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The Symbolism of Water as Power in Genesis

University/College: University of Arkansas System
Date: November 12, 2017
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The Symbolism of Water as Power in Genesis

In literature, the image of water can be a strong technique used to support a or’s theme. This can especially be seen In classic literature such as Galoshes and Genesis and Exodus of the Bible. In these works the image of water is used to support the theme of power. This concept of a relationship between water and power can be seen quite frequently within these texts. In Galoshes, the Image of water supports the theme of power in various occasions, such as the journey to Haw, an assortment of images of the cleansing of the body and Shillelagh’s trip to the afterlife.

In Genesis and Exodus, stories such as the creation of the earth, the great load and the ‘exodus’ of the Jewish slave people from Egypt also use water to thematically represent power. All three of these ancient works would not have sustained or represented the theme of power quite so effectively If not for the Image of water. The work of Galoshes first introduces the image of water when Unkind “visits the watering places with the creatures whose hearts delights, as his delights, in water (5).

Unkind was created by the gods as a power player meant to humble and contend with Galoshes, the “stormy heart,” thus making Unkind a symbol of power. The repetition of the “watering place” Is extremely significant In creating an Instant correlation between Unkind and water?and therefore our first connection between water and power. As Unkind and Galoshes Journey to Haw, the monster god of the forest. Unkind repeatedly finds the “hidden water to quench their thirsts and offer to the god” (21). This repeated action brings about a connection between water and power twofold.

It represents a correlation between water and the gods, the most powerful beings known, as well as a link connecting water and power in the form of knowledge. This is because after every offering Galoshes is blessed with dreams foreshadowing the dangers of their Journey. These dreams that Galoshes experiences during the Journey to Haw also contain allusions to the relationship linking water and power that is found throughout the duration of the text. For instance, Galoshes dreams often allude to ‘*watering places” and ways to “quench [his] thirst” (44).

This is just another appearance of two representations?as seen previously through Enkindles creation story and the offering of water which brings about the dreams In the first place?that purports this ever-present thematic relationship between the image of water supporting the theme of power. Galoshes. When Galoshes comes home victor of the battle with Haw, he is shown washing the “filth of battle from his hair… [and] body’ (29). After cleansing he is adorned with a sash and tiara, making Galoshes the epitome of power and authority.

This is seen again when Side tells Galoshes to “wash the filth of the journey from [his] body,” and to put on a clean robe, cloak and sash (57). Here Side is trying to tell Galoshes to enjoy the short life he has, a powerful lesson that Galoshes does not yet know he is seeking. One of the most potent connections between water and power is also represented during a conversation between Galoshes and Side. Side tells Galoshes that “not from the beginning of time has anyone ever been able to go across the glittering sea” (57). She then makes reference to the “waters of death” as something to be feared and avoided (57).

She warns Galoshes of the dangers and once again tries to show him that knowledge of the afterlife will not bring about his happiness. Water is indubitably represented here as an authoritative image meant to bring about caution, apprehension and wonder. The powerful image of the “waters of death” continues to be seen as Shillelagh’s journey and determination to conquer these waters and gain the powers of knowledge carry on. The climax of this commanding illustration could be when the “old man standing on the faraway shore” describes Galoshes crossing the waters of death in his “little boat” (62).

The image creates a vivid recognition of the power and authority of Galoshes as he defies such an iconic and cultural concept like that of the “waters of death. ” As a whole, Galoshes is a solid ancient text to refer to in reference of the common thematic relationship between the image of water supporting the theme power; its examples are plentiful and the mutual relationship between water and power is a key literary device that supports the literary work of Galoshes as a text rich in the history of ancient culture and humanities.

Another text rich in images of water as a symbol of power is that of the Bible, specifically potent in the books of Genesis and Exodus. These two books contain a plethora of allusions to this relationship, and are often thematically defining moments for many individual stories within these culturally loaded texts. The opening lines of Genesis describe the earth as a formless place covered in dark and deep waters over which God hovers (1:1) The chapter continues on to describe God separation the waters of heaven from the waters of earth.

Even in the earliest form of life and creation, the reader is automatically introduced to a connection between water and power, God being the most indescribably powerful of them all. Throughout Genesis it is made clear that water is a powerful element as scribed through various vehicles such as rain, rivers, vegetation and the basic functions of human life. One of the most epic representations of the thematic relationship between water and power is the collectively recognized account of Nosh’s ark and the Great Flood.

As the narrative goes, God, fed up with the current condition of human consciousness, decides to eradicate all humans in a colossal flood. Floodwater’s “covered the earth for 150 days” drowning and destroying all life on the planet (6:24). But the real focus must be on the verity that water is God’s chosen method of annihilation. Out of all the elements?earth, wind, fire or other supernatural effects God could have used to destroy life?he chose water.

This is extremely significant in the ironic way that water is now both the creator and the destroyer of all life?thus making the image of water about as powerful as it gets. Another representation of water as power in Genesis can be found in the role that water plays in the story of “A Wife for Isaac. ” Isaac asks God to show him which wife should be his by Isaac himself asking a handful of women for a drink, and seeing which one responds in charity. Isaac also delineates the power of water in “Conflict over Water Rights,” when Isaac is blessed with the wealth that water brings to his crops.

Once more, water is a thematic element linked to power. Another epic illustration of the image of water supporting the theme of power comes from the stories of Exodus. The “Plague of Blood” is a strong representation of this because it is all the water in the land that Moses?with God’s help?turns into human blood so that the Egyptians “may not drink any water from the Nile” (7:18). This is a powerful statement of God’s power because water is the sustenance of life (and blood). As seen in the Great Flood, God uses water as both a creator and a destroyer.

Perhaps the most impressive of them all is the image of water supporting the theme of power that can be found in “Escape through the Red Sea,” and the great exodus of the Jews from Egypt. When Moses cries out for God’s help as he leads his people out of Egypt, God replies with “divide the water so that the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground”(14:16). As Moses does this, his people inning and praise God’s name and afterwards God closes the seas, killing all of Pharaohs men hot in pursuit.

God chooses this authoritative image of water to represent his Glory. He could have thrown balls of fire, shocks of lightning or sweeping winds of sand, but once again water is chosen to be associated with his power. This is one of the most potent accounts of the image of water supporting theme of power that can be found in the Bible. The image of water is a powerful and thematic literary device that authors and orators have been using for ages. In literature, the image of water is often used to support a works theme.

The relationship between water and power can be seen quite frequently within the texts of Genesis, Exodus and Galoshes. From the journeys of Galoshes and Unkind to the creation stories in Genesis and the great exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, all three of these ancient works show a strong connection between the image water the theme of power. These works of ancient culture and humanities could not have sustained or represented the theme of power quite as effectively if not for the image of water.

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