THE DICHOTOMY OF EVE: ‘She for God in Her’

Amy Johnson

In re-writing the Genesis creation story, Johnson looks to Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ to uncover the constraints Christian theology has placed on women, and literature, over time. She breaks through these patriarchal bonds with her depiction of Eve, in a lucid and engaging narrative that shows the reality of womanhood.


She for God in Her


                  I was born of bone. Bone as my father, bone as my mother. They said Adam dreamed peacefully and God took his left rib and fashioned it into me. He felt no pain, said the angels, Do you know of pain, Eve?

                  I was awake when I was made. I could feel phantom fingers, turning and turning me like a robin’s egg between huge palms. He spun spider silk flesh and coiled me into a new creature, ribbons of tangled hair and a brain and a heart that throbbed inside me, ruby bright and warm. He carved me into an animal and I could feel strings of skin pulled taut over muscle, nails growing in layers, pulps and strips and organs carefully placed around each other under the cage of my ribs. Tendons twitched and the body replied and last of all He made my mouth, one smudged thumb print along my face, the slit of a nail pressed deeper into the clay of me. Only then could I scream and tear my newly formed fingers against this being. Only then did he seem to notice my consciousness and place some colossal kiss to my brow to send me off to sleep. Sometimes I touch the place where that bone should be, left ribcage four slots down. I know it is that one because when I look at Adam it pulses and bites. Adam thinks I touch it for sentimental reasons. He thinks my twinges are happiness and my pain my thanks to him. He thinks I owe him smiles when I feel it jutting inside of me.

                  I watch the tiger pad across the little grove we had settled in for night to flop lazily on his haunches. These creatures follow us as if we are their creators, these mountains of bone and fur and fang. Always fearsome, always bold and proud and dangerous. I see what they do to other animals, the weak ones with long legs meant for running, with antlers and hooves and dewy eyes. Our creatures are fierce and wild and they barter with the earth in blood and pearly marrow. I have watched our creatures fold the skin from their kill’s belly and chew on slick red entrails, stream coiling up around their muzzles like a prayer. They flex their claws and grumble and hiss and press their domed heads against our bellies so that we may scratch the silk between their ears. They are our protectors I think and the angels often use them as mouths to say their piece.

                  They come as black smoke and the smell of ozone and rain dripping from the bower trees and the creatures will still themselves and open their yawning maws full of teeth and tongue and scraps of flesh. Their eyes will be angel eyes, white as the inside of a pear, their sombre faces retracting from their snarls. They will cease to be our barely tamed creatures of meat and supple muscle and become something altogether holy. Adam delights in their coming, fawns about their feet and tangles his fingers into Raphael’s neck fur with a delighted smile. I find their eyes disconcerting, so very different from the jewelled greens and blues of my creatures, as white and flat as the dead.

                  Our home is wilderness. If I were to walk far enough I would reach new wilderness, Gabriel once told me. Places as hot as blood and scorching to the touch, places barren and empty. Places scattered with the bones of starved creatures, their skins rotting into sand and dirt. Places colder than the rivers, where water goes hard and the snow bears roar out their loneliness against the greying seas. But you could never walk that far, Gabriel had said, your home is here. Here is humid and slicks up with sweat. The trees grow in dense clumps, tall enough to tickle God, their branches creating a spider web canopy, thick arms coiling around each other in a labyrinth of wood and green. Sunlight streams through thin slits like ladders and monkeys and wide-eyed rodents screech and hoot playfully as we pass. The air is thick and heavy with the scents of a thousand plants, a million creatures, dirt and leaves mashed into a thick paste on the ground. Birds scatter and explode in a thousand colours as we move, their eyes like black beetles in their skull. I like the hawks best, with their coppery talons and arching wings and the way their stare seems to cut into the very bones of you.

                  I am walking with my leopard one morning when the sharp scent of ozone and smoke hits me, sending my tongue tingling. I look at her and find those dead white eyes, her muzzle lax, heavy head bowed towards the earth. It is Gabriel, I can tell by the twitch of shoulder bones, the way the beast jerks her spine as if settling something heavy about her. Gabriel’s true form is said to be the most terrifying and the weight must be colossal to my poor creature. Already her legs tremble and I imagine the feel of bone and flesh compacting under the bulk of such a creation, of such power vacuumed into such a tiny skin. She will need rest and water after this.        

                  Eve, comes a voice. They do not use the mouths of beasts and the sound seems to come from deep inside your own mind, a place unearthed and undiscovered. There is evil abroad this day. You should not walk alone.

                  “I had company until you shimmied your way inside her,” I say, moving to perch on a rock. The moss clings to my thighs and I watch as Gabriel blinks those fleshy white eyes, so slowly you would think the action had never been done before. There are angels more accustomed to dealing with us and Gabriel is not one of them. “You know you hurt them when you do that.”

                  That cannot be helped. If I were to appear in my –

                  “I’d burn up and boil in my skin, I know. What is this evil, then?”


                  The evil turns out to look a lot like me. A sad lump of skin and bones, a mournful creature covered in scratches and oozing a trail of blood, his legs and hips and back in tattered ribbons. He is of Adam’s kind, long and slender and more muscle than fat, his torso lean and taut, black hair trailing from naval to nipple. Sweat drips from him and his skin is sickly pale and sallow, grey tinged where we are pink and soft. He shivers as the fawns do, as the creatures my beasts take down do just before their ends. He is sprawled against the rocks, the slither of a stream curling about his calves, lapping and licking and soothing. I have seen this in animals before, and this one is near to death.

                  He brings sickness, Gabriel says, the leopard baring thick yellow fangs. We must dispose of him.

                  “I think not,” I snap, shifting closer to him. I have not seen another one of our kind since my birth into this paradise. His features are different from Adam, his face tighter and harsh, lips pulled into a kind of constant snarl. Adam is plump and pink and golden and I don’t think he has it in him to frown. I move to touch, to smooth a curl of black hair from his face but Gabriel hisses wildly before I can.

                  He is not your kind, he is demonic, a devil, a creature of waste, he has crawled up from the pit we threw him in for disobedience. He is wrong, Eve, an abomination to God. He wears a cloak of skin the same as your kind, but it is only to deceive you. We must kill him.

                  I know of these abominations of the Lord. Playthings he made before our birth and grew bored with. The angels who rebelled, the devils they became. Adam whispered reverently of their misdeeds, his face slack with horror, as if the very idea of discontent with God was enough to set a chill in his bones.

                  “He’s hurt, something has been at him,” I press my finger to a cut on his abdomen and watch, fascinated, as thick blood oozes out onto my knuckles. The creature gasps and twitches and I snatch my hand back, horrified, his eyes slitting open just for a moment before he falls back into unconsciousness. “It looks like an animal attack.” Or angel, I think, an angel in possession of one of my animals. A whole host, perhaps, as some of the cuts are longer, deeper and more precise than the others. I press my palm to his damp forehead and feel him scorch my skin.

                  I will finish him, move away, Eve. I will try to make it quick.

