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Chapter 6 - part 2

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

Chapter 6 - part 2

Postby Kanakaberaka » 19 Jan 2010, 18:10

Synopsis : A dense fog covers Edgestow as well as the ugly works of the N.I.C.E. there. As the N.I.C.E. begins it's diversion of the Wynd river, they demand that Bracton College sell them the land right up to the college walls. Busby and the Progressive Element are blamed for this. None of the commotions around town are reported in the newspapers. A plethora of foreign work men have made Edgestow overcrowded to the discomfort of it's residents. This turmoil extends into Jane's dreams. She has a disturbing dream/vision in which she is the one being watched. Mark begins his research on the "rehabilitation" of Alcasan with the help of Miss Hardcastle's second in command. The funeral for William Hingest is interrupted by the loutish workers in the fog just outside the college chapel. Curry and the Bursar feel insulted, but the junior fellows under Lord Feverstone's influence take it as a joke.

So much happens in part 2 of this chapter that it could have been made into three subchapters. The one theme common to all of part 2 is turmoil. Edgestow is under siege by an army of barbaric workers. Mark runs roughshod over the truth as he puts his spin on Alcasan. And the last rites for Hingest the skeptic are interupted by the curses of the same N.I.C.E. laborers.

The smug inner circle of Bracton's Progressive Element shrinks as Busby and the Warden get the blame for inviting the N.I.C.E. into town. What they thought would be the chance of a life time has proven to be the destruction of Edgestow.
so it goes...
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Chapter 6 - part 2

Postby Kanakaberaka » 19 Jan 2010, 18:51

The dislike Lewis had for big cities is obvious in his discription of N.I.C.E. occupied Edgestow :
...nearly all the hotels in town had passed into the hands of the Institute, so that a man could no longer drink with a friend in his accustomed bar; that familiar shops were crowded with strangers who seemed to have plenty of money, and that the prices were higher; That there was a queue for every omnibus and the difficulty in getting into every cinema. Quiet houses that had looked out on quiet streets were shaken all day long by heavy and unaccustomed traffic; Wherever one went one was jostled by crowds of strangers.


This passage has me wondering what Lewis would think about present day New York City. Even the outer boroughs are a confusion of multi-lingual and multi-ethnic throngs of people. Somhow we all mange to tolerate each other, usually without stepping on one another's toes, both figuratively as well as literally. I have the feeling that this whole story is in fact Lewis' condemnation of Modernism. Or at least the worship of the modern over tradition. I must admit that he does give a convincing argument.

But as I mentioned, the turmoil has extended from the streets into Jane's dreams. In her latest recurring dream/vision she is the one being watched. Jane sees herself laying in bed while next to her a man with a notebook waits patiently and occasionally takes notes. The man appears to be a doctor, wearing a pince-nez, eye glasses which clip to the nose, and he has a little pointed beard. This image reminds me of Sigmund Freud. In fact it could be any psychoanalytic session in progress. Jane is obviously the patient who is being analyzed by a psychic intruder. The doctor in this case is a "Peeping Tom" attempting to steal his way into Jane's mind.
so it goes...
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Chapter 6 - part 2

Postby Kanakaberaka » 19 Jan 2010, 19:24

Since Mark in unable to decipher a Police dossier for his Alcasan artcle, Miss Hardcastle provides him with help from her second in command, Captain O'Hara. Lewis' description of the Captain reminds me of a classic New York City Police officer.
...a big white haired man with a handsome face, talking in what the English people called a Southern Brogue and Irish people, "a Dublin accent you could cut with a knife"

Captain O'Hara's seat at Castlemortle appears to be a fictitious place invented by Lewis. At least I could not find any trace of "Castlemortle" in Ireland. The name might suggest a mortal castle or even a death castle, but I'm just guessing. The "Q Register" which Mark tried to understand might refer to questions. But I could not find anything about it online. The sliding file mentioned could be a file system which leaves it's subject unobstructed while in it's folder using a label or die-cut opening.
The "entree" over Mark's signature on his printed newpaper article refers to a right or permission from the publication for him to do so. This whole episode reminds Mark that the only reason for his accademic success has been due to his writing style rather than his proficiency.
Mark's money woes are calmed when the Captain informs him that all he has to do is ask for an advance from the Steward. At first this souds reassuring, but it brings up the question about being in debt to the Institute. If you owe the N.I.C.E. all the money they advance you, how can you ever leave? And O'Hara's remark about the N.I.C.E. taking over control of the money supply only makes matters even more anxious
so it goes...
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Chapter 6 - part 2

Postby Kanakaberaka » 19 Jan 2010, 20:03

The final insult for "Bill the Blizzard" Hingest occurs at his funeral. The expected group of British officals refered to as Maces, Beadles, and Censors attend along with the Grand Rector of Edgestow. But outside in the fog a very unholy cacophony clashes with the prayers inside the chapel. Lewis describes the event :
Canon Storey took it. His voice was still beautiful, and there was beauty too in his isolation from that company. He was isolated both by his faith and by his deafness. He felt no qualm about the appropriateness of the words which he read over the corpse of the proud, old unbeliever, for he had never suspected his unbelief; and he was wholly unconcious of the strange antiphony between his own voice reading and the other voices from without.


It seems obvious that Lewis is illustrating Christian Faith against the rudeness of worldliness. Canon Storey's deafness is not merely a physical handicap. It is a refusal to allow the discord of the un-Godly to interrupt the Gospel of Our Lord. I assume that the Canon's "isolating" faith simply refers to Christianity in general. Though I thought at first that he could be Roman Catholic. Upon re-reading this passage, I doubt it. Storey is simply surrounded by skeptics both within as well as outside of the chapel as he prays for the soul of one of their fellow disbelievers.

The upsetting part about this scene is that some of the Junior Fellows considered the whole proceeding as a joke. Lord Feverstone has put such thoughts into their heads, and now the younger gereration has been corrupted into flippancy.
so it goes...
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Re: Chapter 6 - part 2

Postby Matthew Whaley » 07 Feb 2010, 00:38

It always seems darkest before the dawn. Bracton College and all of Edgestow are at the mercy of the N.I.C.E. Things can only get worse. But in this paragraph is a foreshadowing of hope; a symbolic introduction of Ransom into the story. " Then came maces and beadles and censors and the Grand Rector of Edgestow; then singing, the choir, and finally the coffin---an island of appalling flowers drifting indistinctly through the fog, which seemed to have poured in , thicker, colder, and wetter, with the opening of the door." The man in this coffin died fighting valiantly against evil represented by the N.I.C.E. Ransom travelled to Peralandra in a "celestial coffin" to do battle with evil in the person of Dr. Weston in a previous story. The fog, made of water, is a kind of darkness which can be felt. I hope this isnt a spoiler, I'm new at this and am open to suggestions. :anxious:
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Perelandra Reference

Postby Kanakaberaka » 07 Feb 2010, 03:40

Matthew Whaley wrote: But in this paragraph is a foreshadowing of hope; a symbolic introduction of Ransom into the story.


I had not thought of Hingest's flower covered coffin as being a reference to Ransom's cosmic coffin. It's an interesting idea woth noting. And I wonder whether or not Lewis deliberatly added this detail as a reference to Ransom. Now that you mention it, it appears that way. Some of the "Progressive Element" students wish that Lord Feverstone could have been there to witness this farce of a funeral. But as you point out, it is a martyr for the truth who is present. Even though Hingest was a skeptic about God, he knew good from evil.

Feel free to say whatever you want in this forum. This study is an overview of That Hideous Strenghth. Since the book has been in print for many years, I'm not worried about anyone spoiling any of the surprises about the story.
so it goes...
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