America: God, Gold, and Golems Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

America: God, Gold, and Golems Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Elijah Young ("The Revival")

In "The Revival," the Bainbridges come across an old man on their journey who seems to be on the verge of dying of illness. Days later, they discover his true identity: Elijah Young, the famous preacher they've come to see who is well-known for healing the sick and even raising the dead. He is a symbol of the healing power of God: only God could make such a decrepit man into such a powerful and charismatic speaker, and Elijah even exhibits this healing power himself, which he presumably channels from God. He also represents the fact that appearances can be deceiving.

The Hanging Chinaman ("Hundreds of Feet Below Daylight")

In "Hundreds of Feet Below Daylight," the white men force the Chinese men out of the mine by abusing and even killing them. Depicted in one of these scenes is a dead Chinese man hanging from a tree, a noose around his neck. This image is a symbol of the terrible atrocity committed by the Americans in the name of greed.

Ned Weeks ("Hundreds of Feet Below Daylight")

Ned Weeks, the former co-owner of the mine's enterprises, is a symbol for the corruption of greed. He will do anything to achieve the wealth he desires; as Mae Harper points out, he would gladly trample a roomful of babies to get to a gold nugget on the other side. In the end, Weeks goes crazy and shoots Skinny, Mae, and then himself. This tragic end symbolizes the complete and thorough corruption of a self-serving life on the human soul.

The Golem ("The Golem's Mighty Swing")

In "The Golem's Mighty Swing," Victor Paige convinces the baseball team to dress up their biggest player, Hershl Bloom, as the Golem, a Jewish mythical creature. In Jewish tradition, the golem is a creature imbued with life by a kabbalist, but since God is the only one who can truly give life, the golem always causes harm. This story is no exception; the Golem is the one who throws the cruel pitch that causes the stadium to erupt in outrage. The Golem thus represents the greed of man made manifest into a creature that gets out of hand, proving its ultimate counter-productivity.

The Rainstorm ("The Golem's Mighty Swing")

After the Golem provokes the outrage, the Stars of David think their lives are over because of the violent mob outside their dugout. However, just in time, rain starts to fall from the sky, and it becomes clear it's not just a passing rainstorm. Because of this rain, the mob leaves to save their stuff from becoming soaked, and the team is free to leave the city unmolested. The rain symbolizes God's providence and salvation; it is the only reason the men escaped with their lives, and it parallels the Biblical story of the flood that wiped away the sinful men on Earth.

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