                  “I don’t want you to,” I say, standing up. My leopard is a lithe creature, all sinewy muscles and sleek fur; she could easily take me to the ground and rip out my throat. I imagine her tongue lapping at the wound, my blood smeared across her jaw, the life drained from me and into her. “He looks as if he won’t make it anyway. He’s bleeding too much and too fast and he’s burning. Only the dying burn.”

                  Let me end his suffering.

                  “I said no!” I pick up a rock and fling it at the angel’s paws where it explodes in a shower of dirt and stone.

                  There’s a horrible cracking noise, the sound of a jaw being stretched too wide and the scent of storms hits the back of my throat and I know the angel has gone. The leopard slouches forwards and huffs, teeth bared fiercely, her nose beading ruby red before droplets of blood begin to fall. They always bleed when the seraphim leave, always, it is as if they force their way out, as if they are too big to be contained and rip their way into the atmosphere.

                  I look back to the man-creature and sigh. I begin to mop away blood and tissue, using moss to soak up sweat and slickness. I dry him, remove his legs from the stream, trickle water between his lips. He is not likely to last the night I think, so I stand and take one last look at him. He is tall, taller than Adam, taller than anything, his thighs muscular and thick, his arms much the same. Around his wrists are two dark rings, black stone that digs deep into his flesh, rubbing raw at his skin. When I try to touch them they burn. God’s work, no doubt, a sign to show his bondage.                

                  “Whatever did you do to earn yourself the position of slavery?” I mumble, trailing my fingers down his throat. “I ought to kill you, it would be a mercy. You’re riddled with fever and you smell sweet with sickness. I ought to end it and send you back to your Hell. Perhaps I’d be rewarded for it. Perhaps Gabriel will tell me my father approves and loves me. He did that once, when I was born. Except all I can remember is the feel of his fingers, making me and shaping me, his amusement when he saw I was awake. All I can remember is the bruise his kiss left behind.”

                  I cover him in leaves and pillow his head, praying he stays warm enough to last the night. If I could I would stay with him, press myself against him like the animals do to keep him safe, guard him from the night. If I could I would protect him. I stroke the new creature’s head before standing. “Good luck.”

                  I leave with my leopard limping in tow, her arched tail whipping the backs of my thighs, her steady footfalls sounding in time with my heartbeat.


                  Adam is waiting for me when I return.

                  My plump-faced husband, his cheeks rosy, lips slick with fruit juices, our creatures surrounding him like some hairy host of guards. I watch the leopard trot away and settle herself in the shade. My hands are still stained with blood, crusting now like the rust on iron. I flake it off between my fingers and watch it flutter to the ground like the broken wings of insects.

                  “You’ve been gone long today,” Adam says, rising to meet me. He kisses me softly, a whisper against my lips as his hands reach out and curl around my waist. His breath tastes like sweet fruits and something metallic, something almost holy. I pull away, and his fingers leave a trail of slickness across my belly.

                  “I felt like exploring,” I say, watching him. He smiles dolefully, eyes crinkling kindly, his long arms reaching up to ruffle at his hair.

                  I don’t love him. I remember the moment we first made love, his mouth pressed open against my throat as he hissed and grunted against my skin. I remember the feel of him, hot and damp, pressing all around me, fingers coiled against my thighs, raking nails digging into my skin. He’s been without for so long, I thought sadly, my arms wrapping around his shoulders to tug him closer. He did not last long inside me, a few thrusts and he was through, a raggedly little mewl spilling out from between his lips. I felt nothing. The stirring I felt at first, when his hands cupped my breasts, slid along my belly and up my throat, it died the moment we became one flesh. I wondered if I was supposed to feel warmth, anger, shame, something. Instead he rolled from me and smiled that languid smile and I felt the dampness between my legs cooling.

                  I have tried to love him. The nights we spend huddled together, our skin warming each other, his fingers trailing down each curve and knotted slope, entwined like rock and root. I let him kiss each secret place of me, each nook and hollow, each finger pad, knuckle, wrist and shoulder bone. In return I kiss him too, I hold him and he explores me in an awed way, like he is looking at something holy, like he is holding the embodiment of a prayer, each word coiled into an inch of flesh. Each night he nuzzles his face to my neck and each night I sigh and pretend it is with love.  I wish I loved him, perhaps things would be different if I truly loved him, body and soul. He is worthy of love, but when I find him praying and laughing with the angels something like revulsion crawls through my guts.

                  “I don’t like it when you’re away from me,” Adam mumbles, leaning back to look at me. “It makes me wonder what you do by yourself, alone in the forests.”

                  “I’m not alone,” no, never alone, God would not allow that. “The animals follow, often as not. And I like being alone. I like the feeling.”

                  Adam frowns and turns away. That night he holds me as the dark creeps in closer and I breathe in the scents of eventide. Night larks and insects that burn like stars chirrup in the shadows and the air is heavy with blossom and moisture. I wonder how the man-creature is coping, with his long bloodied body wrapped in moss and leaves. He is probably dead, I think. Dead and left for the animals to gnaw on, their snouts pressing deeper into the cavern of his belly, soft, rich entrails coiling from him like lines of scripture. Perhaps I should have let Gabriel kill him, one swift bite to the throat, the draining of life. Perhaps I should’ve done him that small mercy, even though he was a demon, an abomination. Like me.

                  When Adam finally drifts I listen to his head beat a gentle rhythm, reliable, constant, a song in which to root me. Around us our beasts join us in our slumber, their warm flanks soft and pillowed, and their hot breath reeking with the stench of death.


                  I wake up with claws embedded in my thigh. The wolf is above me, lips bared, saliva dripping from her jaws in thick strings, her throat engorged as her hackles rise and a growl rips its way from inside her. Her eyes are dead white, pupils lost in the fog of the holy and the tang of ozone and storms and smoke wraps itself around me, concealing the stink of flesh clinging to her teeth. Not my creature, not my natural beasts, something not so, something wrong.

                  Your delinquency has been noted. That is the voice of Michael, the highest angel, and it claws its way into my skull, all barbed righteousness and glory. This angel is our punisher, our protector, the hand of God. Michael does not come to our garden often without leaving destruction behind - trees bursting into flames, animals turning to dust, water boiling in its spring.

                  The wolf snarls and snaps and digs her paws deeper into my thigh, slitting the flesh enough for bubbles of my blood to pool against her pads. I gasp and twist my hips, my fingers scrambling against rocks and moss, the sweat of the earth turning my body slick and slimy. I turn and the wolf latches her jaw around my arm, twisting me back. I scream this time, and a fine pink thread of flesh is left dangling from her maw.

                  You’re to be punished. Tell me where Satan is and I will spare Adam.

                  “He didn’t do anything!” I hiss, gripping the creature’s ankle. “Neither did I!”

                  You’re to be punished. Tell me where Satan is and I will spare Adam.

