A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters Characters

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A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes.

Godappears in All

The God referred to throughout "The History of the World in 10½ Chapters," by Julian Barnes, appears to be the Christian ideal of God although other faiths and cultures are mentioned. In the Christian view, God is the Father of all, the Creator of the Universe, and the Supreme Deity. God is also the father of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior to His followers.

God may be seen in many ways, through miracles, such as the appearance of the butterfly when a crew is desperately lost at sea, the rainbow as a covenant to Noah, the actions of the raven and the dove. It was God that spoke to Noah about the Great Flood and instructed him to build the Ark. The woodworm had differing tales than Noah, but along the line all seemed to agree that God had some part in the ark building as well as getting every one and thing that was left safely to shore.

God's wrath may also be seen in regards to the Great Flood or the Great Deluge that completely flooded the earth, except for a select number of animals and the family of Noah. It can also be seen in the violent weather and bad luck that befalls certain people.

God is referred to in every story whether it is directly, indirectly, or through the use of metaphor. In many of the stories it is clear that God is being referenced directly. This is seen mainly in the discussions of religion, such as in "The Wars of Religion." It is also made clear in the tales directly involving Noah's Ark - "The Stowaway", "The Mountain" and "Project Ararat."

Noahappears in The Stowaway, The Mountain

Noah was the one chosen by God to save the animals and humans from the Great Flood. Noah was said to be sage, holy, and basically beyond reproach, therefore being the perfect choice to carry out the grand mission.

Noah was instructed to build an ark and take aboard his family and two of every type of animal so that the planet could be re-inhabited without the wickedness of those left behind.

The author sees a different side of Noah, and certainly one less flattering than the one in the Bible and other texts.

The author claims that Noah was a self-righteous man with a bad temper. He was a drunken rogue that did not always work for the common good. Noah was a jealous man that did not like to be questioned, let alone confronted. Noah did not take into consideration the feelings and habitats of the animals. Instead, Noah chose to congratulate himself on his accomplishments, particularly after the ark landed at Arghuri. The man made up several titles to commend himself on a job well done as well as being one of those chosen by God.

Noah's character is brought into question by the narrator who obviously was not fond of the man.

"Noah - what point is there in not telling you the truth? - was bad-tempered, smelly, unreliable, envious, and cowardly." (Chapter 1, page16)

The narrator goes on to compare Noah to a gorilla. However, the gorilla was obviously superior to Noah in brains, grace, and strength. The narrator believes that the gorilla would have been a much better choice to take on the mission.

After the landing of the ark, Noah chose to live his last 350 years as a hedonist; drinking, passing out, and reliving his glory days on the ark.

Woodwormappears in Stowaway, The Wars of Religion

This character appears in "Stowaway" and acts as the narrator of the text.

Black Thunderappears in The Visitors

This Middle Eastern terrorist group is responsible for the deaths and mayhem in "The Visitors."

Franklin Hughesappears in The Visitors

This character is the guest lecturer about the Aphrodite Cultural Tours and the reluctant spokesperson for the terrorist group.

Bartholome Chasseneeappears in The Wars of Religion

This character is the jurist in "The Wars of Religion." The man is the representative fighting on behalf of the animals in a court of law.

Amanda Fergusson appears in The Mountain

This character is the Colonel's daughter in "The Mountain." Amanda goes on a pilgrimage, during which she hopes to save her father's soul.

Miss Logan appears in The Mountain

This character is the traveling companion to Amanda Fergusson in "The Mountain." Miss Logan is also in love with the Colonel.

Kathyappears in The Survivor

This is the main character in "The Survivor." Kathy is supposedly suffering from mental delusions.

Monsieur Gericaultappears in The Shipwreck, The Survivor

This character is responsible for capturing the shipwreck of the Medusa on canvas. Gericault is also referred to in other stories, however the spelling of his name is changed to Jerricault.

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