TWHF chapters 7-13
TWHF chapters 7-13 E-mail

Till We Have Faces

Chapters 7-13

Chapter 7

1.  How do Redival, King Trom, and Orual each betray Psyche?  What are their respective motives?

2.  How does Psyche deal with her fate of being the Great Offering?

3.  Psyche describes her longing for her true country (p.75).  How does Lewis develop longing (sehnsucht) as a source of joy and a pointer to God?  Consider the following:

In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness.... These things-the beauty, the memory of our own past-are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols .... For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.... Do what you will, then, we remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy ("The Weight of Glory" in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses).

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.... I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death (Mere Christianity, Book III, ch. 10).

I am quite ready to describe Sehnsucht as "spilled religion," provided it is not forgotten that the spilled drops may be full of blessing to the unconverted man who licks them up, and therefore begins to search for the cup whence they were spilled ("Christianity and Culture" in Christian Reflections).

In a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else.... it is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.  I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure (Surprised by Joy, p.17-18).

But what, in conclusion, of Joy? ... It was valuable only as a pointer to something other and outer (Surprised by Joy, p.238).

4. Why does Orual perceive Psyche's willingness to be the sacrifice as repudiation of her love?

Chapters 8 & 9

5.  What failures of perception do you see in these chapters?

6.  How does Orual defend against the gods?  Compare Orual's approach with this excerpt from The Four Loves. 

To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possible broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.... The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell (The Four Loves, p.121).

7.  Conditions improve in Glome after the sacrifice of Psyche.  What do you make of this?  What is the Fox's explanation?

8.  Describe Orual's struggle as she and Bardia journey to the Mountain.  Is her view of the world (p.97) correct?  Do the gods send us delight right before a new agony?

Chapter 10 & 11

9.  Why is Orual unable to see the palace?  Compare with these excerpts from "The Chronicles of Narnia."

     "Look! Look! Look!" cried Lucy.

     "Where? What?" asked everyone.

     "The Lion," said Lucy, "Aslan himself.  Didn't you see?" Her face had changed completely and her eyes shone.

     "Do you really mean---" began Peter.

     "Where did you think you saw him?" asked Susan.

     "Don't talk like a grown-up," said Lucy, stamping her foot.  "I didn't think I saw him.  I saw him."...

     "The only question is whether Aslan was really there." [says Peter]

     "But I know he was," said Lucy, her eyes filling with tears.

     "Yes, Lu, but we don't, you see," said Peter (Prince Caspian, ch 9, p.121-22).

* * * * *

Aslan raised his head and shook his mane.  Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs' knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each Dwarf had a goblet of good wine in his right hand.  But it wasn't much use.  They began eating and drinking greedily enough, but it was clear that they couldn't taste it properly.  They thought they were eating and drinking only the sort of things you might find in a Stable.  One said he was trying to eat hay and another he had got a bit of an old turnip and a third said he'd found a raw cabbage leaf....

   "You see, said Aslan.  "They will not let us help them.  They have chosen cunning instead of belief.  Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they can not be taken out" (The Last Battle, ch.13, p.147-48).

 * * * * *

  We must now go back a bit and explain what the whole scene had looked like from Uncle Andrew's point of view.  It has not made at all the same impression on him as on the Cabby and the children.  For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are (The Magician's Nephew, ch. 10, p.125).


10.  Do you see any commonalities between Psyche with her West-wind god and the believer's future with Christ?  Consider 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 4:12.

11.  Psyche can see the palace; Orual cannot.  Is Psyche lying, mad, or telling the truth?  Consider the following:

[Professor Kirke talking to Peter and Susan regarding Lucy:] "There are only three possibilities.  Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is telling the truth.  You know she doesn't tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad.  For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth" (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, ch. 5, p.45).

Chapter 12 & 13

12.  Answer Orual's questions on pages 133-34: (a) Does [a glimpse of the palace] tell against the gods or against me?  (b) If they had an honest intention to guide us, why is their guidance not plain?  Have you ever wondered this in your own life?

13.  Both Bardia and the Fox opine on Psyche's state of mind.  Orual finds each persuasive.  What do these opposing views represent?  Does one appeal to you more than the other?

2011 by Allyson Wieland