Category: Religion | Type: Historical | Title: David Copperfield (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: I Am Born

One of the three sons of Noah, "and of them was the whole earth overspread" (Genesis 9: 19).

After the flood waters receded—and the Ark and the ocean govern Dickens's use of the name—Noah became a farmer. What then follows has nothing to do with the Ham in the novel. Noah planted a vineyard and one night became drunk. Ham accidentally came upon his father naked, breaking a taboo among the ancient Hebrews. Ham told his two brothers, Japheth and Shem, and they contrived to throw a garment over Noah while averting their eyes. Each of the three sons was destined to settle a specific geographical region, Ham's being Canaan, or Egypt. When Noah awoke he said, "Cursed Canaan; a servant of servants shall he [Ham] be unto his brethren."  

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