Deliverance: Four Variations of the American Adam

  • Author(s): Robert Armour
  • When: 1973-07
  • Where: Literature/Film Quarterly
  • Deliverance, both novel and film, contributes four more Adams to our mythology. It is unusual for a work to contain more than one Adam; but as we shall see, each man in Deliverance is uniquely a variation of the pattern. The elements of the Adam are there: the four men return to the naturalness of primitive America when they decide to canoe down the Cahulawassee the way the first explorers saw the country, as Lewis tells the others in the movie after they run the first rapids. Their only weapons are knives and bows and arrows. Even though they capture two guns from the mountain people, they do not allow themselves the use of either, despite their obvious advantages in the feud; instead, they bury the shotgun in the grove and throw the rifle into the river. In effect, they have sacrificed both symbols of civilization to nature.

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