Fruits of knowledge : gender roles, power, rebellion and the transformation of Eve in Philip Pullman's His Dark Material Trilogy

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cheryl Lyn Blake (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Meghan Sweeney

Abstract: Philip Pullman, an outspoken critic of Christianity, has frequently voiced his desire to overturn the core elements of the Fall; to break it down, tear it apart, and allow for a new vision of the old story. In his trilogy consisting of three novels, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, (called collectively His Dark Materials), Philip Pullman creates a universe in which consciousness (in the form of Dust) is dying. This Dust can only be saved by a second Eve, a prepubescent girl named Lyra, who will re-create the fall by being tempted into knowledge. The original story of the Fall in Genesis essentially creates unequal divisions between men and women; if Pullman’s desire is to overturn what he perceives as Christianity’s repressions, this essay investigates if Pullman has created equal gender roles in his version of the Fall. By examining power and rebellion of particularly female characters in His Dark Materials, I conclude that Pullman has not made any significant progression for female equality in his Fall, and that at the conclusion of the trilogy, Lyra has conformed into a traditional Western female gender role.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Pullman Philip 1946- The Amber Spyglass--Criticism and interpretation, Pullman Philip 1946- The Golden compass--Criticism and interpretation, Pullman Philip 1946- The Subtle knife--Criticism and interpretation
Pullman, Philip, 1946- The Golden compass -- Criticism and interpretation
Pullman, Philip, 1946- The Subtle knife -- Criticism and interpretation
Pullman, Philip, 1946- The Amber Spyglass -- Criticism and interpretation

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