, until that fateful day.
I was listening to the instructions of the angel Raphael. The angel warned us to stay away from the forbidden fruit—the apples which grew on the tree of knowledge. After the message had been conveyed, I said my goodbyes to the angel and went to find Eve.
When I did find her, my heart cried out—first in agony, and then rage. The ringing of her laughter mixing with the gentle splashes of the water, the way her cheeks flushed, the sunlight that gleamed off her skin and hair . . . it broke my heart. It was at that moment we were damned. Eve was swimming. She was happy. She was happy—without me.
Immediately, I ordered her to leave the stream. Eve rushed to the shore, concern dripping off her face. She couldn’t fathom that the darkness in my eyes was directed at her. Instead of answering when she asked what was wrong, I said “What were you doing?”
“I was swimming, Adam.”
“Why were you swimming?”
Eve blinked, and began to laugh as she answered. “Because I like to swim. The water is one of the most delightful things the Creator has given us. Why should I not enjoy it?”
“Do not question me.” I turned away, so vain and jealous. Eve, so loving, followed me.
“I did not mean to question you, husband. Only to understand.”
I slapped her. It wasn’t hard, or as hard as it could have been. It was enough to frighten her. It frightened me, and sickened me. I didn’t show it. “There is no reason for you to understand. You need only obey.” I couldn’t quite comprehend why it was wrong—the comprehension came with the apple—but even in ignorance I knew I’d done something irrevocable. I’ve never hit Eve since. I never will. Knowing that I could’ve done something like that is alone haunting enough. To know that act damned us all is what keeps me up at night.
While Eve neither said nor did anything which might have contradicted my demand for obedience, she never gave her acquiescence to that. Men suppress women with strength, as I learned at that moment. Women use something else against men, which Eve learned soon after.
Paranoia was a creation of man—the apples of knowledge have no part in that vice. From the moment I hit Eve, and from the moment she did not admit my superiority, I became afflicted with paranoia. I would not let her leave my side. I told her that it was to protect her, to make sure she did not succumb to the evils of the tree. I told her that’s what the Creator wanted. Perhaps I’d even convinced myself of that. The paranoia spread Eve, and grew into other vices: superstition and doubt. She suspected, rightfully, that I was not being honest with her. She began to doubt my sanction as her master.
I was the one who afflicted her with this. I drove her to desperation, to look to anything that could make us whole again. I drove her to those apples. What choice did she have? What else could she have done? She had no where to go—no one to go to. Was she to stop being my wife, that she might instead be my slave, or still worse, my pet? No. She did what was necessary to save our matrimony—at the sacrifice of our paradise. At the sacrifice of our souls. I don’t blame her—I would’ve done the same. She doesn’t regret it for a second.
The great Creator is wrong. He sought to divide us by qualities. To tear from me what He saw as shortcomings, as He could not tear those shortcomings from Himself. He was wrong. These things cannot be divided. I don’t know which characteristics—those thought of men or those thought of women—would be better. I know only they are a lie. Eve, despite what the Creator tried to make her, was ambitious trying to salvage our marriage. She showed great strength in her defiance of the Creator. As for myself, I bent to my own fears. I obeyed what was asked of me without question. The only thing that makes a man a man and a woman a woman is their physique. Otherwise, we’re the same as before we were ripped: a constant force of opposition within one entity. I am this, still. As is Eve. As are our children. As everyone henceforth shall be, until Kingdom Come. Even the great Creator cannot eradicate the paradox that is self-awareness.
For those of you who might not be sure, this is Adam.