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Essay On The Garden Of Eden

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Scene 1: The Garden Eden—elusive origin of blameless life, sanctuary where ֶא ְה ֶיה ֲא ֶשר ֶא ְהיֶה (“I Am that I Am”) once mingled with gardeners, theater in which death fell in love with life. At its gate today stand cherubim with a flaming sword. Döblin and Dostoevsky inaugurate their stories with brief glimpses into Eden, whether this means the order and predictability of a prison or a child’s state of innocent freedom. All that follows is, in true biblical style, the protagonists’ efforts to bypass the cherubim at the Garden’s gate (Genesis 3:24). More than anything, Eden is the site of expulsion and an explanation of our characters’ needs for spiritual renewal. In its opening chapters, Berlin Alexanderplatz presents Franz Biberkopf…show more content…
This detached manner of engaging with the world precludes any question of his personal responsibility for the surging disorder in and around himself. Whether he has raped another human being (spontaneously excited by the memory of his fiancé, Ida), sold another human being (enters into the business of pimping after falling in love with a sex worker), stolen from another human being (enlists in a heist on the fly), demonized a whole population of human beings (sells anti-Semitic pamphlets for spare cash)—moral estrangement allows Franz to commit evil at whim, without deliberation or self-scrutiny. To wit, following a stint of unsatisfying evenings with prostitutes and three days of sullen boozing, Franz wonders, “Whose fault is it all?” (36). Concealing his ethical duties from himself, he answers, “Ida’s of course. Who else? I knocked that tart’s ribs to pieces, that’s why I had to go to the jug. Now she’s got what she wanted, the wench is dead, and here I am” (37). On the odd occasion when a scruple chokes out its protest despite this asphyxiation of Franz’s soul, it must hit upon his self-interest, not upon a care for others’ well-being or a principled regard for the good. Take, for example, Franz’s objections to pornography: “It [looking at pornographic photos] does a man harm, yes, sir, that botches you up... [A]fterwards, when you want to, there you are, and it won’t go naturally any more” (82-83). Erectile dysfunction—not the harsh conditions frequently endured by
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