According to Terry Eagleton, “It is in the significant silences of a text, in its gaps and absences that the presence of ideology can be most positively felt.” Here ideology can be understood to mean the “dominant way of seeing the world” or the “historically relative structure of perception which underpins the power of a particular social class” (Terry Eagleton, Marxism and Literary Criticism). Thus, Eagleton is declaring that the dominant beliefs of a society that are used to instill the ruling class with power can best be seen through absences. The profound meaning of Eagleton’s statement can be seen in Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Count Baldassare Castiglione’s The Courtier, and Sir Philip Sidney’s “Sonnet 9” from Astrophil and Stella in all of which the absence of women serves to reveal the focus on the male dominated order and this order’s corresponding fear of the threat that women pose.
Despite the fact that the Hebrew and Greek Bibles are bound together into one text, the two function in ways that are often difficult to reconcile. For instance, the two sets of scriptures involve radically different stories and characters that make them seem, at least initially, to have more points of divergence than convergence. However, the Greek Bible can ultimately be understood as responding to the struggles that the Hebrew Bible has with the meaning of God’s covenantal promise of land for his people. This covenantal promise of land frames the entirety of the Hebrew Bible as is evidenced by the fact that, after it is first given by God to Abraham, it is notably repeated to each of the successive patriarchs. Thus, when the Israelites are exiled from the land of the covenant, questions inevitably arise as to what the existing relationship is between the Israelites and their God, and, without answers to these questions, the narrative simply ends. The introduction of the Greek Bible into the narrative can then be understood as seeking to resolve these issues surrounding land by recasting the promise in terms of a metaphysical kingdom. The Greek Bible, in turn, enacts this recasting through the repetition of type scenes from the Hebrew Bible in the Greek Bible. Thus, the writings in the Greek Bible are responding to the covenant problem in the Hebrew Bible by taking what was rooted in the physical and moving it to the metaphysical, which ultimately culminates in the Hebrew Bible’s promise of physical land becoming a promise of a metaphysical kingdom.
I thought I had paid for everything. Not like the woman pays and pays and pays. No idea of retribution or punishment. Just exchange of values (Hemingway 152).
In this passage from Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Jake’s recognition of the societal need for the containment of women becomes apparent. Here, Jake realizes that women are engaged in a system in which they must constantly pay for what they receive. From this notion of constant payment, Jake then makes a sharp contrast with the system that he himself is a part of where payments are a simple exchange of values. This contrast highlights the way in which women are part of a system where payments are founded on ideas of retribution and punishment. The woman must not only give to receive, but she must also be punished in her payments. It is then from Jake’s recognition of this universal need for women to not only pay, but be punished, that the novel begins to explore issues concerning the containment of Brett, the novel’s leading lady.