Adam & a bunch of people who aren’t Eve

Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos is extremely concerned with mapping out human reproduction and evolution from the point of view of someone tracking the million years following the 1980s.  Because this is a story about straight people in a “new,” “fresh,” or “unpopulated” environment, it is obviously going to carry Adam-and-Eve connotations (quick question- is it possible to ever shake this connotation or is it too engrained?).  Our narrator, who eagerly tells readers when and how characters are going to die, establishes quickly after his introduction that Adolf von Kleist is our “Adam.”  However, all of the women we have been introduced to in the novel are counted out as the ever-important “Eve.”  Mary is too old, Selena does not wish to pass her blindness down, and Hisako, despite the fact that she starts the novel out pregnant and will have a daughter, is for some reason not our Eve.  The narrator even makes the problematic statement that Kazakh, Selena’s seeing-eye dog, “wasn’t really a female anymore, thanks to surgery.  Like Mary Hepburn, she was out of the evolutionary game.  She wasn’t going to leave her genes to anyone” (48).  The link between motherhood and womanhood is strong in Galapagos, as the beginning of Chapter 14 lays out the pairings that will come in the future (past?).  Hisako and the childless Selena’s pairing seems like a natural progression to the claim that counting one’s self out of the evolutionary game removes womanhood.  And, spoiler alert for the first six words of chapter 28, this Adam and Eve story has not one Eve, but six.  I’m interested to see where this text will go, especially after claiming that Mary is the God in this story but not really developing this fact.  Vonnegut obviously wants readers to have this famous duo in our minds constantly while reading, so I guess we’ll find out how much more problematic it can get ; )


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