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Chapter Eight

A study of a book by GK Chesterton.

Chapter Eight

Postby The Bigsleep J » 20 Apr 2006, 07:20

After the nightmarish chase around St Paul Syme finds himself face to face with the Professor de Worms, who immediately cuts to the chase and asks plainly if he, Syme, is a policeman. Syme keeps on trying to steer clear of the answer and the Professor finally forces him to answer. When Syme gives the answer, the Professor reveals that he is a policeman, and takes out a card signifying that he and Syme are part of the same department.

Syme remarks that they were three and thus a fighting number, but the professor explains that even with three-hundred they were no match against Sunday. Syme realizes that he himself is also afraid of Sunday, and resolves the fight him. He gets up and leave to stop the bomb from being thrown in Paris and the Professor comes along despite the fact that he sees it as absurd. The Professor says that they should seek out Bull, but that it would have to wait until the next morning.

While stopping at an inn the professor explains how he came to be in the service of the Last Crusade. The chapter finishes with Syme and the professor realizing that they were recruited by the same man in the dark room.


*******

It is interesting that the professor, knowing full that Syme was a detective like himself, went to such trouble to make Syme admit that he was not a policeman. Was he trying to see how far the young poet was willing to go with the charade? I don't think it was nice of him to 'lead Syme into temptation'.

This is one of the first chapters where there is made a direct reference at how much the main characters seem to fear Sunday. The ordinary members of the Anarchist cells fear Sunday simply because they heard of him, but those like Syme and the Professor fear him so much that they could only speak about him using metaphors, like "He is a fixed star" and "heaven is his throne".

The above quote comes from Isaiah 66 verse 1 and is a very famous quote. This already suggests the true nature of Sunday, even Syme himself does not realize it.
Isaiah 66 wrote:This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you ever build me a temple as good as that? Could you build a dwelling place for me?


The dream-like images continue with the discriptions of Bull's home as a 'Tower of Babel'. Since buildings in London were restricted not to go higher than a certain height at that time.

THe Professor's tale of how he came into service is one of the memorable parts in the book for me, mostly because it satirizes intellectual circles. The fact that the actor could make up such absurd answers for the Professor's real answers and get away with it suggests that in intellectual circles only the real Professor actually had an intellect, since it was his associates who decided that he was the imposter.
Insert supposedly witty but random absurd comment here and add water
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The Bigsleep J
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Style over substance

Postby Kanakaberaka » 27 Apr 2006, 05:30

The way in which Wilks the actor outdoes the real Professor de Worms at his own game sounds amazingly like a modern talk show. Wilkes confronted de Worms saying "Whenever he said something that nobody but he could understand, I replied with something which I could not even understand myself". It is obvious that de Worm's nihilist followers were more impressed with his attitude than with his philosophy. They no doubt enjoyed hearing the professor rip orthodoxy apart. So when an actor disguised as de Worms tears the professor to pieces, his followers see him as the real professor. Wilks uses non-existant people and fables to reply against de Worm's arguments. I hear this sort of blather all the time on talk radio.

Another thing of note is that after evading the "professor's" inquiry a few times, Syme denies being a policeman three times. That has to be a referance to Saint Peter.
so it goes...
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Re: Style over substance

Postby The Bigsleep J » 03 May 2006, 07:44

Kanakaberaka wrote:Another thing of note is that after evading the "professor's" inquiry a few times, Syme denies being a policeman three times. That has to be a referance to Saint Peter.


WOah! Never saw that one! Good point! :shocked:
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