Response to the Great Divorce

Topics: God, The Great Divorce, Love Pages: 4 (1356 words) Published: January 29, 2013
With his allegorical novel The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis intends to educate his readers on the idea that “if we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.” His Great Divorce refers to the absolutely irreconcilable differences, as well as the insurmountable distance, between Heaven and Hell and between good and evil. He carries out this education by taking his readers on a journey from Hell (or purgatory, depending on the visitor) to Heaven. Throughout the journey, Lewis’s narrator interacts with and overhears a number of fellow travelers as they converse with him, with each other, or with the “Bright People,” those beings inhabiting the heavenly land. Lewis opens his work with his narrator, henceforth called the dreamer, standing in line waiting to board a bus. While standing in line, the dreamer encounters a number of unpleasant personalities, some of whom fall out of line during the waiting period. A bus soon pulls up, and along with a number of others, the dreamer gets on board. He takes a seat toward the back, away from the others, but upon the bus’s departure he falls into the company of a young poet. After a violent disruption on the bus, the dreamer suddenly finds himself sitting next to an “Intelligent Man,” who gives him a bit of information on the operations of the town they’ve just pulled away from. After climbing higher and higher into the air (the bus flies rather than drives), so high in fact that the ground below the bus eventually fades from view, it lands on the top side of a cliff, in a mountainous, forested region the dreamer has never been to before. It is in this region where the dreamer gets to know more intimately those personalities that have traveled on the bus with him, personalities which turn out to be the ghosts of humans who have passed away on earth. And through the dreamer’s interactions...
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