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Chapter 2 - part 4

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

Chapter 2 - part 4

Postby Kanakaberaka » 17 Nov 2008, 22:56

Synopsis - Mark and Jane take very different modes of transport to their separate destinations. Mark is driven via motorcar to Belbury, while Jane rides a train to St. Anne's On The Hill.

The difference between Mark's breakneck race to Belbury, with Lord Feverstone at the wheel and Jane's journey to St. Anne's by herself, yet in the company of others, is jarring. On the one hand Lord Feverstone cares nothing for any of the pedestrians or other vehicles in his way. He takes no note of them, except to comment to Mark that they are "damned lucky" not to be run over. Feverstone shows no empathy and Mark is merely a passive observer. He makes no judgements about Feverstone's horrendous driving. Mark wants to fit in with the N.I.C.E. and so he keeps calm in spite of Feverstone's obvious recklessness. This has me wondering whether or not Mark approves of this sort of attitude or whether Mark is merely doing his best to fit in.
Lord Feverstone's driving habits reminded me of something Lewis once said about our race to progress. In his opinion those folks who felt the need to hurry past all the little details in life, leaving them by in a blur, would be better off if they simply went straight into a coffin. After all, if we are all heading for the grave eventualy, why hurry the trip?

Jane's travel by train is markedly different. Although she is traveling by herself, there are numerous other people going about their own business along with her. This particular train is only a minor line, so they can afford to take their time arriving at St. Anne's. Lewis notes all the fascinating folks, animals and scenes along the way. Yet for some reason they do not register with Jane. Lewis explains :
Jane hardly noticed them: for though she was theoretically an extreme democrat, no social class save her own had yet become a reality to her in any place except the printed page.

So Jane was just as oblivious to her picturesque surroundings as Mark was to his. Though at least Mark had the excuse that Lord Feverstone was the one in charge. I would have thought that Jane would have been at least a bit meditative since was was traveling by herself.

One other thing of note is the name of Mark's destination. Just as St. Anne's On The Hill conveys meaning so does Belbury. It has something to do with "Bel" which could have referred to the Celtic god Belenus, also known as the "shining one", a possible referrence to Apollo. However it is far more likely that Lewis wants us to think of the Babylonian god Bel or Marduk as he is properly known. In the book of Daniel chapter 14 the prophet Daniel proves to the King of Babylon that the idol of Bel is merely a ruse for Bal's priests to steal the king's offerings to his "god". There were also stories of human sacrifice to Bel. So Belbury is a rather ominous name.
Last edited by Kanakaberaka on 18 Nov 2008, 05:51, edited 1 time in total.
so it goes...
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Re: Chapter 2 - part 4

Postby Stanley Anderson » 17 Nov 2008, 23:31

I of course need to catch up on the other sections -- and this one too -- that I haven't commented on yet (again, sorry, just no time yet for concentrated effort to say "big" or detailed time consuming things), but I wanted to add a quick note that popped into my head after reading one of your comments:

Kanakaberaka wrote:One other thing of note is the name of Mark's destination. Just as St. Anne's On The Hill conveys meaning so does Belbury. It has something to do with "Bel" which could have referred to the Celtic god Belenus, also known as the "shining one", a possible referrence to Apollo. However it is far mor likely that Lewis wants us to think of the Babylonian god Bel or Marduk as he is properly known. In the book of Daniel chapter 14 the prophet Daniel proves to the King of Babylon that the idol of Bel is merely a ruse for Bal's priests to steal the king's offerings to his "god". There were also stories of human sacrifice to Bel. So Belbury is a rather ominous name.


Not to mention the rather nice chessboard view connection with the names. The "power" of Belbury is of a hellish sort from "down below" you might say and in fact at the end the bad guys get swallowed up into the ground -- "buried" as it were, just as the second part of the name "Bel-bury" suggests, whereas St. Annes-on-the-Hill conveys the idea of "up there" toward heaven, and in fact, though we don't see it directly (just as we don't directly see the "burying" on the other side) Ransom is tranlated "up" into the sky to Perelandra at the end of the book.

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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