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Chapter 4 - part 4

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

Chapter 4 - part 4

Postby Kanakaberaka » 30 Mar 2009, 20:55

Synopsis : Mark finds that the two hour committee meeting only reinforces the fact that he is no where near the inner circle at Belbury. Wither drones on about such details as the demolition of the local Norman church over the objections of the townsfolk. Then Wither goes on to announce something he assumes everyone has already heard news of - the murder of William Hingest! At this news everyone present goes through the motions of mourning.

Once again Lewis illustrates how clueless Mark is at the mention of the news of the death of Hingest. Or maybe Wither simply assumes too much and is going about things in his usual round about way. Unlike Wither's previous appearance, this time his mode of speaking works well for what he wants to communicate. Outwardly Wither's speach appears to be a eulogy for Bill the blizzard. But in fact it is obvously a warning to others who might contemplate leaving the N.I.C.E. Wither speaks proudly of the efficiency of the N.I.C.E. police being there on the scene of the crime and having the full cooperation of Scotland Yard in handling this murder case. What he is really hinting at is the power and infuence of the N.I.C.E., not any concern for the well being of any of it's former members. It's done with such bloodless "concern" that I am sure everyone can read between the lines. Everyone except Mark that is.

Lewis says this about Wither's delivery of Hingest's memorial :
The obituary (in Raleigh's fine phrase) was an instrument which the Deputy Director's talents well fitted him to play

At first I thought this was a reference to Sir Walter Raleigh the explorer. But in fact it's a quote from the first Professor of English literature at Oxford, who shared his name. He wrote to the poet Edmund Gosse, ‘I do find the obituary a difficult instrument to play.’
So Lewis was playing off of Raleigh's observation about the obituary as an art form. (This information comes from Arend Smilde's website).

It is also telling that during the moment of silence for Hingest everyone present feels obliged to think of anything other than death. Could it be that they are concerned about the possibility of their own at the hands of the N.I.C.E.?
so it goes...
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Re: Chapter 4 - part 4

Postby The Bigsleep J » 05 Apr 2009, 05:10

I think that Lewis conveys it well that Mark is somewhat out of his depth, and that he definitely does not seem to be getting the full picture yet.

I also found the reference to Raleigh interesting. It is possible that Lewis knew the man, even as an acquaintance.
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Postby Kanakaberaka » 05 Apr 2009, 22:19

The Bigsleep J wrote:I also found the reference to Raleigh interesting. It is possible that Lewis knew the man, even as an acquaintance.


I would have assumed that Lewis was referring to the famous explorer if I had not stumbled accross his real meaning on Arend Smilde's blog. I try to avoid useing other people's studies unless I can not find the information elsewhere. Also this study of mine is more fleshed out with my impressions of the characters and story rather than focused only of Lewis' obscure references.

Mark is so incredibly clueless about what it is he has gotten himself into, he appears to be an unlikely protagonist. Yet I have a feeling that Mark represents most of us modern folk. Also the term "mark" can refer to a con-artist's target of opportunity.
so it goes...
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