"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Till We Have Faces: Chapters 8-21

Hiya, all!

Time for part two of Olivia's (Meanwhile in Rivendell...) Till We Have Faces Read-Along!
I am combining two discussions in this post because I am a little late and need to catch up. Make sure to read both of Oliva's posts for chapters 8-14 and chapters 15-21.

Spoiler alert! If you haven't read Till We Have Faces don't read any more of this post! I will be talking about all my thoughts on it with no restraint.

Till We Have Faces - by C. S. Lewis: Chapters 8-21
Format: Questions and then thoughts.

Discussion Questions:
Chapters 8-14:

1.  Psyche is described before her "sacrifice" as being painted and costumed beyond recognition.  Do you see any additional Crucifixion parallels in that?  Why might Lewis incorporate any of those sort of parallels into a character who does not seem meant to be a Christ figure?

I'm drawing a blank here. I can't think of any other similarities (though I'm sure there are quite a few). And I don't know the inside of Lewis's brain, haha! Um, any thoughts from any of you?

2.  Bardia claims that "You see [the King] at his worst with women and priests and politic men.  The truth is, he's half afraid of them."  Why would the King be afraid of them?  Does he recognize some strength in them that he knows he does not possess?

I know that sometimes to the people or things that I am most afraid of I can seem rather loud and crazy because I don't want others to know that I am afraid of them, but mostly because I am trying to convince myself that there is nothing to fear. That's what I thought of when Bardia said that, though I wouldn't compare myself to the King in any other way.

3.  Orual feels it is her duty to squelch any flickers of joy after she is separated from her sister and presumes her dead.  The Bible says we are to grieve with those who grieve.  Does this mean it is wrong to take pleasure in anything (for a period of time) after we have suffered a loss?

'The grief was coming back with my strength. So was the Fox's.'
I believe there is a time for that, but then we do need to learn to grow and see the joy in things again. I really liked this bit:
'Now, flung at me like frolic or insolence there came as if it were a voice, no words, but, if you made it into words it would be, "Why should your heart not dance?"'

4.  Psyche suggests that "people are most ashamed of . . . the things they can't help".  Is this true?

I find this to be the exact opposite for me. Things that I can't change I tend to just accept and look at the bright side, but with anything that I can help or it is my fault I feel terrible about.

Chapters 15-21:

1.  When thinking about Psyche as she was before the debacle of the Great Sacrifice, Orual characterizes the time as "when she was still happy, and still mine."  How does this sum up the possessiveness of Orual's love for Psyche?  What does it say about how she views her?

Love is selfless. Orual has only ever been loved by the Fox and Psyche, where she has been abused by others. She doesn't want to let go, which I completely understand and my heart bleds for her.

2.  Lewis describes Orual's reaction to the King's potentially fatal illness in this way:  "The largeness of a world in which he was not . . . the clear light of a sky in which that cloud would no longer hang . . . freedom."  Isn't it extraordinary how the author is able to capture and convey the feelings of an abuse survivor so accurately?

Yes. I tend to feel sorry for characters like the King, but not this time because he just hurt so many people all the time and did terrible things.

3.  In this book, Lewis gives a lot of insight into the realities of life as a soldier.  How much did Lewis's own experience as a WWI veteran influence his writing, both in general and in this book?

I feel like most of Lewis's war experience is pored out through Bardia. War also gives an appreciation of life, and I feel that expressed through his writing.

A Few Ponderings:

The part where Orual convinced Psyche to take the lamp reminded me a lot of the story of Adam and Eve. I don't blame Psyche because Orual was being cruel, but there are a lot of paralells. Psyche was in a sort of paradise and then she couldn't get in again.

The way it is written takes away the suspense. I love stories told in first person, but because it is past tense you know that Orual is going to live through everything because she is writing it.

I am quite surprised where the story is going!

Personal Highlights:
(Please pardon me if my punctuation or spelling is off on these quotes. I'm listening to an audiobook so I don't know how it looks.)

Chapters 8-14:
"It is these chances that nourish the beliefs of barbarians."
"How often, grandfather, have you told me that there is no such thing as chance?"
"You are right, it was an old trick of the tongue."

"And don't look at my face, look at my sword! It isn't my face that's going to fight you."

"And you won't understand the wonder and glory of my adventure unless you listen to the bad part."

"One can't dream things like that because one's never seen things like that."

'"You don't think...possibly not as a mere...hundreth chance there might be things that are real though we can't see them?"
"Certainly I do! Such things as justice, equality, the soul, or musical notes."'

"A good man might be an outlaw and a runaway." (This reminded me of Robin Hood, heehee!)

'"You don't believe in the divine blood of our house." I said.
"Oh yes, of all houses, all men are of divine blood for there is the God in everyman. We are all one."'

Chapters 15-21:
"I've played chess too long to hazard my queen." (Yes! Chess!)

'The memory of his voice and face was kept in one of those rooms of my soul that I didn't likely unlock.'

'I was with book as a woman is with child.' (This is so accurate, because once you have a story idea it is with you constantly!)

Thank you so much to Olivia for hosting! As well as thanks to all of you for reading! What are your thoughts on this?



  1. That's such a neat insight about the King/women question. Thanks for sharing that.

    And with that next question about grief/joy, too.

    I hadn't drawn that parallel between Psyche/the lamp and Eve/the apple! Wow.

    1. Thanks for reading, commenting, and hosting! Maybe I'm looking too deeply into these things, lol, but I like finding them. :)


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