The First Bite | Book Club: Havah by Tosca Lee

Life wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t scattered with things that we regret and people that we miss. But why do we keep reliving the moments that we wish we could have done another way? One would say that it is the constant reminder of the mistakes that we make that stops us from committing them again. But does guilt really help save yourself from what you consider to be mistakes? Does it not, on the other hand, inhibit our thoughts and boundaries?

Tosca Lee’s attempt in extracting the hidden events and feelings from within the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis is a brilliant depiction of how our mind manages to convince us to blame someone for all that happens – whether that someone be you or anyone else. She tries to fill the gaps and find the answers for the questions that come into being about the story of the first man and woman according to The Bible, and in the process brings about the birth of a beautiful read, Havah: The Story of Eve

The plot follows the story of Adam and Eve from the perspective of the Mother of All Creation and tries to imagine what her life would have been like beyond what is told to us by the scriptures. 

“The words, when they came to my heart, were so gentle, and familiar — and so very sad: What is this you have done?”

When Havah wakes up the morning after indulging herself in the satisfaction of having consumed the Forbidden Fruit, she finds herself opening her eyes to a dull world that seems more detached to her than usual. Of course, this would make her conclude that eating the fruit was definitely a mistake that will result in all the hardships that follow her throughout her life.

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But was the detachment really a magical property of some fruit or the first form of guilt and regret?

Being the first of her kind in the world, she was alone in discovering the hard truths of life. It could possibly be her belief and guilt of having disobeyed God – someone who she had looked up to – that caused the fear and anxiety that she felt in the initial moments. 

“Sometime before sleep it occurred to me that the true nature of being without might mean never knowing what one lacked.”

The first regret will always be the most significant one in our lives. It shows us that we are not the perfect people we thought we were and it shapes our identity. Havah might have had many regrets over the centuries that she remains alive, but her first regret is the core around which her whole life revolves. Havah’s first act of disobeying God was the first chance there ever was for mankind to experience guilt. She had no one to tell her that it wasn’t her fault or to move on; she didn’t even know that was possible. 

So is it impossible that the guilt of triggering their hardship leads her into being more troubled than God’s punishment?

“Even though he did not hear me sometimes so that I had to repeat my questions a second or third time. By then my tone was as abrasive as the coarse hair or the boar. How he annoyed me!”

From the very moment Adam had shifted the blame completely on to her, an invisible crack was formed in their relationship – something that couldn’t seem to repair itself. The resentment that Adam felt towards Havah made him treat her like an annoying child, never to be taken seriously. Havah too could never let go of Adam’s betrayal as it constantly keeps playing in her mind.

But what caused the serious downfall of their relationship was the fact that they decided never to talk about the event back in the garden. Perhaps if they had just taken time to tell one another what was causing their distress, they would have been able to work on their relationship and make it flourish.

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The first thought that anyone would have when they read about the couple’s problems in their relationship is that it was all a part of their punishment for defying God. But the wheels had started turning even before God had banished his beloved creation from a life of comfort.

In fact, it had started the very moment Havah had opened her eyes for the first time after she and her partner committed the first act of defiance of mankind. God doesn’t seem to have anything to do with how Adam and Havah feel about each other. 

Think about it. In the end, wasn’t it guilt and betrayal that caused it all?

About the Author

Uma-Photo

Uma Anilkumar is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in English Studies. She is often captivated by new, interesting ideas, especially that of pop culture and is always in search of learning something new.  A lover of all kinds of art, she is a writer and poet during her free time and dreams of publishing her own work in the future.

 

Author: Mith Books

Mith Books | The Merchant of Stories | Timeless Tales from Around the World

One thought

  1. An excellent write-up!

    I have always loved listening to and reading Adam and Eve’s story written in all the scriptures.

    Yes, indeed it was the guilt and betrayal that caused it all. Totally agree with you Uma.
    So very true.

    But somewhere deep down I sometimes wonder- doesn’t it all come down to destiny and free-will too? What if it was destined to be that way and what if it was Eve’s free-will to eat the forbidden fruit?

    Some tales are indeed timeless pieces. Thank you for discussing this book. Will surely read it sometime soon.

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