                  There’s another snap and the wound on my arm splits and grows and my blood dribbles between the ridges of my knuckles, hot and cloying. I cry out as the wolf rears back, her mouth opening to show her rolling tongue, ears plastered to her skull. I can feel the heat of her, heat I had relished before, wriggling against her belly and pressing my face against her fur. I hiss and scream and every noise I make echoes through the garden, phantom cries of women all around me, punished for disobeying. I think of my other creatures, where are they? Should they not protect me from this? I think of them hunting, their stomachs pressed close to the ground, their eyes gleaming as they spot their prey. They fight each other too, they seem to enjoy it, their tails puffed, snarling and howling as they tear at each other’s throats. They would not lie on their backs screaming for help. They would not stand for this.

                  You’re to be punished. Tell me where –

                  I grab a rock as big as my fist and slam it against the wolf’s head, grunting as she rips her claws through my thigh as she veers away. She whines and whimpers, tongue lolling, her eye hidden behind a mar of flesh and ragged skin. There’s a crack and she shudders and Michael is gone, the air quaking with the weight of angelic presence, a trail of fire erupting to our left. Destruction, always, the higher the power the more they destroy. I roll onto my knees and pant against the floor, my arm burning, hot waves of pain lancing its way to the bone. Suddenly she is there, the wolf, her hot tongue lapping at my wounds, rough as wood bark and as warm as a fresh kill. She drinks my blood and cleans me and I use my fingers to pick the wasted remains of her ear, use wet moss to clean her eye. Her blood tastes fresh and wonderful when I lick it.

                  “You’re more beast than angel,” a voice says. I look up and find the man-creature, Satan, watching me closely. I bare my teeth and snarl and the wolf raises her hackles once more. “I’m not going to hurt you. I couldn’t.”

                  There’s still blood dripping from him and patches of moss cling to his body where I left them, matted and dried with filth. Awake, he is formidable, tall and lithe, his eyes the colour of open sky. His skin is pallid, pale and sickly and I can see him swaying on his feet, his limbs trembling. Not dead yet, I think, but dying, oh yes. I sit back when I realise he could not harm me, even if he tried. I would make short work with him, bludgeon him with rocks until his skull caved, let my wolf have his flesh.

                  “What do you want?” I snap. “Where is Adam?”

                  “Pleading for forgiveness with our father, no doubt,” Satan looks grimly about him and slips gracelessly to the floor, limbs sprawling, grunting in pain. “I have to admit, Eve, you’ve ruined my plans brilliantly.”

                  “Plans?” I say, eyeing him with mistrust, “I want nothing to do with your plans. I don’t even know what you are.”

                  “Your angel wasn’t lying. I’m a demon, a piece of grit in the flesh of the holy host, a mar on Heaven. They call me the devil in my kingdom below the rock.”

                  “You mean your prison,” I grin cruelly and watch him flinch. “I know you, they’ve told us of your fall.” They told us as a warning, a few weeks after I was born. Raphael sternly told us what the price of disobedience is and described Hell in great detail. The molten rock, the pain, the ice and demon fire, all made to house an angel and his rag-tag group of rebels. Adam gasped and had tears in his eyes, the thought of someone going against God so abhorrent to him he couldn’t contain his sadness. I knew the story for what it was though and that night I knew paradise was a different kind of prison from Hell, a prison for the wicked who has not yet sinned. Our sins are predetermined, just as Satan’s were, God made us with the genetic code to sin. He wanted us to.

                  “I came here to kill you,” the creature says, watching me. “Both of you, actually, but look at me now. The greatest warrior of Hell dying next to my quarry.”

                  “I shall weep for you when you die,” I sneer, moving slowly to gather moss to wrap around my oozing arm. “I have to find Adam; I think this might be the end for me.”

                  “For us both, I think,” he murmurs, looking up mournfully. “I give in, father.”

                  I look at him carefully. I think of all the times Adam has had me, the way it would hurt because nothing stirred within me. I imagine what it would be like with this creature and the flames lap at my insides, tightening and burning muscles and guts. An old, familiar sensation crawls up my spine and I imagine him beneath me, helpless and bucking, staring up at me with beseeching eyes. I would make him fall again and again, I would make him die a million times beneath my fingers. He catches my eye suddenly, as if he heard my thoughts. “You can have me, if you like,” he whispers, his fingers twitching against his thighs. “It would help you fall too.”

                  There’s no stirring in him, no hardness, no blood rush. He’s dying.

                  “If I am to fall, I will do it on my own terms.”

                  I leave him there to die, talking to a God who would not listen.


                    There is a tree deep in our garden that Adam calls the Heart. It holds fruit forbidden to us, strange fruit, round like melons and the colour of fresh blood, each one etched with words we cannot read. When I was born I called it the Crying Tree, because the fruit would never stop bleeding, weeping juices that dripped to the floor, clung to rocks and slicked the ground. The moss below the tree looks like the insides of a huge creature, the open wound of a giant, stained bloodred and gory from the tears of the fruit. The leaves are red too and the bark bone white, so it looks like the wasted kill of an animal, tendrils of vein and organ dripping from bleached bone. The first law told to me was love your husband and the second do not eat from the tree.

                  I do not love my husband.

                  I find him rocking; his hands cupped in prayer, his legs slicked with fruit juice and pulp so that he looks as if he has waded through a sea of the dead. I watch him whisper against his thumbs, his hair a dirty tangle. Around him are our animals, all except my limping wolf. They stay at a respectable distance, all of them sitting as docile as we ought to be. They turn when they catch my scent and with revulsion I notice that each and every one of them has the dead eyes of a corpse. Angel eyes, holy eyes, the every watching, ever wanting, bloodied creatures that don the will of God as their cloak and dagger. Each and every one of them raises their snouts and a ripple of growls swarms around the tree, grumbling through its roots and into my bones.

                  “Adam,” I whisper, stepping forward.

                  He is being punished, do not disturb him.

                  The voice is a collective, a roar of many minds colliding to fit into mine and it is like a claw being punctured through the centre of my skull. I hiss and tremble but I keep moving forwards until my palm rests against Adam’s warm shoulder. He jerks and stares up at me; eyes rimmed pink with tears, his hands trembling as they uncoil from his prayer. As soon as they unlace and his lips break from words the animals being howling and roaring, so loud in their chorus the garden seems to tremble beneath us.

                  “It’s the wrath of God,” Adam sobs, reaching to hold my hand. “Pray with me and beg forgiveness or else we shall burn.”

                  I notice the ribbons of scratches down his back and realise it is not all the blood of the tree above us. He has been punished. I look towards our dripping tree and spy blue patches of Heaven through the branches. This is fallacy, I realise, horror and guilt twisting through my guts towards my throat. I should beg and beg and beg for our transgressions, the honour of pleading with a God, for Adam’s sake as well as my own.

                  What kind of father draws blood in his children? What kind of father plants the seeds of doubt before his children are even born? 

                  What is the point of living in a world where you are built to fail?

                  I do not love my husband.

