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Chapter 8 - part 3

PostPosted: 27 Sep 2010, 16:23
by Kanakaberaka
Synopsis : After the successfuly staged riot, everything appears to be going well for Mark at Belbury. At least untill Fairy Hardcastle confronts him in the afternoon. She informs Mark that he has insulted Wither by turning down his offer to bring Jane over to the institute. This has Mark depressed about not being in the confidence of the Inner Circle. But Filostrato comes to Mark's rescue. He invites Mark up to his sitting room where he clues Mark in about the Head. At first Mark assumes that Filostrato is talking about Jules Frost being Belbury's head. Filostrato, along with some help from Reverend Straik, then gets dramatic to explain exactly what he means. They decide to introduce Mark to the Head that very night.

Mark feels so at ease with his place at Belbury that he can look down upon fellow institute members such as Steele and Cosser because of their cluelessness. He even regards Lord Feverstone as a man of passing usefullness. This leads up to his insulting the DD by not taking up his suggestion that he invite Jane to live at Belbury. Mark does not like this suggestion because he knows that practical minded Jane would expose all his ambitious new "friends" as the phonies they really are. So Mark refuses Wither's accomidation outright. One of the terms Mark uses to describe Jane's opinion of the inner circle is "toad-eating". The term comes form the seventeeth century when quack doctors would have an assitant eat, or at least pretend to eat what was thought to be a poisonous toad. The charletan would then "cure" him with the elixer he had for sale. This is where the term "toady" comes from as well. Marks failure to take Wither's offer turns his situation around for the worse.

Chapter 8 - part 3

PostPosted: 27 Sep 2010, 16:56
by Kanakaberaka
It takes Fairy Hardcastle to point out the mess Mark has gotten himself into. Wither of course was so oblique that Mark was oblivious to his consternation. The Fairy had to set the matter straight with Mark. And Mark's only concern was about his own standing at the institute. Of course another man less self centered than Mark would have wondered why in the world the members of the N.I.C.E. would demand that anyone's wife accompany him to Belbury. They are in no sense a "family friendly" institution. All Mark could think about was Jane throwing a bucket of cold water all over his dream come true.

Filostrato comes to Marks rescue, or so it seems. What really happens is that Mark is drawn futher into the madness at Belbury. At dinner, Filostrato outlines his notion of cleanliness not being merely next to godliness, but in fact allowing us to become God. He uses the Moon as his illustration, claiming that the surface has been deliberatly cleared of all organic material on purpose by an advanced race living below. The details of this organic-hating people are not very encouraging. Apparently not all of the Moon's inhabitants are so privilaged, only it's master race. The commoners are mere slaves to their immortal wishes. Not many datails are given about who or where these Moon people came from.

Before this, Filostrato also gave his opinion about an artificial tree being superior to real ones. I am certain this is something Lewis found intolerable. It is of course an exageration about what technological progress was pushing on the world at the time this book was written. Though even back then, not all scientists were so against the forces of nature. Lewis is of course presenting a parody of real science conquering nature.

Chapter 8 - part 3

PostPosted: 27 Sep 2010, 17:25
by Kanakaberaka
In spite of being impressed with Filostrato's knowlege about the conquest of science over nature, Mark has no idea what he's talking about when he insists on taking him to see the Head personally. Mark assumes Filostrato is talking about Frost. But of course Mark is unable to imagine the horrible reality soon to be shown to him. Filostrato turns off the lights and allows the full moon to illuminate his room. At this point Straik enters the room, and Mark is bothered about the Reverend's references to God. He is even more disturbed by Filostrato's revelation that the Head is in fact Alcasan, the dead criminal Mark has been trying to rehabilitate in the newspapers. Straik goes on to proclaim that the Resurrection of Jesus was merely a symbolic forshadowing of what the N.I.C.E. has been able to do in their labs. It's a perversion of what Christ has done for humanity. Not God incarnate sacrificing Himself for the salvation of humanity, But one immortalized man sacrificing the rest of humanity for his own advancement!

The three of them go off to see Belbury's Head. Lewis describes all the technical details about how they must prepare themselves before they are allowed into the Head's sanctuary. It sounds almost religious in the way they must clean themselves and put on surgical gowns. It makes me wonder what sort of harm a disembodied head could threaten anyone with. In fact it reminds me of a scene from The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and the others go in to see the phoney Wizard. However, Lewis leaves the chapter off here, before Mark, Filostrato, and Straik go in to actually see the Head. Those details will be given in the next chapter through another of Jane's "dreams".

Chapter 8 Summery

PostPosted: 27 Sep 2010, 17:58
by Kanakaberaka
Moonlight at Belbury is the title of this chapter. And yet it does not all take place at Belbury or even at night time. What connection to moonlight is there in this chapter's three sections? First, I think that "Moonlight" may in fact be a reference to "lunacy", a form of insanity belived to be brought on by the phases of the Moon. So here is what I belive Lewis was trying to convey in chapter 8 :

part 1 - The lunacy of Fairy Hardcastle confronting the one being her physical force has no power over. Her self image is turned upside-down.

part 2 - Meanwhile, it's Sunlight over at St. Anne's on the Hill, where domestic sanity has brought order to Jane's nightmare.

part 3 - Finally, Mark descends into the lunacy of Belbury as his Inner Circle membership is put in jeopardy and Filostrato and Straik invite him to meet the Head.