For my final post on this novel, I wanted to look into what seem to be the more obvious allusions, and yet they form the basis of the idea and beliefs of the God’s Gardeners. The title The Year of the Flood refers to the belief of the GG’s that a “waterless flood” will come and wipe out much of the earth, or at least much of humanity. They prepare for this time so that they will survive and be able to help in re-building the earth in a manner that respects animals and celebrates and protects nature. They don’t seem to have any idea of what this flood will be or what it will look like, or even when it might come.

It is clear that the GG’s were right, as most humans die from the virus while no animal is affected, and quite soon after the signs of nature taking back the earth can be seen with animals going wild and plants growing unhindered.The title comes from the fact that while the plot takes place over several years, the narrative is really just a year (or less than a year likely) right after the flood occurred following Ren and Toby trying to survive, and they flash back to times before the flood.

They never state how this belief in an essential Armageddon came about, although considering the convergence of brilliant ex-scientists with strong religious belief, it is likely that they saw similarities in their society with that in looking back on the story of the Biblical flood. In that story, God had judged his creation and deemed it to have failed, and (like many scientists) he decided to destroy the world and start over. So he spoke to the one righteous man and had him build an ark on which to save his family and two of every animal. Then He caused it to rain and flood above the highest mountain so all the evil died. In the end the waters go down, and the Ark comes to rest on Mount Ararat.

GG’s looked at the world and saw the evil in it, and saw that the evil was ever increasing, and so believed that God would once again wipe it all away. They called themselves the Ark’s though, and the animals on the ark were simply memories of names. They also made “Ararats” which were caches of survival supplies that they would need when the flood came. Clearly they named them after Mount Ararat, which was the savior of Noah and the ark, because the caches will serve as their saviors when society implodes.

As my final thought for this course, I’d just like to note the connection between the two books I studied. King took the story of Noah and satirized it, raising the importance of woman and showing respect for animals by allowing them to speak. Atwood took the story and turned it into a modern possibility, but here no man is spoken to by God, and the survivors are not the most religious, but those who all along had the strongest survival instincts (Ren, Zeb, Toby) or the most knowledge and intellect about the forces working to destroy humanity (much of the MaddAddam group).

Interesting that both authors took this story – one so integrated into collective conscience of this society – and used it to comment on religion, nature, science, the role of women, the clash of culture, the importance of animals and the future. I think ultimately, as Canadians, they know the ease with which most of their readers would connect to that story, and with connection would be further drawn into the story and feel the full force of the commentary on such diverse and important issues.

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