                  I reach forward and pluck a fruit, its flesh already slippery between my fingers. It reeks of meat and bone and skin, not at all like the sweet fruits that we collect each day for our meals. It reminds me more of a heart, open in the chest of some great stag, still beating as the final moments of life are drawn out of its veins and arteries, a pack of wolves feasting on still living flesh. The words that wrap around it look like nothing I have ever seen before, some old and ancient language that lies embedded in the roots of our garden, in the bones of us, in the spines of the angels. The howls and roars stop and the world falls silent, like the intake of breath, like the silence that rings in my ears after I take the plunge in some deep pool. Everyone is watching, animal and beast, angel and God, humans and devils and husbands. Everyone stops their breath and waits and I think.

                  I take a bite and blood drips down my throat, warm, warm, wonderfully warm, salt sweet and perfect, visceral and animal and mine. I moan and a frisson of lust rings through my body, a serenade of blood and chemicals, a gospel of want. I bite again, flesh as sweet as mango crushed between my teeth, pulped and swallowed, dripping down my chin and to my breasts. I am covered in this beautiful blood, down my wrists, down my thighs, sloshed against my belly. I gasp and eat, eat, eat, consume and rejoice.

                  In front of all those dead eyes I am beautiful and strong and the animals howl their approval. The air cracks and fizzes and for once I can’t smell the holy as they leave, for once all I can smell is flesh and sweetness, a natural sugar. The angels leave and Adam looks at me the way he does, with awe and love and wonder and I laugh, dancing, my belly engorged with fruit, my beasts running around our tree of bones and meat.

                  There is a moment, between the rush of the fall, where my husband reaches for me. His fingers trail fire and smoke, a destruction of the nerves, a revival. My body is a holy thing, rebirthed by the fruit of God and his palm rubs static and embers into me, energy more powerful than the divine. I turn and he is staring at me, awe and horror written across his face, as if I have torn him in two and he doesn’t know which half to gather up first. His body is slicked red, my bloodied lover, my husband, mine. I reach for him and we kiss and our bodies pressed so close we could sink into each other until our ribs lock and we become one.  

                  He will not fall with me now, this I can tell, but he holds me as tightly as he dares before I pull away. His hands leave red smears against my ribs and he makes his way back to the crying tree.

                  I look towards the sky, wide and reaching, an endless expanse of possibility.

                  I fall.





The Dichotomy of Eve:
The characterisation of Eve and the detrimental effects on womankind: An antidote.

‘Unto woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.’[1]


                  ‘She for God in Her’ is a short story based around the Genesis creation story, a story that has shaped and defined history through the propagation of binary gender roles and sexual politics. I wanted to critically analyse through my writing something that truly affected society as a whole and the impact of religion throughout the world is so substantial that to me that it is hard to ignore. Religion and folklore has fascinated me since I was a child and, although I come from no particular faith, I find the whole scope and mythology behind religion to be utterly absorbing and faith to be one of the most defining and influential forces behind society and literature. Throughout the course of my degree I expanded my theoretical understanding of theology by researching the relationship between church and gender. It was this that I wanted to develop through creative outlets and the process of rewriting. Using John Milton’s Paradise Lost as a touch stone with which to guide my own story I wanted to fundamentally alter the image of Eve and change one of the most important characterisations of womankind.

                  One of the most defining figures of womanhood and femininity is that of Eve, the mother of all and the harbinger of sin. According to Eurocentric doctrine it is through her that the human race is subjected to pain, sickness, disease and despair, ‘Paradise is lost and God will eventually have to send his son as a blood sacrifice to atone for the evil in the world; the evil brought into the world by Eve (woman).’[2] She is often depicted as a subservient product of Adam’s want and continues to have projected onto her the dominant patriarchal ideals of women that have been so prevalent throughout history. Femininity often takes a negative role within society and according to religious canon Eve, as the first of womankind to sin, is responsible for the sin of all women to come. As a result, women are condemned to spend their existence atoning for the sins of the mother:

 ‘You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert--that is, death--even the Son of God had to die.’[3]

The root of Christian theology, the Genesis, opens the floodgates for centuries of oppression towards women through the creation story and Eve’s downfall and subsequent damning of all mankind. However, despite the continual presence of binary and prescriptive gender and sexual politics throughout the bible, the creation story known by most Eurocentric religions is not the only one. Before God created Eve, predetermined to sin, a product of Adam’s rib, there is in fact another story, a much simpler one. Originally, God created both genders equally and there was no stress on the moral nature of either sex. ‘And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.’[4] Here, he created Eve not as an afterthought but as an equal, as a part of mankind. It was only after that Eve’s transgressions were written, almost as an appendix, as a clause in which the suppression of womankind might be excused. It is through the second story that society sees Eve as unequal and inferior, weak and easily susceptible to evil. This demonstrates the patriarchal reach of religious power, where texts that provide the foundations of theological ideas were edited and changed in order to excuse the subjugation of minorities, ‘In both ancient and contemporary story, this mythic image justifies violence against the female for the sake of preserving the hierarchies which define patriarchal conceptions of order.’[5] The misogyny and hatred aimed towards women through ‘anti-Eve’ patriarchal ideals shows society’s treatment of women as a whole. ‘As a prescriptive text, moreover, the Bible has been interpreted as justifying the subordination of women to men.’[6] The Church used Eve as a figure with which to condemn all women and stretch their power through the oppression and submission of women:

‘One of the very first things that the Bible makes concrete, and that Milton’s rendition of the Genesis account most certainly builds on, is the idea that females were created from the rib of a man, specifically from the left-hand side of a man – a side notorious for evil.’[7]

It is this continual demonization of the character of Eve that I wanted to address in my own story. As a woman with a particular interest in theology and the contextual relation of literature to religion I felt it important to change the idea of Eve as the first of womankind, from a weak and easily susceptible character into something more realistic to womanhood as a whole. There is no wrong or right way to be a woman and it is society’s dictation and the scripted gender roles created by such representations as Eve that harm the image of femininity and womanhood. I want to change the definition of womanhood according to religious ideology using my own creative work.  

Feminist writings are often dictated by the continual oppression felt within the female community by religious powers. Eurocentric ideology correlates and reflects the power of the Church, which, whilst waning in terms of collective faith and the gradual merging of multi-ethnic faiths, still holds a powerful place in the politics and power relations of modern society. Many women feel rejected by the patriarchal ideals of theology and faith and the continual resistance of the Church in regards to civil rights. The Genesis story of creation has often been criticised by feminist theologians because of the masculinisation of God, who was once genderless, who holds no corporeal body and therefore no prescriptive gender, ‘In the Genesis story the female agency is redacted out, God is firmly a ‘He’ who engenders offspring without active female participation.’[8] It is this idea that Eurocentric, monotheistic faiths are placed firmly within the male sphere, with women and femininity firmly shunned, demonised and ignored that many women reject. ‘It is no surprise that under male monotheism the story suggesting equal creation under God was quickly forgotten. It would have served no useful purpose for patriarchy to remember it.’[9] Eve is an abstract idea of this masculine power projecting the sin of humankind onto a singular sex. The demonization of women through Eve has had a powerful effect on religion and society and feminist writers reject and rewrite in order to retake the freedom of faith they were denied by religious powers:

