The Great Divorce, Chapter 8

Tommy Tubbs

This summer, EPIC students are reading The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis and blogging about it together. This week’s post comes from Tommy Tubbs.

In chapter 8, the narrator witnesses an encounter between a ghost and a spirit. The ghost is a very pessimistic being, lamenting that it exists in constant pain, saying, “I wish I’d never been born. What are we born for?” The spirit then tells the ghost, “We are here for infinite happiness,” and that said happiness can be reached at any moment. The ghost continues to reject the spirit’s offer. The conversation is cut short when a heard of unicorns runs through the field, and the ghost flees, as well as the narrator.

Despite being cut short, this conversation leaves a big impact on the narrator. The conversation between the ghost and the spirit reminds me of those between Jesus and the Pharisees in the gospels, with Jesus promising infinite bliss in the Kingdom of God, but the Pharisees and others rejecting his offer for fear of commitment. I particularly liked how Lewis chose to make both the ghost and the spirit featureless so each reader can project their own ideas onto them (again, not unlike parables). Despite this being a short chapter, I felt there was a lot to think about in here. In some cases we can be our own worst enemies on our spiritual journey. Our fears of inadequacy can sometimes be the only thing holding us back.


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