TWHF Book II, ch 1-4
TWHF Book II, ch 1-4 E-mail

Till We Have Faces
Book II, Chapters 1-4


In the Apuleius myth, Psyche had four tasks or labors.  Since the god of the mountain told Orual "you also shall be Psyche," Orual must undertake some version of the tasks.  The following chart may help in keeping them straight.



1.  sort a huge pile of seeds

1. separate motives (the seeds of actions) from pretext  (p.256)

2.  gather wool from killer rams

2.  golden rams leave wool on thorn bushes (p.283)

3.  fetch water from inaccessible mountain river

3.  fetch water from river of death for Ungit (p.286)

4.  bring Venus a box containing beauty from the underworld

4.  go to the deadlands and get beauty in a casket for Ungit (p.301)

Chapter 1

1.  Time is running out for Orual.  She has no time to rewrite her book so she adds to it.  What is her reason for wanting to add or clarify material?  How might writing change the way a person sees things?

2.  What new insights  does Orual learn about Redival from Tarin? 
About Bardia from his widow Ansit?

3.  What does Ansit understand about love that Orual does not?

Chapter 2

 4.  The peasant's sacrifice of a pigeon to Ungit and the words of Orual's father, "there's no Fox to help you here," signify what shift in Orual's perspective?

5.  Why does Orual decide to abandon her veil?  What is the significance of her going barefaced?

6.  In a vision, Orual's father leads her into the underworld.  While there, he has her look in the mirror.  She finds out she is Ungit.  After the vision she attempts suicide but is unsuccessful.  The god forbids it.  What does the god mean by the statement, "Die before you die"?  Consider Matthew 16:25; John 12:24; Romans 6:8 and 14:7-9; Galatians 2:20.  What would it mean for Orual (or for you) to die before you die?

Chapter 3

7.  Orual tries self-reformation on page 282.  What is the upshot of her efforts?  What larger message does C.S. Lewis have for us?  Consider Romans 7:15-25 and the last page of "A Slip of the Tongue."

I do not think any efforts of my own will can end once and for all this craving for limited liabilities, this fatal reservation.  Only God can.  I have good faith and hope He will.  Of course, I don't mean that I can therefore, as they say, "sit back."  What God does for us, He does in us.  The process of doing it will appear to me (and not falsely) to be the daily or hourly repeated exercises of my own will in renouncing this attitude, especially each morning, for it grows all over me like a new shell each night ("A Slip of the Tongue" in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, p.191-92).

8.  Orual gets her day in court.  Briefly describe it.  Where does it take place?  Who is in the gallery?  Who is the judge?  What happens to Orual's book?  Summarize the argument Orual makes.

Chapter 4

9.  What does it mean to be barefaced or unveiled?  Consider 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Corinthians 3:15-18 and the following:

[When we] assent with all our will to be so known, then we treat ourselves, in relation to God, not as things but as persons.  We have unveiled.  Not that any veil could have baffled this sight.  The change is in us.  The passive changes to the active.  Instead of merely being known, we show, we tell, we offer ourselves to view....By unveiling, by confessing our sins and "making known" our requests, we assume the high rank of persons before Him.  And He, descending, becomes a Person to us (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, ch. 4, p.20-21).

[The soul's] union with God is, almost by definition, a continual self-abandonment-an opening, an unveiling, a surrender, of itself (The Problem of Pain, ch.10, p.151).

How might we incorporate this posture into our relationship with God?  With others?

10.  What parallels do you see between Orual and Job?  In what ways do they differ?  Consider Job 13:3; 38:1-7; and 42:3-6.

11.  What is Lewis saying with the sentence: "How can [the gods] meet us face to face till we have faces?"

12.  What realization has the Fox come to regarding the worship of Ungit?

13.  The Fox talks about the Divine Nature, concluding with a statement on page 305, "And the Divine Nature can change the past.  Nothing is yet in its true form."  This statement is Hellenistic in nature, but it also profoundly biblical.  Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-57.  What glimpses of Christ do you see in this chapter?

14.  Did Orual get her answer?

2011 by Allyson Wieland