Knowledge is Sex by Adam and Eve
Everyone knows the story of Adam and Eve: an apple of knowledge is presented as a sin to eat to keep innoncence, but Eve eats the apple from the temptation of the snake who told her about it. Knowledge is right and wrong in their actions of being naked and having sex. The Good Soldier represents knowledge in the same way as not virginal nor innocent. Knowledge is a precious device in which is a way to hide sins by ignoring the truth.
In the beginning of the novel, the narrator becomes unreliable. Dowell, the narrator, repeats “I don’t know” to everything that was happening in the story. Right after explaining he would suggest he “knows nothing — nothing in the world”. He also doesn’t know how people get information; yet, he has information. He questions how Edward got his information because “it seemed to drop out of the blue sky”. It’s like knowledge has been set into our brain, all the things we need to know about the world, and there is a little sorter who decides what things we actually need to know and what we don’t. Knowledge is nature instead of nurture because all the knowledge we need in life is already in our brain right from birth, not through the environment or the parents but through the individual. Knowledge as nature parallels to Adam and Eve since the apple just gave them knowledge instead of having to learn.
Ignorance is better than knowledge. Not knowing is first place, but ignorance is second best since I can still know but just deny the fact that I know. It is like surprise birhtday parties when obviously you know that it’s your birthday and your friends making you avoid your house by taking the scenic route, but you know there’s a birthday party. You keep passing your house and your friends are just looking into the window to make sure everyone is ready. The characters like Dowell and Edward do the same thing. They try to ignore the truth of what their affairs actually are doing to others and even God. Trying to hide sins from God, shame on them. Dowell knows his wife was cheating with Edward and yet, he asks “isn’t it true to say… I possessed a goodly apple”? This apple reference is referred to temptation and knowledge in Adam and Eve. The apple as being knowledge in which Dowell knows that his wife is unfaithful. Yet, in this text, he is reassuring himself that he truly had a faithful wife at some point in their marriage like it wasn’t all that bad, she still loved him. He wants ignorance because the knowledge that is presented is worse than not knowing at all.
Edward even wants ignorance only with his wife knowing of such affairs. Edward knew that his wife knew of the affairs he has and yet, he wanted to “preserve the virginity of his wife’s thoughts”. Knowledge is sinful. Therefore, Edward not acknowledging to his wife about the affairs, is helping her to keep her virginity. Virginity can be taken only once. Once it is gone, one cannot take it again or even get it back. It is gone. Edward wants to deny the knowledge of his wife because it makes her not pure like a virgin. Instead, it makes her taken and touched. Thus, knowledge is viewed as sex because sex is used by everyone. Once sex has happened, there is no going back to being a virgin. Thus, knowledge is taken by everyone in the novel but no one wants to admit it. No one wants to admit they have had sex. Knowledge is sex in the novel in which everyone has it but no one wants to know about it.
*Article and quotes are based from the book The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford