Plot Summary Of A Severe Mercy
Sheldon Vanauken's A Severe Mercy is the story he tells upon reflection of the love he had with Jean Davis, or Davy as she would come to be called, and the evolution they experienced both as a couple in love and as individuals. It is, as much as it is the story of their love, the story of their coming to know and love Christianity and its Jesus. The two meet in their late teens and are immediately close. They sit engrossed in conversation for hours at a time, and eventually their conversation moves to what their lives would be like if they were to marry. They imagine a life of total sharing, centered on all the beautiful things they love, like poetry, literature, the sea, good company, and art. Eventually, they secretly marry, and spend a happy summer living at the estate where Van grew up, establishing the memories that would be the folklore of their love. World War II comes and calls Van away from Glenmerle to Hawaii, and fortune allows Davy and he to remain there throughout the war. There is a moment in that era when Van reconsiders the question of Christianity as a valid faith, since so many intelligent and educated people swore so adamantly by it, and another in which the two realize the ease with which they could be separated from each other forever. Following Hawaii, there is the time they spent living on a sailboat and realizing a long-held and hard-attained dream of theirs. They explore the Florida Keys and all the ocean surrounding while Van writes for a yachting magazine. Innocent days fill themselves with moments of complete joy and "inloveness", as they coined it, even transcending time itself. Yale follows, and their time at Horsebite Hall when their dogs Gypsy and her Flurry become characters, and Davy paints the first omen painting of the spiritual searching that has begun in her. Next follows another summer of sailing, and then they are finally off to realize their dream of studying at Oxford in England, a place...
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