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Chapter Five

A study of a book by GK Chesterton.

Chapter Five

Postby The Bigsleep J » 03 Mar 2006, 11:22

Sorry about the brief study but my time this week is incredibly limited. Besides, I couldn't think of much else about the chapter.
*****
This chapter begins with Syme meeting the first of the Anarchists – the Secretary who has a strange smile and who holds the position of Monday. He leads Syme to Leicester square and informs Syme on the way that they will be taking their meeting in a very public place. When they reach the square Syme sees the balcony on which the meeting is taking place – he is just in time for breakfast.

But he also sees Sunday, the President of the Anarchist Council. He’s a gigantic man who is literally “too big to be seen” at first. Syme realizes immediately that this is the President whom everyone in the party fears.

He also meets each member of the Council of Days. There’s Gogol, called Tuesday. There’s Wednesday, who’s the Marquis de St. Eustache. Friday is Professor de Worms, the nihilist who looks like a walking corpse, and Saturday, the frightful Doctor Bull. These are the men who promised to destroy the world, but that’s the opening of the next chapter… ;)

***

I don’t really have many thoughts on this chapter, strangely. :) But it certainly is the chapter where the story really begins. Up to now the tale had been slightly eccentric, but now begins the 2nd phase of the story where things begin to get interesting; or rather just plain weird, mostly because of Sunday and the Paradoxical descriptions Chesterton uses for him. I wonder if Chesterton is maybe suggesting that the nature of God is more paradox than plain facts.

Also it is quite possible that each of the characters in the story represents something about modern the modern world? (we all know who Sunday is) Is the Secretary the Anarchist an embodiment of Pessimism? Is the Marquis some kind of monarchial autocracy that still weigh down its power? The Professor de Worms is most likely just plain nihilism. I can't think of others, and it may be just perhaps that they don't represent anything consider the truth behind them.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to your suggestions. :)
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re: Chapter Five

Postby The Pfifltrigg » 04 Mar 2006, 02:52

Is there a connection between the caracatures (that is what they are, after all) and the days they represent? Per (or more precisely, counter to) the nursery rhyme below, or some other connection?

The rhyme:
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child must work for a living,
But the child that's born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good and gay.
False ideas may be refuted indeed by argument, but by true ideas alone are they expelled. — Apologia Pro Vita Sua: Cardinal Newman
Freedom lost and then regained bites with deeper fangs than freedom never in danger. — Cicero
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. — Ray Bradbury
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Leicester Square meeting

Postby Kanakaberaka » 11 Mar 2006, 06:33

I looked up some information about Leicester Square in London. It appears to be much like our Times Square here in NYC. Both are entertainment centers of world renown. There's even a "TKTS" booth selling half price theater tickets near both. Although there were no movie theaters in Leicester Square back when Chesterton wrote Thursday the area had more than it's share of stage productions.
Here's what it looked like back around 1880 :

Image

I am sure that Chesterton would be more familiar with the way it appears in this photo than it's present look. That's a statue of Shakespeare at the center of the square.

Leicester Square is located between Piccadilly and Covent Garden, just north of Trafalgar Square. So it is easy to see the humor in having a meeting of anarchists in an area where so many people pass by all day and night long. A very unconventional place to conspire to say the least.
Also, there is the foreign influence which Chesterton mentioned. In addition to the Alhambran look of the place, there are some of the best Chinese restaurants in London nearby.
so it goes...
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Re: Leicester Square meeting

Postby lee_merrill » 11 Mar 2006, 19:59

Kanakaberaka wrote:I looked up some information about Leicester Square in London. It appears to be much like our Times Square ...

Neat!

And one aspect of this chapter is that the nightmare begins, and yet it is such believable place, it has so many incidental details that are consistent both with a sense of reality, and with a nightmare. Quite an accomplishment, it would seem! For example, here:

"For the man remained more still than would have been natural if a stranger had come so close. He was as motionless as a wax‑work, and got on the nerves somewhat in the same way."

Blessings,
Lee
"As Macdonald said, 'No one loves because he sees reason, but because he loves.'" (C.S. Lewis)
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re: Chapter Five

Postby The Bigsleep J » 16 Mar 2006, 07:46

Thanks for all the replies - I'm sorry I couldn't get to them sooner, but I've been... under the weather. I'll reply to them soon. :) Thanks.
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Re: re: Chapter Five

Postby The Bigsleep J » 16 Mar 2006, 08:38

The Pfifltrigg wrote:Is there a connection between the caracatures (that is what they are, after all) and the days they represent? Per (or more precisely, counter to) the nursery rhyme below, or some other connection?

The rhyme:
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child must work for a living,
But the child that's born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good and gay.


Hmmmm. In a way I can see a connection, but it seems to be inverted. Monday, the Secretary, has a spasm in his face that doesn't really make him 'fair of face' while Gogol, Tuesday, is certainly not very graceful. Wednesday doesn't seem to have much of a connection. Thursday however *does* have far to go in the story in a certain sense. Friday, as a Nihilist, doesn't seem to be that giving and caring. And Dr Bull doesn't entirely fit either. But it is an interesting poem - I've never heard it before reading it here. Thanks for pointing it out.
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Re: Leicester Square meeting

Postby The Bigsleep J » 16 Mar 2006, 08:41

Kanakaberaka wrote:Leicester Square is located between Piccadilly and Covent Garden, just north of Trafalgar Square. So it is easy to see the humor in having a meeting of anarchists in an area where so many people pass by all day and night long. A very unconventional place to conspire to say the least.

Also, there is the foreign influence which Chesterton mentioned. In addition to the Alhambran look of the place, there are some of the best Chinese restaurants in London nearby.


Thanks for the pic, Jim. It certainly looks different from the the pictures I've seen of it today. How things change. I wonder how much of it has remained the same?
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Re: Leicester Square meeting

Postby The Bigsleep J » 16 Mar 2006, 08:48

lee_merrill wrote:And one aspect of this chapter is that the nightmare begins, and yet it is such believable place, it has so many incidental details that are consistent both with a sense of reality, and with a nightmare. Quite an accomplishment, it would seem! For example, here:

"For the man remained more still than would have been natural if a stranger had come so close. He was as motionless as a wax‑work, and got on the nerves somewhat in the same way."


Yes - you'd expect the anarchist to stay 'underground' in dark, dodgy restaurants and secret rooms like the earlier meeting, but in the open if gives it a slightly surreal feeling. Even if there is a logic behind it, it is still unexpected.
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