In a literary approach to the story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, the text itself is the primary focus. In order to understand the text to its fullest, the reader must read attentively, formulate thoughtful questions on the text, and animate the evocative text with imagination and creativity. Just when I thought I had a substantial grasp on the narrative text, David M. Gunn carefully explicated Genesis 19 and gave me much more to consider than I had originally caught on to. .
In observation of how to better read a narrative text I expected to see a much more in depth breakdown of the significance of the characters, plot, and setting. Therefore, the intense dissecting of the text for this approach did not surprise me, but rather appeased me. In Gunn's example, he focuses on the self-formulated questions of plot and character as the most significant part of the study. He sees relevance in the connecting order of events that occur in the story and furthermore, asks the question, "Who desires what and when?" in order to distinguish the interlocking plots of each character to a larger scale plot. This new treatment broadens the character of Genesis 19. For instance, each character is said to have their own simple model of exposition, conflict, climax, and resolution. These are defined by first analyzing the desire of the character, followed by what gets in the way of this characters" desires, and lastly how the desires find resolution. Gunn shows us the breakdown of desire in YHWH and Abraham which ultimately result in YHWH's destruction of the city ceasing the outcries of distress from Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham learns the lesson that his God will execute justice in due time when it is called for. .
Continuing to shine new light on some of the controversies of this passage, Dunn offers some new insights on many of the characters in Genesis 19.