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Chapter 2 - part 2

The final book in Lewis' theological science fiction Space Trilogy.

Chapter 2 - part 2

Postby Kanakaberaka » 27 Oct 2008, 18:56

Synopsis - Mark arrives home late and not quite sober to a find a tearful Jane waiting for him as he opens the door. The following paragraphs go on to explain how Jane came to be in this situation. She telephoned Mrs. Dimble in hopes of being comforted about those mysterious dreams she has had. But instead she was given directions to see Miss Ironwood out at St. Anne's on the Hill. Instead of relieving Jane's anxiety, she becomes paranoid about the unscheduled appointment she must attend the next day. Jane is unable to eat or rest untill her husband Mark arrives home to comfort her in his arms.

There is quite a contrast between this second section of chapter 2 and the previous section. In the first part Mark happily went along to join a cause he should have been suspicious about. Although the people he was with should have given him alarm, he went along blindly with Lord Feverstone's suggestion to join the N.I.C.E. Jane has the opposite experience. For those of us who have read all of the book, we know that the folks at St. Anne's are good people. But at this point Jane has no idea who they are and is upset by the mention of Miss Ironwood's name.

I think Lewis is trying to illustrate here is what he referred to as "fear of the numinous'. A fear quite different from mere physical fears. It is the fear of supernatural forces we know nothing about. That's what makes them so powerful. We allow ourselves to imagine the worst when we think of what they really are. So Jane feels upset when she asks Mrs. Dimble if she needs an appointment and Mrs. Dimble blurts out "No"..."they'll be--you don't need an appointment." This makes Jane's hair stand on end.

Of course Lewis has given us a clue as to the true nature of the residents of St. Anne's on the Hill. First, St. Anne is said to be the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The mother of the mother of God. So St. Anne is in effect the grandmother of Jesus.
Secondly is the fact that it is located "on the Hill". It appears that Lewis is refering to a sermon which John Winthrop gave on board ship to the Massachusetts Bay Colony back in 1630. Winthrop likened the colony to a city upon a hill to call attention to it's settlers as role models. As he said:
For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken… we shall be made a story and a by-word throughout the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God… We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us til we be consumed out of the good land whither we are a-going.

American Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan both made use of this image in their speeches.
So it appears that Lewis gives us a hint that those at St. Anne's are not hiding their lights beneath a bushel basket.
so it goes...
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