Sunday, October 28, 2007


Prelapsarian: occuring before the fall; characteristic of innocence, sinlessness

The narrator evokes images of a prelapsarian Paradise in Oronooko to describe the world of the indians. Of their clothing she writes: "apron they wear just before 'em , as Adam and Even did the fig leaves." Of their purity she writes: "though they are all thus naked...there is not to be seen an indecent action or glance." In their simplicity the narrator observes, "so like our first parents before the Fall, it seems as if they had no wishes...these people represented to me an absolute idea of the first state of innocence, before man knew how to sin."

Behn exaggerates the glorification of the naked, ignorant, and simple to victimize the decandent, rational, and--most emphatically--the religious. She writes, "Religion would here but destroy that tranquillity they possess by ignorance, and laws would but teach 'em to know offence of which now they have no notion." In other words, Christianity doesn't bring morality--it merely declares the existence of sin. Like Rochester, she inverts the Great Chain of being by putting slaves or non-whites at the top of the hierarchy to criticize the value vain man puts on reason.


P.J. said...

The participant who posted this term needs to include his or her name to receive credit. Scout's honor - PJE

10B participant said...

Andrea Yamsuan!