The Wine of Astonishment

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Significance of the Book’s Title

“God don’t give you more than you can bear.” The opening line of the novel suggests that it is a deeply rooted religious novel. As the story unfolds, we explore the religious journey that the afflicted Spiritual Baptists in Bonasse have to embark on, in efforts to restore their rights to practise their faith.

The title of the novel, The Wine of Astonishment can be analysed in two ways. Firstly, the literal translation of ‘The Wine of Astonishment’ stems from the meanings of the words ‘wine’ and ‘astonishment.’ Wine is an alcoholic beverage typically made of fermented grape juice and is usually bitter. Astonishment refers to something unexpected. Combining the meanings, one can deduce that the Wine of Astonishment refers to something bitter and unexpected.

As one of the major themes in the novel is struggle, we can interpret the wine to imply bitterness – the hardships and ‘sour’ experiences the Spiritual Baptists had to withstand and astonishment – the unexpected. Therefore, the Wine of Astonishment can literally mean an unexpected hardship.

Secondly, if analysed from a biblical perspective, the phrase ‘the wine of astonishment’ is mentioned in Psalm 60:3 - ‘ Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.’ To David, the psalmist, in Psalm 60, he felt as though God withheld His protection, that God had turned his back on them because when the Israelites were at war away in the North, they were invaded in the south. It appeared as though instead of granting them the wine of blessing, God had rejected them unexpectedly. This was God’s way of testing the faith of his people. He made them endure unexpected hardship to see just how strong they were. In the novel, Eva knows that the trials they experience was God’s challenge to them. It seemed as though God rejected them and showered them with tribulations but real help comes from God alone and when a...
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