‘From an early stage, therefore, Christian men were taught to project their own guilt and consciousness of sin on to women, who, as “Eve” was the first to succumb to Satan and eat the forbidden fruit, who was to blame for the problem of evil.’[10]

Paradise Lost is perhaps one of the most recognised adaptations of the Genesis creation story and much of the theological imagery associated with Adam and Eve, Heaven and Hell, God and Satan comes from the epic poem itself as part of society’s collective memory. John Milton wrote the poem blind, and as such the poetry is rich in sensual imagery and language. The poem was published in 1667 and it had taken Milton many years to fully flesh out this theological world. Paradise Lost is a creation of politics, the politics within power and state, the Church’s gradual slip into reformation and the sexual politics between Adam and Eve. It is because of the scope of influence the creation story has throughout religion and the resulting oppression of not only women but a multitude of minorities that I wanted to rewrite and recreate a story that instead gives power to the character of Eve. I used Paradise Lost as a touch stone in which to recreate the Genesis story, using similar elements as Milton but changing them in order to fit with the themes of my own story. Milton, although a radical himself, still used prescriptive gender roles and the notion of ‘sin’ in order to condemn the figure of Eve and women as a whole. The title of my story ‘She for God in Her’ relates to the quote ‘He for God only, she for God in him:’[11] this is a play on the gender ideals and sexual politics within Paradise Lost and the creation story and a reflection of Eve’s autonomy and individuality throughout my own piece.

                  Within Paradise Lost it becomes clear that Eve is merely a product of Adam’s will, which reflects the misogynistic and oppressive ideals prevalent throughout the time. During the seventeenth century men were considered the ‘heads’ of the household, with each husband and father dictating the comings and goings of their wives and daughters. Women did not have a close relationship with God, they were uneducated in the holy tongue, Latin, and so sermons conducted within Church were incomprehensible to them. It was up to their worldlier and more educated heads of house to provide them with their faith, ‘Woman is the temptress, the seductress, the polluter, and therefore in need of supervision by male masters.’[12] Homilies were distributed throughout religious communities that provided a guide on how to manage wives and serve husbands. Women were told, in no uncertain terms, that to disobey their husbands, fathers, or heads of house, was to disobey God himself: ‘Let women bee subject to their husbands as to the Lorde: for the husband is the head of the woman, as Christ is the head of the Church.’[13] In Paradise Lost Eve is removed from the Lord, finding only his grace through her husband, twice removed because she was not a true creation of God, ‘She sees life by reflection, he directly. Thus she looks to God through him, as in a mirror, while he in his contemplation addresses God without intermediary.’[14] Instead, she was crafted from the rib of Adam, made in order to provide him comfort and companionship. She never has a true relationship with her creator, and it can be argued that it is this reason that she seeks something bigger, better and more substantial than that which she has. In Paradise Lost she fell in order to be closer to God, to glean the knowledge of the angels and descend up to Heaven. In my own story I wanted to make the disconnection all the more obvious by God’s absence. His only part in my story is through her creation, where he leaves her awake and in pain. There is a cruel and malicious feel to God, almost as if he is amused by her suffering, ‘”all I can remember is the feel of his fingers, making me and shaping me, his amusement when he saw I was awake. All I can remember is the bruise his kiss left behind.”’ (p. 6) Here I wanted to reflect Milton’s use of God as a corrupt authority. Milton was a strong advocate against the monarchy and the Church and believed in a commonwealth without the corruption of power. In ‘She for God in Her’ Eve’s relationship with God is a reflection of womankind’s relationship with faith, and her discontent with his absence and idle cruelty  a reflection of the patriarchal yoke subjected onto them throughout history.

                  I wanted to change was the mythology and theological imagery used within both the creation story and Paradise Lost. In Paradise Lost the angels are portrayed as beautiful creatures, men with white wings and golden hair and flushed pink cheeks:

‘A seraph winged; six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine; the paid that clad
 Each shoulder broad, came mantling o’er his breast
With regal ornament.’[15]

This idea stems from the Renaissance period and the beautification of religion, where many churches commissioned paintings and artistic renditions of various religious scenes in order to display the wealth and power of the church. Angels at the time were often depicted as strong men with swan wings and the old theological picture of seraphim was forgotten. In the Old Testament angels are very much warriors of God, creature so fearsome and strange that to look upon them would cause mortals to go mad with terror. I wanted to reflect this unnatural, inhuman concept of angels, to keep with the more traditional portrayal as seen in the Bible. Originally, angels were simply referred to as messengers – (the Hebrew word ‘mala’ak’ and the Greek ‘angelos’ both meaning this – it is from this word that the modern English  ‘angel’ comes from) and in the Old Testament ‘seraphim’ was introduced, ‘seraph’ meaning simply ‘flame’, meaning messengers of fire, creatures both terrifying and incorporeal, incomprehensible to the human mind. Within Ezekiel the angels are given human form but they are ferocious, with many faces, limbs and wings, often some of them animal, ‘As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and they four had the face of a lion on the right side; and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.’[16] It was this idea I wanted to capture for my own story, that they are not the fluffy cherubs modern day society has come to associate with the concept of angels. Much of the Bible itself is full of harsh, disturbing and often cruel imagery, and in ‘She for God in Her’ I wanted to reflect this. The angels within my story do not even hold corporeal bodies themselves; rather they possess the creatures within paradise. This makes them seem somewhat sinister, inhuman and threatening, as they only take the bodies of animals that are traditionally fierce and dangerous, such as tigers, wolves and other big cats.

In ‘She for God in Her’ Eve is very much aware of her creation, as well as the fact that she was created from Adam, as a product of Adam. The opening is ‘I was born of bone.’ (p. 3) and it is the nature of her creation, her purpose and the idea that she is simply a by-product of her husband that causes the cracks in the foundation of her relationship with both God and Adam. She is born with resentment to her creator and to her husband and because of this she drifts away from them and towards the creatures around her, the animalistic wild. She becomes individualised and independent of Adam and her fall from grace is the result of this. Unlike in Paradise Lost, Eve is not tempted to fall through the manipulation of others, be they Satan, God or Adam. Eve, as an autonomous woman, eats the fruit and embraces the fall, and even rejoices in her fall, ‘I gasp and eat, eat, eat, consume and rejoice.’ (p. 11.) The fall becomes a frenzied, orgasmic moment, and the consumption of the fruit becomes an animalistic embrace to her freedom, ‘I moan and a frisson of lust rings through my body, a serenade of blood and chemicals, a gospel of want.’ (p. 11.) Adam, seeing this, is awed by this but chooses not to fall, quite unlike Paradise Lost in which Adam is forced to fall from grace simply because he will be parted from Eve if he does not:

‘However I with thee have fixed my lot,
Certain to undergo like doom, if death
Consort with three, death is to me as life;
So forcible within my heart I feel
The bond of nature draw me to my own,
My own in thee, for what thou art is mine;
Our state cannot be severed, we are one,  
One flesh; to lose thee were to lose my self.’[17]

Here, both Adam and Eve get to choose their own futures regarding falling as agents of free will, because paradise has become Eve’s prison and Adam is not yet ready himself. Here, both characters are empowered through the strength of their own decisions and progressing forwards as individuals. It is through this process of Eve falling that they are truly brought together, and Eve feels for a moment what she has always wanted to feel for her husband, ‘He will not fall with me now, this I can tell, but he holds me as tightly as he dares before I pull away.’ (p. 11.) It is only after the fall that Eve is able to experience true tenderness and love towards her husband, and the tenderness of womanhood becomes a celebrated, strong thing, as well as the fierce attributes equated to her before the fall. This is a rejection of Paradise Lost and Milton’s ideas that when Eve falls she becomes a ruined woman and her femininity and sexuality becomes a condemned thing.

