The Garden of Eden

Women and Writing in The Garden of Eden

In The Garden of Eden, David Bourne retreats into his writing to escape the complications of his life, complications located predominantly in the actions and moods of his young wife, Catherine. He keeps a space all his own in which he writes; a daily regimen regulates his work practices. He muses, “If you cannot respect the way you handle your life then certainly respect your trade. You know about your trade at least” (148). There is comfort in having something all his own that he understands well and can control. Yet Catherine attempts at every turn to undermine this one thing that he has, to cheapen it or appropriate it for herself. Marita, however, is appreciative and respectful of David's work; she is not jealous of or threatened by his talent. With Marita he no longer must guard himself against incessant insecurity and jealousy; he willingly shares with her the ordered, insular world of his writing and makes himself vulnerable in a new way. His understanding of people and how best to interact with others in the world is altered, if only temporarily, and he is able to tap into a part of his writing previously unknown to him.

In Africa, David learned to “never tell anyone anything” (181). One cannot...

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