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Review and Summary

Bladorthin
The Shire


Dec 31 2008, 7:41pm


Views: 117
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Review and Summary [In reply to] Can't Post

I am presently reading "Till We Have Faces", by C.S Lewis. I find it difficult to express my true feelings on books, as they are frequently contradicted, or overwhelmed by critical synopsi that are thought out better than my own. Nevertheless, I proceed.

This is the myth of Cupid, Orual and Psyche retold from the perspective of Christian philosophy. I have not encountered this tale before, and thus have no premise for comparison to other tellings. My concern is more with the paths of moral development, key in this book, that ought to be common to all men.

The central themes are illustrated by means of placing them within the context of a barbaric, pre-Christian world, this being Glome, a realm god-fearing, and primitive in its piety.

It would be wrong to say that the characters are but devices for the presentation of a point of seeming profundity. Likewise, place plays a deeper role than mere place. The drama is strongly reliant upon the deeply human persona of the characters. In a word, moral conflict and characterization mesh so as to be wholly dependent upon one another. I say something likely common to all good story, but here it is better, again, deeper.

I have not before read a book that so closely peruses the necessary fundamentality of internal conflict to story progression. Purely human response lends profound realism to the tale. I'm being clear as mud. Reason if of utmost importance to the story. Thought, logic, illogic, feeling all reside at the story forefront. Its aspect conforms nearly flawlessly to pure, real world, human nature, on a deep, tragic level.

All this is better told by the telling (or summarization) of the tale. Psyche is born, beautiful intom a world of barbarism. Her sole companions of any relational value are the Fox, a Greek, characterized by a humanistic outlook, and Orual, Psyche's ugly stepsister, daughter of the King of Glome, who possessively, harmfully loves Psyche.

The conflict is as follows. Psyche is taken from Orual and the Fox in order to be sacrificed to the Brute, god of the Mountain. This is done in an attempt to satiate Ungit whose sanctity has been violated due to the worship that Psyche receives. Glome has incurred Ungit's wrath.

On the eve of her death, Orual persuades Bardia, captain of the King's guard, to allow her to speak to Psyche, who is under house arrest. She enters, and speaks to Psyche in an effort to comfort her, but finds her offerings, not unwanted, but unnecessary, vain. Psyche has, in a sense, progressed unto a place of personal peace and acceptence of her plight. Orual perceives this as Psyche's first step in a process of what is to her unwanted maturation in the form of freedom that she is herself afraid to experience. (don't mind my redundency). Psyche has escped Orual's selfish jurisdiction. Her possessive love of Psyche is not the freeing, unselfish love that is real love, for the benefit of the other at all times, but a self-centered love clad in the guise of benefit for the other, harmful control that strives to gratify our desire for the other to conform to our wants.

A signal has been arranged prior to Orual's entry to alert her to the coming of others who cannot know of her being with Psyche. Bardia knocks three times on the door, and Orual departs. (I failed to mention, before being permitted to enter, Orual assailed Bardia with a blade from the armory. Bardia is moved by her devotion, and allows her entry.)

Psyche is brought out to be sacrificed the next day. She is bedecked with unbecoming paints and drugged nearly to incoherence. A great following goes with her to the place of sacrifice, a Tree by the Mountain. There she is left to be taken by the Shadowbrute, left by a father he only then sees her for who and what she is, but is incapable of losing face before his people by recalling the sacrifice. She is bound to the Tree with an iron band.

Orual does not attend the sacrifice, being pained by injury done her by her monstrous father. Further, the women of the palace were prohibited from attending.
In time, in comes into Orual's mind that she ought to bury the remains of her sister. This is all she places between herself and utter desolation of spirit. Her selfishness is reexercised when she pointedly avoids making the trip merely as a means of retaining some connection of things pertaining to Psyche. She is unwilling to complete this last, conjured and facadial severence.

I'll now try to shorten this. She goes to the Mountain with Bardia, and finds Psyche living, though in tattered garb and in the wild. strangely, she appears to be in better helth and strength than ever before.

Orual and Psyche talk together, but this quickly devolves into ravings on the part of Orual, for Psyche speaks of a wondrous lover who bore her away from the Tree, to a palace that no human mind could have conceived of.

The particulars are many and varied, but be it sufficint to say that 1.) Orual denies the existence of such a thing and 2.) This is borne chiefly of her selfish love of Psyche. Psyche is not mad, nor is she in poor health. She professes to be living in the uttermost state of bliss and contenment. She has reestablished her life apart from Orual's control, instead dwelling with an unseen lover. Psyche says she has found fulfillment and freedom, having now woken from the "dream" of life.

