This essay was written based on the two texts I read during class, they were Genesis:4 and The Origins of the White’s Fathers. The latter material was suspected to be written or translated by my own instructor, which I like so much. If I had time, I would type it on later.
An arresting journey into two distinct stories between Cain and Abel
One might consider that both Genesis: Chapter 4 and its new version—The Father of the White Nation are great works of fruitful imagination and innovation, but one would have to admit that they differ a lot from each other in terms of their themes, which can be reflected by their plots, tones and the writing backgrounds. While both versions explore the same general plot and set of characters, the first version is more concerned with the moral didacticism, while the second version is more concerned with the fact that the author attempts to denigrate the identity of colonizers and simultaneously raise the status and the identifies of the colonized via changing the myth.
That Cain and Abel are siblings and Abel is killed by Cain are the similarities existing in both versions. What differentiate those two versions are that in the former version Cain was punished to wear a mark and be a vagabond by God for killing his brother, while in the latter version Cain is originally black (and so are the other human beings) and because of his misbehavior he is so terrified of God and his brother’s ghost that he begins to tremble until he becomes white. Those two different backgrounds form the foundations of the two respective versions.
To start with, the distinctive plots of two versions can best distinguish the themes of the two versions. In Genesis, Cain gets a mark from God as a punishment because he kills his brother Abel, and here the simple truth is conveyed—there is consequence, you cannot get away with the bad things you have done, so don’t do bad things or you will surely get punished. Such a truth is taught by the writer to the worshippers and aims to make them behave, which is a distinct feature of the religious book. By contrast, the new version states that all human beings are originally black (even God was implied to be black) and as consequence of his fear for murdering Cain shakes the color off his skin and becomes “as white as the underbelly of a pupa.” This is a disgusting and nauseous image, indicating that white nation’ birth was as repugnant as larvae. The writer tries to change the history of mankind by saying that white people are the products of the evil spirits, and they are the mistakes that are not supposed to come into existence yet unfortunately are created by black people’s momentarily behaving foolish and irrational. Therefore the different plots of these two stories make it easier to understand their themes.
Another evidence for discriminating the two different themes are the tones used in them. As a biblical classic, Genesis can hardly be doubted by one (especially one who is a member of religious worshippers) about the “truth” described in it due to the subject and homiletic tones it uses. The words used are brief and sound like that the narrator is recalling a history event happening long time ago, and the event and the theory is totally true out of question, which is a distinct feature of the work of the religious books. Besides, the omniscient objective narrator in the first version clearly lists what Cain and Abel do, all of these concise descriptions set the white apart from the black people in an indisputable tone, which shows the infinite wisdom of the narrator, who was actually a Jewish, and whose sole aim is to teach people about the didactic theory. This kind of narration mode allows the narrator to casually process the plot, and finally to emphasize on the point he intends to make, it works well for the worshippers as a missionary book, clearly and effortlessly preaching its religious idea, such as “You get what you sow” in this version. While in the latter version words that evoke uncertainty like “maybe”, “or maybe” were frequently used, which proves the idea that one shall take a lot more efforts to rewrite the history in order to make people convinced. But what exactly is the writer trying to convince the audience about? Notice that the tone the narrator uses is negotiable upon some unimportant details such as the characteristics of the siblings but is nonnegotiable upon the issue of the original complexity of human beings because it is a crucial criteria in this text to judge whether the black or the white people are the products of murder and the origins of sin, which may seem to be a little impulsive but feasible. Thus the tones they use do a good job in proving the differences between the two themes.
Last but not least, the different backgrounds in both versions also contribute to presenting their different themes. The former version was probably written by a Jewish living in the desert long time ago, which shows the alien and foreign side of Genesis. The writer only aimed to set down the glorious history of the past and the moral standards for its people. However, after a time it was used as a weapon by the colonizers to colonize, to conquer the colonized. By comparison, the latter version which was written by a black people hundreds of years later has semi-omniscient objective to prove what it presents. It’s easy for one to notice the narrator’s strong sentimental coloring if one knows the contexts of the story, when the slavery still existed and black people were oppressed by the colonizers. At the beginning black people had no power to fight back but with the development of the civil rights movement，black people became more aware of their human rights, they tried to protect themselves from the racism and fight back at the unreasonable attack of the white people. Since their rights were largely limited, they did not have much accesses to fight back but via retelling the myth—something that stands for the authority and can be circulated though the public, by telling the converse story of the birth of white people. The author tries to use the changed story as a weapon to gain black people’s respects and rights to be considered as equal to the white.
To recap, one can easily find out the biggest difference in those two versions lies in the themes based on the plots, the tones and the writing background. By setting the different plot—the complexity of the origin of the mankind, the converse tones used in both texts and the different settings conveyed in between the lines, the two stories clearly present their themes. While the former version gives the admonition to readers that one shall get the corresponding outcome due to what he has done, the latter one conveys the burning desire of black people to become as equal as white people and their determination and courage to fight against white people in the matter of racial discrimination in a clever way.