The Great Divorce, Chapter 11

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

Richard Hill
Richard Hill

In the eleventh chapter of The Great Divorce, the narrator continues following the teacher and comes upon two more “ghosts” from the bus. The first is a mother who has just arrived talking to her brother, a “spirit,” about how she wants to meet her son Michael, who died years ago and is already in heaven. All this time her brother is trying to explain to her that she cannot see him because she is no longer loving God in her relationship with her son, and is hardly loving Michael either.

This relationship is a good example of a problem that I’ve encountered. In this situation, this woman was so focused on getting access to her son that she lost sight of loving him and God. I’ve found that in many situations it’s not very hard to do things without remembering why I’m doing them, and I’ve then lost some of the significance of why I was doing them in the first place. This situation was particularly bad, as the woman had not only lost sight of loving God and her son, but had also been so focused on the memory of her son that she lost sight of other things and neglected the other members of her family in the process.

The narrator leaves that scene before we learn whether she ever comes to understanding and is able to stay in heaven. The narrator seems hopeful of her stay, but the teacher he is following seems to suggest otherwise.

The next pair they come upon is a man talking to what we figure out to be an angel. The man is accompanied by a lizard, which seems to loosely represent the man’s bad ideas and negative thoughts. The angel is repeatedly asking if the man wants it to kill the lizard, and the man is hesitant to let it happen. This situation seems to point out that even though the man knows that the lizard is a problem, he’s gotten so used to it, that he isn’t sure if it’s a good idea to get rid of.

Eventually the angel eventually kills the lizard, which turns into a stallion, and the man rides off on it into the mountains. This seems to be showing that even though this ghost is particularly nasty, he is able to go into the mountains after what seems like a pretty simple acknowledgment of his lizard and letting the angel kill it.

 

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