whoops I’m inordinately obsessed with the song Abraham’s Daughter by Arcade Fire and now I have to tell you all why I love it so much even though it’s really obvious, my love must be publicly declared like a major or a coronation
I mean the story of Abraham and Isaac is canonically the worst, you know, Abraham wanted a son, God eventually gave him a legitimate son Isaac with his wife Sarah, God worried that Abraham loved Isaac more than God or whatever and told him to sacrifice Isaac to God’s glory, Abraham said okie dokie and led Isaac to slaughter and at the last minute an angel flew to stop Abraham’s blade and said JK SACRIFICE THIS LAMB INSTEAD GOOD JOB GOOD PARENTING, and Lord knows where Sarah was during all of this nonsense
and it’s a story all about men’s relationships and virtues and the hierarchy between men filled with violence and direct dominating power and no women, no women at all!
and then in the Hunger Games, which also inspired this song apparently and for which soundtrack it was released, Katniss is a symbol without a voice, a woman operating in an increasingly limited sphere of agency, like this series is all about the choices Katniss increasingly doesn’t get to make. Children are sacrificed, and to save her younger sibling Katniss becomes one of them, and her younger sibling is sacrificed all the same. Men still create the structures and define the choices of Katniss’ world, like even in her romantic life it’s a “"choice”“ between two men who symbolize and create two different potential realities for Katniss, both men telling her what she should do
And then this song, Abraham is leading Isaac to the slaughter and he has a daughter, an unnecessary unwanted unnamed prelude to Isaac (who is the symbol without a voice), Isaac who began the whole string of female-less begetting, men somehow breathing out other men like mitosis, that in the New Testament will lead to Jesus. And Abraham’s daughter is silent and hiding, but then she becomes, she raises her voice, she stops this story in its tracks. She tells the angel of the Lord, when he demands to know her identity, that she has none, that she is no one, that she was never allowed to be. But still she speaks. Katniss has no choice but to throw herself on the altar in her sibling’s place, but Abraham’s daughter tears apart this entire structure. She raises her bow to the angel of the Lord, who cries, “how darest you, child, defy your father”— your father Abraham and the Lord your father, who commanded this.
How dare she, but she holds firm, weapon in hand, destroying this lesson of male authority and obedience, defying God and her father— you better let young Isaac go.