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The Studdocks

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The Studdocks

Postby jo » 06 Dec 2009, 19:44

I've been on rather a THS phase the last few months, until, that is, my copy fell apart in my hands to such an extent that even sellotape would not help (I've still got the pieces :)). It is by far my favourite of Lewis's Space Trilogy.... so many fascinating characters! Would anyone be interested in discussing them with me?

I'd like to start with the Studdocks. I am not quite sure why I am starting here because, compared with many of the other characters, I find them strangely colourless and even, sometimes, not terribly likeable. Young though he is, Mark is certainly a bit of a prig and one with some rather unappealing character flaws. Jane is more likeable but does not seem to have much 'fire' about her. It is not difficult, really, to see why the couple have such antipathy towards one another! One can only wonder why they married in the first place, though a hint is offered in the first few pages of the book in which we are told that before their marriage, there was 'not enough time for all that they had to say to one another' (my paraphrase as I dunno where the relevant piece of my poor broken book is to look it up properly).

So .. feelings on the Studdocks?
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby agingjb » 07 Dec 2009, 11:39

Two things: before I say too much about the Studdocks, can we assume here that we don't need to avoid "spoilers"; the Studdocks are very much in the centre of the plot.

And, I always see the Studdocks as part of a group of married couples, with whom they contrast, and interact: the Dimbles and Dennistons of course, the Maggs and even the "non-couple" MacPhee and Grace Ironside of whom Ransom says "If you two quarrel much more, I think I'll make you marry one another".
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby jo » 07 Dec 2009, 19:10

Heh yeah I was assuming that everyone reading the thread would have read the book :).

I just find the Studdocks strangely colourless really, in a way that is hard to define. Ivy Maggs and her husband - who we see only for one scene or so - seem so much more 'real' to me. I think that that is why it is difficult for me to care too much about what happens to Mark ... he is so lacking in personality to me!
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby archenland_knight » 07 Dec 2009, 21:49

I think they were supposed to lack color and personality. They were two people being completely taken in by their environment, by those around them. They had no personality of their own, but they were trying on an almost deliberate level to absorb one from their surroundings. I think Lewis was using them to reflect all those today who do the exact same thing and are led down paths that people who know who they are, who have a strong sense of self, naturally reject.

As Screwtape said, "As prelude to separating a man from the Enemy, you first want to separate him from himself." ("Enemy" to Screwtape meant "God".)
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby jo » 07 Dec 2009, 21:58

Actually that is an interesting perspective and one I had not considered. I wonder, then, what happened to them after the book ended? We know that they were reconciled, presumably permanently, to one another and to the church. Did each find strength in what they had experienced and become the person that they ought to have been previously?
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby rumzy » 09 Dec 2009, 17:34

archenland_knight wrote:They were two people being completely taken in by their environment


I agree and I think this was a major point that Lewis was making with the Studdocks and with many of the other characters. Ransom remembers Devine, in Silent Planet, as being the kind of person who repeats catch phrases and cliches so that he will fit in and also appear to be superior to others. Mark plays the same game except that he is a follower of the ones who got in early, like Devine and Curry. As the story progresses, we see that the top people at the NICE have the same, creepy lack of self. I think that is why Mark is elected to move up in the end and undergoes that weird training: the others recognize his aptitude for losing his personality.
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby jo » 09 Dec 2009, 17:51

That actually raises an interesting question, which is WHY Mark was considered fit to become a 'Master' when the Fairy, for instance, was not. Earlier in the novel it had been hinted that the NICE was mainly interested in Mark because of Jane's ability but this turns out to be not wholly true. What does Mark have that the Fairy does not? Or, could the question be more aptly put as 'What does Mark lack that the Fairy has?'.

In part I suspect that the answer is that Mark would be prepared to offer full and unswerving obedience to the NICE and hence the macrobes whereas the Fairy has no interest in such things. For Fairy Hardcastle, the NICE represents the perfect opportunity to persue her sexually sadistic tendencies and nothing more. She is not, unlike Mark, really interested in it and its ideology; merely what it can offer to her.
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby rumzy » 09 Dec 2009, 18:46

jo wrote:In part I suspect that the answer is that Mark would be prepared to offer full and unswerving obedience to the NICE and hence the macrobes whereas the Fairy has no interest in such things. For Fairy Hardcastle, the NICE represents the perfect opportunity to persue her sexually sadistic tendencies and nothing more. She is not, unlike Mark, really interested in it and its ideology; merely what it can offer to her.


Right. Hardcastle is not a follower. The leaders of NICE are those who have surrendered their minds to the demonic power, the real "head" of the organization. Hardcastle and the other underlings actually believe that Alcasan's head is a new type of inorganic human existence, and they think they are working for something, even if that something is simply personal advancement. Wither and Frost, on the other hand, know that they have no real purpose but to obey the higher power and to cause pain and destruction to humanity. They see that Mark also has no sense of purpose, hardly even personal ambition; he just wants be "in," and therefore he will be obedient.
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby jo » 09 Dec 2009, 19:22

I believe that somewhere it says that Fairy knows about the macrobes but is simply not interested, though I might be confusing her with a different character.

I guess that every secret police is full of people like her, though maybe females are rarer than males.
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby agingjb » 04 Jan 2010, 09:11

Back when I first read THS, I remember talking to a friend about the question, left open (it seems) at the end of the book, of who would be the next Pendragon. There were the various obvious possibilities - Dr Dimble, Arthur Denniston, or someone not in the narrative at all, but my friend suggested Mark Studdock.

It would be a pleasant irony if the powers of darkness, having lost an extensive "cell" had also, by ultimately failing to corrupt Mark, created a powerful adversary on the good side.
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby jo » 04 Jan 2010, 19:21

I assumed that the Pendragon would be the child that Camilla was carrying. Ransom hints as much at some point, saying that she carried the future of Lourdes in her body (I've misspelled that and am too lazy to look up the spelling )
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby jo » 04 Jan 2010, 19:24

Logres?
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby Kanakaberaka » 11 Jan 2010, 04:24

jo wrote:I'd like to start with the Studdocks. I am not quite sure why I am starting here because, compared with many of the other characters, I find them strangely colourless and even, sometimes, not terribly likeable. ...
So .. feelings on the Studdocks?


They are not merely colourless. Unlike all the other major characters in the novel, Lewis does not bother to give the slightest description of them. The only reason we know that Mark is clean shaven is that he cuts himself and needs to use cotton to cover it up on his way to Belbury. I have a feeling that Lewis omitted their appearances to make us see ourselves as Mark and Jane, warts and all since neither they nor any of us are truely likeable at times more often than not.
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby rumzy » 11 Jan 2010, 17:14

Kanakaberaka wrote: I have a feeling that Lewis omitted their appearances to make us see ourselves as Mark and Jane

That's a very interesting idea. I can't remember imagining myself in Merlin's shoes or even Dimble's, but I have often put myself in the place of Mark and wondered about the mystery of my own redemption.
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Re: The Studdocks

Postby jo » 11 Jan 2010, 19:04

Yes, that is an interesting observation. We know that Jane is considered to be an attractive woman - she is described as 'striking' at one point, but to the best of my recollection we don't even know what her hair colour is. Many of the other characters' physical appearances are described in close detail so I can only presume that the omission of the Studdock couple's appearance was deliberate on Lewis's part.
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