Eveâ€™s Food Preparation: Art and Experience in Eden The arts of the first couple before the Fall have been extensively written on. It seems that most critics view prelapsarian art as congruous and natural to Eden, as evidence of prelapsarian splendor. Ann Torday Gulden states that art in Eden is socially neutral: â€œSurely art is innocuous [in Eden], an integral part of paradisal blissâ€ (18). Indeed, Eveâ€™s artistic activity makes Eden seem all the more delightful to the reader. However, with a careful examination of how Eveâ€™s art is perceived by the poemâ€™s male characters, it becomes evident that Eveâ€™s aesthetics do not quite fit. It is tempting for the reader, who lives in a â€œfallenâ€ world, so unequivocally in favor of artistic culture, to praise Eden for examples of cultural activity within it. However, just about every example of Eveâ€™s artistic activity is characterized by an aloofness from divine discourse. The male authoritative characters of Paradise Lost primarily ignore Eveâ€™s examples of talented artistry, giving neither praise nor disapproval. But while the lack of recognition speaks volumes about her low status, it allows her an expansive autonomy from the divinely recognized modes of Edenic worship and devotion which serve to revere God. If the authoritative male characters regard her creativity as inconsequential, then there is almost no limit to the degree of autonomous creativity she can have within that localized sphere of artistry; no one is watching her or correcting her. The way in which Eve prepares food for the dinner guest, the angel Raphael, is a prime illustration of both Eveâ€™s removal from the divine discourse and her expansion of a cultural, creative realm in which she can act, rather than follow. The first thing to recognize about the scene of Raphaelâ€™s arrival to instruct Adam and Eve is that Eve is excluded from proximity to the divine by Adam. To some degree, Adam actually forces her removal. The first one to see Raphael coming is Adam, of course. He says: Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold Eastward among the trees what glorious shape Comes this way moving; seems another morn Risen on mid-noon. Some great behest from Heaven To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe This day to be our guest. But go with speed, And what thy stores contain bring forth, and pour Abundance fit to honour and receive Our heavenly stranger... (5.308) Adamâ€™s language is unquestioning. It is clear that he knows a guest from Heaven is on his way. The speed with which he recognizes that the thing on the horizon is from Heaven shows that he has an intuitive
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