Darkness at Noon

Darkness at Noon

Christian Symbolism Symbol Analysis

Christian Symbolism Symbol Icon

Before the 1917 Russian Revolution, Orthodox Christians were the majority religion in Russia. Subsequently, the Bolsheviks in power began a process of removing the power and authority of the Church, delegitimizing it through propaganda campaigns, and requiring all members of the Party to be atheists. Darkness at Noon testifies to the imperfect, partial nature of this campaign, which was unable to stamp out many ordinary people’s attachment to their faith. Indeed, the Christian symbolism that is strewn throughout the novel underlines the irony of official atheism’s comingling with images from other belief systems. In a society that has ostensibly driven God away, characters (like the porter Wassilij) do not just espouse Christian beliefs but they also contribute to a powerfully symbolic Christian atmosphere in general. Wassilij, for one, views Rubashov as a sacrificial lamb like Jesus Christ: near the end of the novel, he mutters Bible verses to himself that recount Jesus’s final days on earth, his betrayal by his disciple Peter, and his crowning with thorns. Rubashov too comes to equate what he calls the “grammatical fiction” with a religious sensibility, as well as linking his own confinement to that of Christian monks. In arguing with Ivanov, he also talks of Dostoevsky, a famous and famously religious Russian writer, in order to propose an alternative morality to the one espoused by the Party. In general, Christian symbolism throughout the novel implies that, despite the all-powerful gaze of No. 1 and the omnipotence of the Communist Party in Russia, other ways of thinking and other belief systems still manage to evade the Party’s grasp, even if only in the most subtle of ways. At the same time, there is a way in which No. 1 himself becomes imbued with the attributes of a god or god-like figure, suggesting the persistence of the human need to divinize and worship.

Christian Symbolism Quotes in Darkness at Noon

The Darkness at Noon quotes below all refer to the symbol of Christian Symbolism. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Darkness at Noon published in 2006.
The First Hearing: 12 Quotes

The Party’s warm, breathing body appeared to him to be covered with sores—festering sores, bleeding stigmata. When and where in history had there even been such defective saints? Whenever had a good cause been worse represented? If the Party embodied the will of history, then history itself was defective.

Related Characters: Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov (speaker)
Related Symbols: Christian Symbolism
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Darkness at Noon quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
The Grammatical Fiction: 1 Quotes

“…After a short deliberation, the President read the sentence. The Council of the Supreme Revolutionary Court of Justice sentenced the accused in every case to the maximum penalty: death by shooting and the confiscation of all their personal property.”
The old man Wassilij stared at the rusty hook above his head. He murmured: “Thy will be done. Amen,” and turned to the wall.

Related Characters: Wassilij (speaker), Vera Wassiljovna (speaker), Nicholas Salmanovitch Rubashov
Related Symbols: Christian Symbolism
Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Darkness at Noon LitChart as a printable PDF.
Darkness at noon.pdf.medium

Christian Symbolism Symbol Timeline in Darkness at Noon

The timeline below shows where the symbol Christian Symbolism appears in Darkness at Noon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The First Hearing: 3
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
...during cheers for the International, for the Revolution, and for No. 1. He always says “Amen” under his breath so his daughter doesn’t hear, and then goes to bed, where a... (full context)
The Second Hearing: 7
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
Ivanov says that there’s a Christian, humane ethics, which bars arithmetic from being used for human lives, which are sacred. This... (full context)
The Third Hearing: 3
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
...have ceded to an insistence on simple, graspable dogma, a catechism with No. 1 as priest. (full context)
The Third Hearing: 4
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Change and the Laws of History Theme Icon
...to humanity. The Party holds evening classes for adults where they stress that the early Christian church led to progress because of the usefulness of Jesus’ teaching: the Party, too, can... (full context)
The Third Hearing: 6
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Change and the Laws of History Theme Icon
...he once was there. Then, Rubashov asks if the peasant remembers the story in the Bible about the tribes in the desert crying that they should return to Egypt. The peasant... (full context)
The Grammatical Fiction: 1
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
...nail where, until recently, the photo of Rubashov had hung. Wassilij used to hide a Bible under the mattress where he now lies, but after Rubashov’s arrest his daughter had found... (full context)
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
Truth, Confession, and Performance Theme Icon
Recalling Rubashov’s former life, being carried through the streets triumphantly, Wassilij mumbles a Bible verse about Jesus being mocked and given a crown of thorns. He hadn’t protested when... (full context)
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
...and puts it on the table. Glancing at it from his bed, Wassilij mumbles another Bible verse about Peter’s denial that he knows Jesus. (full context)
The Grammatical Fiction: 2
Ideology and Contradiction Theme Icon
The Individual, or the “Grammatical Fiction, vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Logical Reasoning and Bureaucracy Theme Icon
...the ideal of the Social state like medieval Popes had ruined the ideal of a Christian empire. It was the story of Richard and the Pietà that had prompted him to... (full context)