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Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby nomad » 07 Sep 2010, 23:50

Oh, yes please. At least three more weeks. We can get through another chapter anyways.
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"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby Nerd42 » 09 Sep 2010, 15:28

Facebook won't allow me to retain my anonymity.
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby Matthew Whaley » 09 Sep 2010, 16:35

paminala wrote:
Nerd42 wrote:The Bright People
The Great Divorce wrote:
Some were naked, some robed. But the naked ones did not seem less adorned, and the robes did not disguise in those who wore them the massive grandeur of muscle and the radiant smoothness of flesh."

I find that very odd. I think it connects with some of what was said in Perelandra on the subject of clothing on glorified bodies. But I do not understand why Lewis places such emphasis on it in these two books. Surely this could have been left out and it wouldn't have affected the plot or the message in the least. I think introducing this idea needlessly complicates matters.


I didn't really find this out of tune with the rest of the description of Heaven. It felt as though Lewis were describing a sort of Eden. All things would reflect the beauty of the Creator's plan.
But even here (as at the bus stop) the passengers are in an in between place. They see the glory of Heaven but cannot touch it.


I agree with Pam here, not only do the glorified bodies "reflect the beauty of the Creator's plan," but the appearance of The Bright People must contrast somehow with the appearance of the Ghosts and show us what the Ghosts can become if they want to stay. Physical beauty is a representation here of completeness and oneness with God, also an indication of spiritual health in this story.
"Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in." -Robert Frost
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby nomad » 09 Sep 2010, 19:08

Nerd42 wrote:Heavenly Matter
Everything is bigger and solider out here. This is when we start seeing the passengers as "ghosts" - people we can see through. What do you think that suggests?
(trying to lead discussion here, not just spill all the beans myself)


The passengers starting to look ghostlike is the first hint we have of being in a more solid world. For me, this indicates that even the light - or perhaps I should say, especially the light - is more real. Therefor more piercing. And I don't think I'd like suddenly seeing everyone around me turn into a ghost, not to mention seeing myself go all see-through. I'm sure that would be rather disconcerting.

Nerd42 wrote:The Big Man
The Great Divorce wrote:"Hi, Mister," said the Big Man, addressing the Driver, "when have we got to go back?"
"You need never come back unless you want to," he replied. "Stay as long as you please."
There was an awkward pause.
The Big Man obviously doesn't want to stay but also doesn't want to make it sound like he's over-eager to leave. I think at this point he is still trying to sort out his feelings about the place but we come to his big scene in the next chapter.


This is so true. When faced with a promise in the unknown, we do tend to prefer the known, no matter how desolate it is. The unknown is scary, even without bizarre qualities like turning ghosty and grass that hurts your feet. This is what I love about this book. It's a totally different take on the whole "the path is narrow and the way is hard". Lewis is saying the way is hard not because we will necessarily be persecuted for our faith or because we'll be tempted to drink and carouse. It's hard because it forces you to face yourself and your fears and live with a courage to accept the unknown. Which is so much harder than just staying sober.
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"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby Matthew Whaley » 09 Sep 2010, 23:03

I see what you mean, Nomad, "The hell we know is better than hell we don't know" or "I know it's not good, but it's safe" as it says in the song. Jesus said, " If anyone would be my disciple, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Getting past our pride is the hardest thing, but if we can do that, we can overcome our fears and really know joy.
"Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in." -Robert Frost
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby paminala » 11 Sep 2010, 16:41

I think there is still an element of distrust on the Big guy's part. He is waiting to have the door slammed in his face. This is not a generous person and so he is fundamentally distrustful of generosity. I suspect that if the driver had told him he had only 1 hour to get back to the bus he would immediately have started scheming to stay longer. He is only happy with what he takes, not with what he is given.

The lesson he must learn is to open his heart and accept that which is offered freely so that he will be able to give of himself in the same spirit.
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
~ Galileo Galilei
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby nomad » 14 Sep 2010, 04:31

Good point, pam. The Big guys is also a bully, as seen by his hitting the short guy in line and then telling the narrator and the other guy on the bus to shut up. He's very defensive of his rights, without caring for anyone else's. I think the "awkward pause" after the driver says they don't have to go back is because, as Nerd wrote, most of them aren't sure what they want to do. And they would have preferred to be told to go back or stay, rather than have to make the choice themselves.
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"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby nomad » 23 Sep 2010, 06:20

With our last few days, *sniff*, there are two questions from the first post I'd like to take a stab at.

Why do you think the ghosts are transparent while the Bright People are solid?

Maybe I'm just restating what has already been said, but I think one's state of solidity or lack thereof is directly related to character development. The more your "insides" approach what God made you to be, the more solid your outside becomes. And being focused on God, rather than on yourself seems to be the key point. So ironically, the more you are worried about yourself, the more you try to hold onto yourself, the less of you there is to hold onto.

Why cliffs and not clouds? Why country and not city? Why open countryside and not pearly gates?

This seems a simple question, but it's intriguing. Of course, heaven is portrayed as open country in TLB as well so there is a trend there. Tolkien also sets nature against city/industry and favors nature. I think it has a lot to do with living in the industrial age. Before that, a city was a thing of wonder and a sign of power that many people never saw in their life. That changed as cities became overcrowded, dirty and impersonal places. Now most people equate nature with purity. And skyscrapers no longer inspire the same sense of wonder they once did. By contrast, we do continue to look at nature with a sense of wonder which even Steve Jobs' newest gadget can't quite elicit from us.
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"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby Kanakaberaka » 25 Sep 2010, 07:24

When I mentioned the premise of this book being the fantasy of a bus trip from Hell to Heaven, many of the folks I talked to were interested. Yet when I told them that many of the damned chose to get back on the bus for the return trip to hell, the same listeners could not understand why. Of course I had not given them all the details invented by Lewis. The Great Divorce explains so much about God's Grace, and why so many of us are reluctant to take Him up on His offer to us.
so it goes...
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby paminala » 27 Sep 2010, 15:04

Lewis seems to look at Heaven from a slightly different angle than many people think of it.
He sees it as a tremendous gift that, although it is freely given, is not without cost.
Many of the people on the bus, when they realize that they cannot simply stay as they are and move to higher ground, are not willing to bear that cost.
I believe that it is much the same with people in general. They want to call themselves Christian but they don't really want to change their lives.
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
~ Galileo Galilei
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby nomad » 29 Sep 2010, 05:23

Exactly, Pam. And I think Lewis is more perceptive than most who talk about the cost of being faithful or however they phrase it. Most of the time they mention really obvious things, like giving up your carousing or letting go of your material wealth. But Lewis digs deeper and shows with each character the pride or fear or vanity that keeps them from trusting and risking.
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"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby Nerd42 » 30 Sep 2010, 19:06

I would keep going with this if we could move it to a forum that allows real-life anonymity.
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Re: Chapter 3 - The Arrival

Postby nomad » 30 Sep 2010, 22:53

You could retain some anonymity on fb by using a pseudo name and using a picture of Squeeker or whatever his name was from Saved by the Bell. I haven't been on any of the other Narnia based sites, so I don't know how good they are at this sort of thing. Course, it remains to be seen how well fb works for this sort of thing too.

Thanks for the discussion. Fair winds and following seas to all.
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"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.
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