The Battle For Power In The Garden Of Eden

897 words - 4 pages

The struggle for power in the world, in life, in jobs or in relationships has been an ongoing theme in humanity. Many philosophers and thinkers have explored humanity's desire to be in control. Hemingway was one author to explore woman's desire (during the early 1900's) to be in control of, or at least equal to, her husband. In "The Garden of Eden" by Ernest Hemingway, the anti-heroine, Catherine, goes to great lengths to gain power in her relationship with her husband. Her need to be equal causes her to `make herself into a boy', keep secrets from her husband, try to control him in various ways, introduce another woman into their relationship and burn all of David's stories. All of these acts also eventually lead her into insanity.

In Hemingway's novel, the character Catherine is obsessed with making herself into a boy. In the beginning of the story she only wants to be a boy at night when they are together alone. However, as the story progresses, she begins to "make the change" in public and talks to people about it. She cuts her hair so short that it looks like a boy's haircut. The symbolism behind her actions is that she wants to be equal to David, her husband. As a woman, she is different and underneath her husband but as a man, she feels that she is equal to her husband. In bed, she wants to take over the man's role and make David the woman so that she can be in control and be more powerful than him.

Throughout their relationship, Catherine tries more and more to control David. She forces him into cutting his hair and dying it like hers. She wants him to be just as darkly tanned as she is and drink the same drinks he drinks. She begins an argument over his clippings of reviews of his books and tells him she wishes he would stop keeping them and looking at them. This need to mold David into a copy of herself symbolizes her need to be an equal with David. She cannot bear the fact that she is lesser than him so she does all things possible to make herself equal to David and control him. She knows that with enough pushing and whining, she can get David to do almost anything she wants him to do and towards the end of the book, even tells him that she knows he will do anything she asks him to do. At one point, Catherine tells Marita that David has been using her money to fund his books. Her simple statement reveals that she prizes this one thing that she can lord over David. It is just one of the few things that she...

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