The concept of femininity and sexuality within Paradise Lost is typical of the time in which it was written. Eve is receptive, submissive and coy, the ideal of female flirtation and sexuality:

‘with implied
Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best received,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
And sweet reluctant amorous delay.’[18]

Her sexual desires are not her own, rather they are a product of Adam’s want, which reflects the ideals that women were merely property of their husbands and behaved to the satisfaction and service of men. In the poem she sees herself within the water and is attracted to her own body, shape and beauty but is instantly warned away by God. Here we see a brief moment in which Eve, newly born, has a moment of autonomous sexual attraction, a moment in which she experiences something solely for herself before she is swiftly reprimanded by the patriarchal authority of God. This rejection of individuality happens moments before she is ‘seized’ by Adam and she is claimed as his, ‘My other half: with that thy gentle hand / Seized mine, I yielded,’[19] In Paradise Lost she is merely an object, a by-product of Adam, and her sexual desire is only legitimate when applicable to Adam and when it can satisfy Adam’s needs. The moment where Eve becomes enamoured with her own reflection is often criticised as vanity, a relation to the Greek Narcissus myth:

‘there I had fixed
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warned me,’[20]

Throughout Milton’s poem there is also much emphasis placed on Eve’s purity, her almost childlike state, and that she needs to be governed by men in order to keep her safe, ‘It is thus possible to equate Eve, the female and so the inferior element of the union, to passion (or emotion), the lower element of the soul, subject to the governance of her superior, Adam.’[21] Once again this is a reflection of the time in which it was written, where the ideal feminine image was that of a pure and virginal and in need of protection and governance. In ‘She for God in Her’ Eve’s sexuality is more complex than this. She cares about Adam but she does not find him sexually stimulating and her relations with him are uncomfortable and unsatisfying, ‘I felt nothing. The stirring I felt at first, when his hands cupped my breasts, slid along my belly and up my throat, it died the moment we became one flesh.’ (p. 6.) Her relationship with Adam becomes a reflection of her relationship with God, a distant and unsatisfying kinship in which she feels apart and segregated. She can think on that she is a product of Adam, part of his bone, and that God created her with malice and with the want to merely satisfy her partner. This discontent breeds dissatisfaction within Eve and she rejects the love she could feel for Adam and instead finds companionship, warmth and even tenderness with her creatures instead. It is once again the process of falling that frees Eve, as she is able to release both herself and Adam from an undesirable, unfulfilling relationship in order to move forwards as  individuals. As much of society’s structured ideals of women are based around their relationships with men I wrote the act of rejecting this unrewarding relationship as an act of empowerment for Eve and therefore an act of empowerment for women. She is not simply the extension of a male presence and she becomes her own person. The fall is euphoric for her, an act of freedom, ‘I look towards the sky, wide and reaching, an endless expanse of possibility.’ (p. 11.)

When confronted with Satan Eve is enamoured with the idea that he is so very different to her husband. Where Adam is golden and sweet, Satan is dark and harsh, something more primal, something more like the wild animals that surround her, ‘His features are different from Adam, his face tighter and harsh, lips pulled into a kind of constant snarl. Adam is plump and pink and golden and I don’t think he has it in him to frown.’ (pp. 4-5.) She is attracted to Satan, to the idea that he is similar to her in so many ways; defected, a prototype of flesh, somehow unsatisfactory in the eyes of God. Despite this strong attraction she rejects Satan and turns instead to her own autonomy, ‘”If I am to fall, I will do it on my own terms.”’ (p. 9.) The fall becomes orgasmic, a pleasure she never truly felt with Adam, and it is here that the concept of Eve’s sexual appetite becomes her own instead of a product of man or God. This metaphorical release unchains her from the ‘voice’ that ‘thus warned’[22] and allows her to truly embrace herself and her own sexuality. After the fall and after the pleasure she turns to Adam and they embrace and it ends as it began, through the ribs, ‘our bodies pressed so close we could sink into each other until our ribs lock and we become one.’ (p. 11.) Here the circle of Eve’s growth becomes complete, she was born of Adam’s rib and then she returns it, and instead of falling together they both chose autonomy. Eve is released from the shackles of God and the holy and accepts her own autonomous desires.

Something that Milton does not include within paradise is the concept of death. In his paradise, death is not something that occurs naturally until Eve has sinned and Satan allows Death, his own creation, to enter the garden. In my own story death plays an intrinsic part of nature and is already a key element of God’s creation. Adam and Eve are constantly surrounded by wild animals, animals that hunt and kill and consume the flesh of others. Throughout the story Eve is fascinated by the brutality of nature and its role in the lives of her creatures. She spends much of her time around them, watches them hunt and eat and remembers the kills in great detail. Death is a part of nature, a balancing power, and it is through the brutality and gruesome nature Eve’s inner frustration with paradise and God is reflected and her desire for something more than the world she has been given. Eve is awed by her creatures and does not want to take on the docile role given to her by God. The more she watches these displays of animalistic tendencies the more she embraces her own. When she is attacked by Michael she becomes one of her creatures, fighting back instead of meekly surrendering, envisioning the strength of nature and transferring it into her own strength, ‘They would not lie on their backs screaming for help. They would not stand for this.’ (p. 8.) The only moment we see Eve eat in the story is when she eats the forbidden fruit – fruit made to look like the dripping organs and innards of a kill. Here she is fully embracing what it means to be animal, surrounding by the other creatures and eating the flesh of God, ‘The angels leave and Adam looks at me the way he does, with awe and love and wonder and I laugh, dancing, my belly engorged with fruit, my beasts running around our tree of bones and meat.’ (p. 11.) Angela Carter, a feminist writer that greatly inspired me to choose rewriting as a process of change, uses this theme of embracing animal counterparts and tendencies throughout her rewrites of famous fairy tales in order to portray the strength and power of women. It is this I wanted to reflect within my own work, the use of animalistic imagery in order to represent women as strong, elemental characters instead of that which has already been dictated by society.

Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber use animals in order to convey the traditional ‘masculine evil’[23] that many fairy tales use as reprehensible warnings to the young. Fairy tales were traditionally oral, spoken throughout communities in order to relay lessons and cultural history to others. One prevailing theme is that of the predatory man, the werewolf who is more man than wolf, preying on young girls straying from their homes, the beast hidden behind a physical and metaphorical mask. Traditionally, girls would be warned of the dangers of the wild man, however within Carter’s rewrites the classic good v. evil is manipulated and distorted in order to portray femininity differently from that of traditional fairy tale writings. The women in her stories embrace themselves, wholly and fully, as both symbols of good and evil. The girlish image of the feminine damsel is mocked and the savoir becomes the woman herself through the acceptance of animalistic desires and tendencies. Within my own rewriting I wanted to use this embrace of the good and bad in order to make Eve a more defined character. Carter’s ‘wolf trilogy’ is an example of this use of naturalistic and often brutal characteristics projected onto women. In ‘The Company of Wolves’, Little Red Riding Hood becomes the embodiment of feminine sexual appetite, slowly stripping herself of her girlish clothes and climbing into bed with the wolf, ‘She laughed at him full in the face, she ripped off his shirt for him and flung it into the fire, in the fiery wake of her own discarded clothing.’[24] Carter uses the masculine ideal and sexualisation of young girls seen throughout traditional fairy tales and modern culture and subverts it to show a girl becoming the dominant sexual partner and embracing her own sexuality for herself, ‘Women writers seem to have found in fairy tales a means of rearticulating women’s sexual agency by calling attention to their/our positioning within a culture that fetishizes young girls as objects of desire.’[25] Here, the wolf is no longer the predatory male appetite but the projection of Red Riding Hood’s own desires, animalistic and predatory in their own right – ‘For Carter, then, the virginal, sexually precocious nymphet is not so much desired object of patriarchal projection but, rather, autonomous desiring subject, as bestial as the stranger-wolf.’[26] This is reflected in the way Little Red Riding Hood plucks the lice from the wolf’s fur and eats it, an animalistic ritual in which she is the consumer instead of the consumed, she is the sexual dominant instead of the submissive. In ‘She for God in Her’ Eve is fascinated with the animals that surround her, taking interesting in their ferocity and the predatory ways in which they hunt and kill. It is through her observations of these creatures that she comes to project her own animalistic self, channelling the strength found within nature for herself. Instead of submitting to the angels, she attacks, and after Michael’s attack she mutually cleans the wolf of blood, tasting and enjoying it, a process of internalising the wild as seen in Carter’s wolf trilogy. Again, here we see the embracing of animalistic rituals and the tenderness she feels towards her creatures. At the end when she consumes the fruit she is further embracing her own autonomy and animalistic behaviours, eating the ‘flesh’ and falling from paradise, rejecting the patriarchal masters and the fallacy of a world controlled by God.

Margaret Atwood also rejects and ignores the way in which women are subjugated and blamed through the representation of Eve through her own writing. In her poem Half-Hanged Mary a woman is hanged for witchcraft during the puritanical age of the Witch Trials during the seventeenth century. These trials are another reflection of femininity and womanhood being rejected and oppressed through religious subjugation. Women who lived alone, older women without husbands or women who were in some way separate from the community were condemned as worshippers of Satan and often stoned, drowned, burnt at the stake or hanged:

‘I was hanged for living alone,
for having blue eyes and a sunburned skin,
tattered skirts, few buttons,
a weedy farm in my own name,
and a surefire cure for warts.’[27]

The poem itself is based on a real event, in which a woman accused of witchcraft is hung by the neck but survives for eleven hours. Atwood uses religious rhetoric in order to convey the victimisation of women, condemning God and angel alike for the suffering of womankind. She creates imagery of the divine as cruel and malevolent, absent to her pain and ignorant of her anguish:

‘Call it Not yet, not yet
as Heaven threatens to explode
inwards in fire and shredded flesh, and the angels caw.’[28]

Quite like within ‘She for God in Her’ characters and images of holy and divine presence are given an unnatural, cruel and calculated feel, with an indifference to the suffering of the female protagonist, ‘Angel eyes, holy eyes, the every watching, ever wanting, bloodied creatures that don the will of God as their cloak and dagger.’ (p. 10.) The divine are animalistic within Atwood’s poem as they take the form of birds, with ‘glossy feathers’[29] and eventually Mary comes to embody this holy feel, turning herself into an almost bird-like creature. It is here again that the rejection of faith is seen, the ‘twice removed’ concept of women as blind to God’s warmth, and like within Paradise Lost in which Eve’s fall can be said to be because of God’s indifference to her, Mary’s own rebirth into the animal mind is due to the corruption of religious power.

‘Oh yes, and breasts,
and a sweet pear hidden in my body.
Whenever there’s talk of demons
these come in handy.’[30]

Here she is condemned simply for having the parts of a woman, something which is reflected within ‘She for God in Her’ and Eve’s acceptance that God built her with the prescriptive parts to sin. In the poem Mary becomes almost Christ-like herself, strung up like Jesus on the cross, the spectacle of the town. Her ‘death’ becomes a reversal of life, almost a rebirth in which she goes up ‘a blackened apple stuck back onto the tree’[31] (a reversal of rot) and transforms from a woman into a witch. It is through the subjugation of man and the way they demonise and corrupt her that she becomes truly a witch, ‘Before, I was not a witch. / But now I am one.’[32]

Through the poem Atwood uses the imagery of birds – owls, crows, ravens and chickens, all of which are considered traditional ‘familiars’ of witches, creatures used as the mouthpieces of the devil. Often, women were coined as being witches simply by odd marks on their bodies which were said to be nipples or bites from which the familiars could feed. The narrator herself transitions to an almost bird-like creature, with her ‘fluttering cloth body’[33] and how she can ‘skitter over the paths and fields, mumbling to myself like crazy, / mouth full of juicy adjectives / and purple berries.’[34] Here she becomes a creature, an animalistic version of herself, embracing these dark and bestial characteristics much like in ‘She for God in Her’ and Carter’s retelling of fairy tales. The power of religious subjugation becomes a thing that can distort womanhood, creating almost sub-human ideals that women project and internalise.

The poem uses the language of the body, imagery of flesh and body parts, raw and primal rhetoric that once again reflects the idea of women being closely linked to a wilder side of the human condition. She is ‘meat’ instead of flesh, dead instead of living, a hanging corpse. Much feminist ideology reflects this concept that womankind are merely meat in a more masculine world, something religion projects also. Feminist writers embrace and reclaim the female body, rejecting the flat and lifeless way in which women are often represented – as undefined pieces of flesh, sexualised parts and condemned parts. Atwood uses her poem as both a rejection and embracing of this and Mary, through her transition of death and rebirth becomes flesh, ‘reduced to knotted muscle’[35] and falls to the earth a new creature. This becomes in itself a metaphorical fall, much like Eve, as she becomes untouchable from patriarchal law:

‘Tough luck, folks,
I know the law:
you can’t execute me twice
or the same thing. How nice.’[36]

This use of flesh imagery and bodily rhetoric is something reflected also in my story. Eve often watches the way her animals hunt, how creatures look when they are being consumed, and reflects on her own body. The story itself opens with imagery of Eve being created, ‘He carved me into an animal and I could feel strings of skin pulled taut over muscle, nails growing in layers, pulps and strips and organs carefully placed around each other under the cage of my ribs.’ (p. 3.) Eve imagines Satan being eaten and also imagines herself being eaten, and the body becomes a consumable creation, some fallible and edible. In paradise without the fall she is a consumable thing and it is not until she embraces her own autonomy, and falls, that she becomes the consumer. It was through this I wanted to reflect the power of women as a whole and use my story in order to empower those who read it, to take away a new representation of womanhood through the characterisation of Eve.

