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Chapter 4 - part 7

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

Chapter 4 - part 7

Postby Kanakaberaka » 27 Apr 2009, 19:08

Synopsis : The Fellows of Bracton attempt to enjoy the evening in the Common Room after dinner. But the cacophony from the workers outside the windows makes conversation nearly impossible. Lord Feverstone gives the details of Mark Studdock's "resignation" to Curry. Curry asks Feverstone if Mark's Fellowship can be filled with a specialist in pragmatometry rather than sociology. Everyone's conversation comes to an abrupt halt as the noise becomes unbearable. The noise is mistaken for some sort of drill or jack hammer. Lord Feverstone knows better, and warns everyone not to go near the windows. Good advice since they are soon shatterd by the gunfire from outside.

Lewis paints a picture of a group of stuffy scholars trying to have an after dinner shop talk. Instead they have second thoughts about the plans of the N.I.C.E. I found it odd that any construction crew would work overtime into the darkness of the evening. This shows just how desperate the N.I.C.E. must be to excavate what they desire in Braggdon Wood. But someting else is going on as well. Only Lord Feverstone is aware of it.

Glossop makes an observation in Latin to Jewel -
Saeva sonare verbera, tum stridor ferri tractaeque catenae

As far as I can tell, Glossop is simply saying that "Beating makes a fierce noise, then a shrill sound is made by an iron tool being drawn by a horse with a chain". I suspect that Lewis is refering to some piece of classic literature, but I can not be sure.

Meanwhile Lord Feverstone tells Curry about Mark Studdock's supposed resignation, something Mark is unaware of. All Curry can think of is modernizing Mark's old fellowship from sociology to the new science of pragmatometry. It seems that you can never be too up to date for the Progressive Element. And Curry's new found interest in an untested "science" illustrates this.

This mindless conversation comes to an abrupt end as the noise outside escalates from what sounded like a rugby game to a war, with the horrible screams of those shot. At first everyone assumes some sort of engine is making the offending noise. Lord Feverstone knows better and nonchalantly advises the Fellows not to bother calling the police. Feverstone is obviously in on what is about to happen. It's a full scale riot going on outside which soon breaks through the antique windows of the Common Room. One of those windows broken was the one Henrietta Maria had etched her name on with a diamond. She was the Queen of England, Married to Charles I, and lived from 1609 to 1666. At first I thought that this might have been a suggestion that a momento from a more pastoral time had been shattered by our modern turmoil. Though after a little reading about the Queen's reign, it was soon obvious that her time had it's own share of social upheaval. Most of it having to do with the rivalry between Protestantism and Roman Catholisism. Lewis is not simply bemoaning the loss of some nostalgic souvenir from England's past.
so it goes...
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Counting anachronisms

Postby Kanakaberaka » 29 Apr 2009, 05:42

Before I go on to the next chapter I want to note something about the sub-chapters of Chapter 4. It's title is of course The Liquidation of Anachronisms, and it is obvious that "liquidation" refers to the destruction or killing of these anachronisms. It just occured to me that all seven of these sub-chapters refer to the liquidation of a unique anachronism which I have listed here :

1 - The Dimble's house, a material loss which Mrs. Dimble takes in stride.

2 - William Hingest, who is murdered for snubbing the N.I.C.E.

3 - Rev. Straik's Christian Faith, which has given way to mistakenly worshiping "progress" as an engine of God's providence.

4 - Mark's hope of leaving the N.I.C.E. Even though this sub-chapter appears to simply repeat the news of Hingest's death, it is in fact a veiled warning from Wither about what awaits those who reject the N.I.C.E.

5 - Jane's "...bright narrow little life" has been destroyed with the revelation that her latest vision is in fact a horrible reality.

6 - Cure Hardy. But more than the village itself is Mark's inability to see the reality before him rather than the statistics which he has been taught to take seriously.

7 - The scholarly sanctuary of Bracton College which has been shattered along with the historic common room windows.
so it goes...
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Re: Chapter 4 - part 7

Postby jo » 08 Dec 2009, 23:42

Hingest is an interesting character .. the 'proud old atheist' (I am quoting from memory as I've not yet put my book back together) who nonetheless is more able to see through the NICE than, for instance, Straik.. an intreresting point about how merely professing religious faith is not enough to make one truly devout.

I recall two things from the section about Cure Hardy: first, that Mark has no appreciation for natural beauty (as was noted previously) and secondly that there was a point at which he suddenly realised that his companion was a total bore.. a thought that he did not, at that time, follow to its natural conclusion.
"I saw it begin,” said the Lord Digory. “I did not think I would live to see it die"

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Hingest's "faith"

Postby Kanakaberaka » 09 Dec 2009, 06:05

jo wrote:Hingest is an interesting character .. the 'proud old atheist' (I am quoting from memory as I've not yet put my book back together) who nonetheless is more able to see through the NICE than, for instance, Straik.. an intreresting point about how merely professing religious faith is not enough to make one truly devout.


Although William Hingest was certainly a skeptic, I'm not sure that Lewis described him as an atheist. I almost have the feeling that Hingest practiced ancestor worship considering how much he valued his own pedigree as well as that of "worthy" others. It's odd that such a character could be such a traditionalist without having any sort of regard for Christianity in England. Maybe I'm assuming too much about educated upper class people from the middle of the 20th Century.
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