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Chapter 4 - part 5

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

Chapter 4 - part 5

Postby Kanakaberaka » 07 Apr 2009, 20:52

Synopsis : Jane feels so much better and relived as Mrs. Dimble helps her with morning chores. Sadly Jane is as unwilling to share her opinion about Miss Ironwood's help as Mrs. Dimble is about St. Anne's. After leaving Mrs. Dimble in town, Jane meets up with Curry who has shocking news for her. Curry tells Jane about the murder of Willian Hingest with all the gruesome details. And It matches what she saw in her dream perfectly! As she sits in a nearby coffee shop, Jane realizes that she must make a choice. Either join with the superstitious folks at St. Anne's, or attempt to face the dark unknown by herself.

Female companionship and domesicity had given Jane a false sence of security. The world looks so normal as Mrs. Dimble gives her a hand with her housework. How could any of Jane's visions be real in such a domestic world? But of course Jane is withholding her opinion about Miss Ironwood from Mrs. Dimble. She has no intention of being "drawn in" with such a group. Even though she has no idea what their true intentions are. Mrs. Dimble does not help matters considering how she answers Jane's inquiries about Ivy Maggs -
"What is she doing, do you know?"

"She's gone out to St. Anne's."

"Has she got friends there?"

"She's gone to the Manor, along with Cecil and me."

"Do you mean she's got a job there?"

"Well, yes. I suppose it is a job."


This does not reassure Jane about what's going on at St. Anne's at all.

The shock of reality comes to Jane when she bumps into Curry after saying goodby to Mrs. Dimble. Of course Curry has no idea why this news of Hingest's murder would impact Jane the way it does. He simply belives the that the crime falls within his sphere of influence. To Jane it is not the death of a dissagreeable old snob that falls on her like a ton of bricks. It is the revelation that her dream/visions are in fact reality.

This reminds me of something C.S. Lewis mentions in Mere Christianity. That at some time in our lives we all reach a point where we must either accept as true the revelations of Christianity, or ignore the whole thing and get on with our lives. Jane has reached such a point in a much more dramatic fashion than any of us ever do. And it's not even a typical invitation to join an established Church. To me the good folk of St. Anne's On The Hill appear more like one of our religious cults rather than a Christian community. And I can understand why Jane finds them a little scary because of this. I suppose that Lewis introduces Jane to Miss Ironwood in this fashion to make the whole business more dramatic than it would be if she simply walked into a neighborhood chuch and asked for help. Lewis certainly leaves Jane few options for dealing with the truth she has discovered -
The bright, narrow little life which she had proposed to live was being irremediably broken into. Windows into huge, dark landscapes were opening on every side and she was powerless to shut them. It would drive her mad, she thought, to face it alone. The other alternative was to go back to Miss Ironwood. But that seemed to be only a way of going deeper into all this darkness.

I can just imagine how the quote above would be illustrated on the silver screen.

Jane finds herself being drawn into a group of mysterious people who promise to help her. While at the same time they do not appear to be comforting religious types we see so often. The folks at St. Anne's are not there to comfort Jane, but to help her use her God given talents against evil. Something Jane is not quite willing to accept. Lewis has succeeded in presenting Christianity as an adventureous battle in this novel. it's just that recent history has made such groups as the one Jane is being invited into appear quite occult and dangerous.
so it goes...
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Re: Chapter 4 - part 5

Postby The Bigsleep J » 08 Apr 2009, 05:54

This part of the chapter reminds me of the first chapter of The Screwtape Letters where Uncle Screwtape talks about an academic who was one of his "patients". In this chapter Screwtape distracted the academic (an atheist) from considering Christianity by showing him "the real world" when the man went out on lunch, thus distracting him. The section with Mrs Dimble and Curry seem to almost be an inversion of that, though here for Jane the real world turns out to be a more complex and sinister place than she admitted.
Insert supposedly witty but random absurd comment here and add water
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Wake up and smell the coffee

Postby Kanakaberaka » 08 Apr 2009, 08:07

I had not thought about comparing this section to The Screwtape Letters, TBSJ. You certainly have a point about it's inversion here.

You have me thinking about a small detail here. The cafe' Jane drops into after her encounter with Curry is named "Blackie's". In my mind this conjures up visions of black coffee. Pure caffeine, undiluted with milk or sweetened with sugar. Just the sort of wake-up call I am sure Jane must feel at this point of the story. It's almost subliminal. :coffee:
so it goes...
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