Historically, the depiction of Eve has shaped notions of womanhood on a sociological and theological level.  Through my research I have identified the suffering of women as a result of Eve's transgressions by the patriarchal powers that manipulated this characterisation in order to oppress and subdue. I wanted my rewriting of Eve to reflect the trajectory that representations of women have taken both in religion and creative writing. I wrote this story in order to right the wrongs of religious discourse and show that theological ideology does not need to facilitate the misogynistic and oppressive way that women are seen throughout history.




Atwood, Margaret, Half-Hanged Mary, in, Morning in the Burned House (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1996)

Bowers, Fredson, ‘Adam, Eve, and the Fall in Paradise Lost’, PMLA, 84: 2 (1969)

Carter, Angela, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, (New York: Vintage Books 1995)

Ess, Charles, ‘Reading Adam and Eve: Re-visions of the Myth of Woman’s Subordination to Man’, in Carol J. Adams and Marie M. Fortune, eds, Violence Against Women and Children: a Christian Theological Sourcebook, (New York: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1995)

Isherwood, Lisa and McEwan, Dorothea, ‘In God’s Image or in Man’s Image: A Critique of Patriarchy in Christian Theology’, in Mary Kennedy and Cathy Lubelska and Val Walsh, eds, Making Connections: Women’s Studies, Women’s Movements, Women’s Lives (London: Taylor and Francis, 1993)

Jacobs, Richard, A Beginner’s Guide to Critical Reading: An Anthology of Literary Texts, (London: Routledge, 2001)

Lau, Kimberly J., ‘Erotic Infidelities: Angela Carter’s Wolf Trilogy’, Marvels & Tales, 22: 1 (2008)

Lancashire, Ian, ed., ‘An Homilie of the State of Matrimonie (1571)’ Renaissance Electronic Texts 1.2. Available: <> (accessed 16th April 2012)

Le Conte, Edward, Milton and Sex, (London: The Macmillan Press, 1978)

Milford, Humphrey, ed., The Holy Bible: The Revised Edition, (London: Oxford University Press, 1930)

Milton, John, Paradise Lost (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008)

Murphey, Cullen, The Word According to Eve: Women and the Bible in Ancient Times and Our Own, (New York: Mariner Books, 1999)

Özüm, Aytül, ‘Deconstructed Masculine Evil in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber Stories’ in Nancy Billias ed., Promoting and Producing Evil (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010)

Tertullianus, Quintus Septimius Florens, On the Apparel of Women, available: <> (Date accessed: 13th February 2012)

Whitfield, Jonathan “Leviathan”, ‘The Invisible Woman: Eve’s Self Image in Paradise Lost’, Oshkosh Scholar, 2, (2007)


[1] Humphrey Milford, ed., the Holy Bible: The Revised Edition, (London: Oxford University Press, 1930), p. 2.

[2] Lisa Isherwood and Dorothea McEwan, ‘In God’s Image or in Man’s Image: A Critique of Patriarchy in Christian Theology’, in Mary Kennedy and Cathy Lubelska and Val Walsh, eds, Making Connections: Women’s Studies, Women’s Movements, Women’s Lives (London: Taylor and Francis, 1993), pp. 51-63.

[3] Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, On the Apparel of Women, available: <> (Date accessed: 13th February 2012)

[4]  Humphrey Milford, ed., the Holy Bible: The Revised Edition, p. 2.

[5] Charles Ess, ‘Reading Adam and Eve: Re-visions of the Myth of Woman’s Subordination to Man’, in Carol J. Adams and Marie M. Fortune, eds, Violence Against Women and Children: a Christian Theological Sourcebook’, (New York: The Continuum Publishing Company, 1995), pp. 92-120.

[6] Cullen Murphey, The Word According to Eve: Women and the Bible in Ancient Times and Our Own, (New York: Mariner Books, 1999) p. 13.

[7] Jonathan “Leviathan” Whitfield, ‘The Invisible Woman: Eve’s Self Image in Paradise Lost’, Oshkosh Scholar, 2, (2007) p. 58.

[8] Lisa Isherwood and Dorothea McEwan, In God’s Image or in Man’s Image: A Critique of Patriarchy in Christian Theology, p. 52.

[9] Ibid, p. 53.

[10] Karen Armstrong, ‘Forward’, to Cullen Murphey, The Word According to Eve: Women and the Bible in Ancient Times and Our Own, (New York: Mariner Books, 1999) p.  xiii.

[11] John Milton, Paradise Lost (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), IV. 299 (p. 93)

[12] Lisa Isherwood and Dorothea McEwan, In God’s Image or in Man’s Image: A Critique of Patriarchy in Christian Theology, p.  53

[13] Ian Lancashire, ed., ‘An Homilie of the State of Matrimonie (1571)’ Renaissance Electronic Texts 1.2. Available: <> (accessed 16th April 2012)

[14] Fredson Bowers, ‘Adam, Eve, and the Fall in Paradise Lost’, PMLA, 84: 2 (1969) p. 266.

[15]  John Milton, Paradise Lost, V: 277-280 (pg. 123)

[16] Humphrey Milford, ed., the Holy Bible: The Revised Edition, p. 814.

[17] John Milton, Paradise Lost, IX: 952-959 (pg. 233)

[18] John Milton, Paradise Lost, IV: 307-311 (p. 94)

[19] Ibid., IV: 488-489 (p. 99)

[20] Ibid., IV: 465-467 (p. 98)

[21]  Fredson Bowers, Adam, Eve, and the Fall in Paradise Lost, p. 265.

[22] John Milton, Paradise Lost, IV: 311 (p. 94)

[23] Aytül Özüm, ‘Deconstructed Masculine Evil in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber Stories’ in Nancy Billias ed., Promoting and Producing Evil (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010) pp. 109-137.

[24] Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, (New York: Vintage Books 1995) p. 118.

[25] Kimberly J. Lau, ‘Erotic Infidelities: Angela Carter’s Wolf Trilogy’, Marvels & Tales, 22: 1 (2008) p. 79.

[26] Ibid., p. 88.

[27] Margaret Atwood, Morning in the Burned House (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1996), 11-15 (pp. 58-59)

[28] Ibid., 129-131 (p. 64)

[29] Ibid., 94 (p. 63)

[30] Ibid., 16-19 (p. 59)

[31] Ibid., 24 (p. 59)

[32] Ibid., 193-194 (p. 67)

[33] Ibid., 138-139 (p. 65)

[34] Ibid., 199-201 (p.68)

[35] Ibid., 85 (p. 62)

[36] Ibid., 180-183 (p. 67)



Amy Johnson


brightONLINE student literary journal

16 Nov 2012