Orual rebels against Psyche's new-found freedom and fulfillment, charging her with madness, when it is abundantly clear she is not. She exhibits ininitely more self control than Orual, infinitely greater surety. Orual perceives that she is more greatly bound than is Psyche.

And now I'll leave you to read the rest. I've already spoiled a great part of the novel. But you'll see Orual, whether Psyche be mad or sane, fall into such depravity of "love" that you'll wonder if it's much better than hatred in its effects. My observations can undoubtedly be broadened by input from those brighter or wiser than I.

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth...

Gen. 1:1

There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar...

-The Silmarillion



(This post was edited by Bladorthin on Dec 31 2008, 7:50pm)

Subject User Time
"Read the books you already own!": The Weekly Book Review Thread, New Year's Edition a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Dec 31 2008, 4:23pm
    No more books til we've read the ones we've got!! Jazmine Send a private message to Jazmine Dec 31 2008, 4:35pm
        Sister of Another Mother!!! a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Dec 31 2008, 4:45pm
    Anathem and War for the Oaks Laerasėa Send a private message to Laerasėa Dec 31 2008, 5:22pm
        Emma Bull & Neil Gaiman are good friends Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Dec 31 2008, 8:02pm
    We can only choose what to do with the books we are given Lily Fairbairn Send a private message to Lily Fairbairn Dec 31 2008, 5:49pm
    Working my way through my book Christmas gifts Elberbeth Send a private message to Elberbeth Dec 31 2008, 6:19pm
    Christmas reading Nienna Send a private message to Nienna Dec 31 2008, 6:54pm
    A new book I got for Christmas: "Nathan Hale" by M. Williams Phelps Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Dec 31 2008, 7:22pm
    Review and Summary Bladorthin Send a private message to Bladorthin Dec 31 2008, 7:41pm
        another interesting take on the story Annael Send a private message to Annael Dec 31 2008, 9:46pm
    I know what you mean! Compa_Mighty Send a private message to Compa_Mighty Dec 31 2008, 7:47pm
        Have you thought about the bathroom? Aunt Dora Baggins Send a private message to Aunt Dora Baggins Dec 31 2008, 8:23pm
            the used-book store is my salvation Annael Send a private message to Annael Dec 31 2008, 9:50pm
    The Indigo King Magpie Send a private message to Magpie Dec 31 2008, 8:08pm
    Kushiel's Mercy (and a book recommendation on Christian mysticism) Annael Send a private message to Annael Dec 31 2008, 9:34pm
        **takes notes a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Dec 31 2008, 10:08pm
            another book recommendation, then Annael Send a private message to Annael Dec 31 2008, 10:15pm
            Christian mysticism? *perks up* Kyriel Send a private message to Kyriel Jan 1 2009, 12:32am
                **takes more notes a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Jan 1 2009, 2:01am
                I went to a lecture Annael Send a private message to Annael Jan 1 2009, 4:21am
                    Actually, it can be a lot funnier than that Kyriel Send a private message to Kyriel Jan 1 2009, 1:07pm
                        we had a whole lecture about Annael Send a private message to Annael Jan 1 2009, 4:50pm
                *copies notes from a.s.* Menelwyn Send a private message to Menelwyn Jan 1 2009, 9:05pm
        Did you read Kushiel's Mercy Ataahua Send a private message to Ataahua Dec 31 2008, 11:43pm
            hard Annael Send a private message to Annael Jan 1 2009, 4:16am
    Oh dear. Would you believe (and forgive me for reading) Tintallė Send a private message to Tintallė Jan 1 2009, 2:35am
        at the risk of being a "reverse snob"...or something, I think a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Jan 1 2009, 10:28pm
        no judgment here Annael Send a private message to Annael Jan 2 2009, 12:41am
            There's an interesting split in the fandom (some Twilight spoilers) entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Jan 2 2009, 2:24am
                well . . . Annael Send a private message to Annael Jan 2 2009, 3:31pm
                    I think the approach was the same for all three entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Jan 2 2009, 3:57pm
                That's not what I hated about the fourth book. Laitholiel_the_SeaElf Send a private message to Laitholiel_the_SeaElf Jan 3 2009, 4:07am
                    I can understand that (book four spoilers) entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Jan 3 2009, 4:33am
        I loved the Twilight series entmaiden Send a private message to entmaiden Jan 2 2009, 2:13am
    How Fiction Works. N.E. Brigand Send a private message to N.E. Brigand Jan 1 2009, 11:19pm
        Cather and Robinson a.s. Send a private message to a.s. Jan 2 2009, 12:56am
    I have! bearwen Send a private message to bearwen Jan 5 2009, 8:48pm

 
 
 

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