TWHF chapters 1-6
TWHF chapters 1-6 E-mail

Till We Have Faces

Chapters 1-6

Throughout the study
Keep a page of notes as you progress through the book on the following:

A.  Describe each of the main characters, noting both physical attributes and personality.  You may also want to sketch a family tree to the see the relationships between some of the characters.

B.  Many themes from Lewis's earlier works reappear in TWHF.  Track them as you progress through the novel.  Here are some to get you started:

  • Distorted love
  • Self-knowledge and identity
  • Reason v. imagination
  • Sacrifice
  • Beauty and ugliness
  • Thick and clear religions

C.  Note the occurrence of "face/faceless/bareface" and "veil" in the book.  How is Lewis using this motif?  A curious note:  The word translated in our Old Testament as "presence" is the Hebrew word paniyum which is literally "the face."  See e.g. Psalm 139:7; Exodus 33:14-15

D.  If you read a passage in TWHF that reminds you of another C.S. Lewis book or essay, make a note of it.

Chapters 1 & 2

1.  What do we learn about Orual in this chapter?  In the first paragraph?  What is her purpose in writing?  How is Orual an unreliable narrator?  What is your initial impression of her?

2.  What does Lewis achieve by setting the story in a far off time and place? 

3.  What is the Fox like?  Who in C.S. Lewis's life does he remind you of?  List the times the Fox refers to nature or natural causes.

Chapters 3 & 4

4.  Orual lays the blame on Redival for ending the good time.  Is this an accurate assessment of the facts?  Look at the bad things that happened.  How many did Redival cause?

5.  Orual states that "the gods are jealous."  The Fox thinks otherwise.  Contrast their view of the gods.  Who is more correct?  Is our Christian God jealous?  See Exodus 20:5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24.

6.  How might Psyche be considered a symbol for Christ?  Yet in the Kilby letter (see handout) Lewis says Psyche represents what each believer can be.  Do you agree?

Chapters 5 & 6

7.  "Holy places are dark places."  Have you experienced this in your life?

8.  Contrast the Fox and the priest.  Consider the following excerpt from "Christian Apologetics" in God in the Dock, p.102-03:

We may salva reverential [without outraging reverence] divide religions, as we do soups, into ‘thick' and ‘clear'.  By Thick I mean those which have orgies and ecstasies and mysteries and local attachments: Africa is full of Thick religions.  By Clear I mean those which are philosophical, ethical and universalizing: Stoicism, Buddhism, and the Ethical Church are Clear religions.  Now if there is a true religion it must be both Thick and Clear: for the true God must have made both the child and the man, both the savage and the citizen, both the head and the belly.... But Christianity really breaks down the middle wall of the partition.  It takes a convert from central Africa and tells him to obey an enlightened universalist ethic: it takes a twentieth-century academic prig like me and tells me to go fasting to a Mystery, to drink the blood of the Lord.  The savage convert has to be Clear: I have to be Thick.  That is how one knows one has come to the real religion.

© 2011 by Allyson Wieland