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  • Titill er á ensku Garden of Eden, Garden of Hell? The Many Uses of the Symbolic Garden in Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano
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  • Útdráttur er á ensku

    Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry is a novel set in Mexico in 1938, on the verge of the Second World War, and which relates the final twenty-four hours of the life of Geoffrey Firmin, on November 1st, the Day of the Dead. Faced with a reunion with his estranged wife, Yvonne, and half-brother Hugh, Firmin nonetheless, through perpetual inebriation, destroys his chance of happiness and is eventually killed by fascists in the local police force. Based largely on Lowry’s own reality and personal truth, the novel employs the symbol of the garden to represent the wilderness present in the human soul. By using ecocritical theory as a means of analyzing the novel, the symbol of the garden expounds the correlations between disparate places as well as condensing personal realities, which in turn become symbolic of larger issues. Following this argument is the analysis of the way one person’s inner psychological turmoil is reflected onto the surrounding landscape, and how conversely an idyllic place could quell the suffering within. Lowry’s garden is an Eden gone to seed, abandoned by God. Augmenting the presence of mystical elements is the use of the Cabbala in the novel, which posits Geoffrey Firmin as a black magician who has the wrath of natural elements set against him. Finally, because of Geoffrey’s incessant inebriation, his physical, mental and emotional being is a broken system in need of a return to purity and rebirth. This in turn is emblematic of the theme in the novel of micro- and macrocosms, in that, Geoffrey is the embodiment of the state of the entire earth.

  • 12.5.2014

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