What does the Lula symbolize in Dutchman?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Some scholars and critics have suggested that Lula symbolizes the dangers of temptation. In this interpretation, she is cast as a kind of Eve-figure, constantly trying to tempt Clay either into sleeping with her or to exploding into a fit of rage. Either way, Lula is trying to get Clay to do the wrong thing, just as Eve tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden to defy God and eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. And just as Eve ended Adam's life in Paradise by her transgression, Lula ends Clay's life on this earth by finally coaxing him into an act of aggression.

It's notable that when we first meet Lula, we see her seductively cutting and eating an apple. Again, the parallels with the story of Adam and Eve are not hard to detect. In the book of Genesis, the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge provides Adam and Eve with knowledge of good and evil, something they'd never previously had. And Lula's apple in Dutchman eventually leads Clay to acknowledge the existence of evil in the oppressive society in which he lives. As with her Biblical counterpart, Lula is powerful and manipulative and uses her power to reveal some uncomfortable truths about the human condition.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial