K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > The Pilgrim's Progress

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
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bookshelves: classics, 501, religion, 1001-non-core
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

Fascinating allegory about man’s search for salvation. The fact that this was first published in 1678 by John Bunyan (1628-1688) and its message still rings true up to now makes this an appropriate read for those who believe in life after death. The only problem is that if you hate classics, then you will find this a struggle to read. Methinks however, that if you like novels with pilgrimage as theme (Paolo Coelho’s Pilgrimage is a good example) or those even crusade adventures like Lord of the Rings, Sword in a Stone, etc., you might find this interesting. Just substitute Celestial City as the destination instead of Mordor (LOTR) and salvation (instead of excalibur (Sword in a Stone) and they are all just the same banana.

The story is divided into 2 parts. The first part has Christian, the father, who dreams one night of a book saying that he will die in pain if he does not find salvation. In that dream, a man called Evangelist has told him that salvation can be found in Celestial City. In the morning, he asks his wife and children if they want to accompany him. They refused. So Christian was joined by two of his neighbors, Obstinate and Pliable but later, the first one goes back. Then soon after experiencing the Slough of Despond, Pliable goes back too to the town where they originate. What follows is the story of Christian’s journey and the people he meets along the way: Help, Worldly Wiseman, Formalist, Hypocrisy, Discretion, Piety, Prudence, Charity, Goodwill, Interpreter, Shining Ones, Apollyon (the devil), Faithful, Talkative, Mr. By-ends, Demas, Giant Despair, Diffidence, Temporary, Ignorance, Flatterer, Atheist, and Hopeful.

Since the first part is about the father, the second is about his family taking the same route to Celestial City. Christian’s wife, Christiana and their sons: Matthew, Joseph, Samuel and James, change their minds and follow Christian to the Celestial City. However, maybe not to bore the readers, there is almost a new set of characters and adventures that Christian in Part 1 did not meet or go through: Sagacity, Mercy, Interpreter, Ill-Favored Ones, Reliever, Mr. Great-Heart, Watchful, Grim, Mr. Brisk, Mercy, Matthew, Dr. Skill, Maul, Mr. Brisk, Old Honest, Mr. Fearing, Gaius, Giant Good-Slay, Heedless, Too-Bold, Mr. Feeble-Mind, Mr. Ready-to-Halt, Mr. Mnason, Contrite, Valiant-for-Truth, Standfast, and Madam Bubble,
I still remember the board game called Snakes and Ladders. This novel is similar to that. Among the characters listed, there are those who are snakes (Apollyon, Obstinate) and there are those who are ladders (Mr. Great-Heart, Help, Faithful, Helpful). The names are obvious so you can figure for yourself.

The use of these terms as names instead of fictional names seems to obviously indicate their roles in the journeys. However, I think it adds to the book’s charm and it makes it an easy read even after 4 decades since its first publication.

Being an allegory, however, it hardly elicited any faith-awakening emotion from me. It is more of an adventure or a fable intended for children. It is just fascinating to be exposed to a 17th century work that deals on faith. Then of course, learning that it had strong influences on the succeeding writers like Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, E. E. Cummings, Alan Moore makes this a worthwhile read.
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Reading Progress

January 16, 2010 – Shelved
March 26, 2011 – Started Reading
March 26, 2011 –
page 1
0.26% "Very interesting apology."
March 31, 2011 – Finished Reading
July 9, 2011 – Shelved as: classics
July 9, 2011 – Shelved as: 501
July 9, 2011 – Shelved as: religion
September 26, 2011 – Shelved as: 1001-non-core

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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Lisa This is one to read on and off over a lifetime, I think. It's more than a religious text, it's a kind of guide to life.

Teresa Great review, K.D.

K.D. Absolutely Thanks, T. I composed and typed my review in the office yesterday during lunch break (12-1) and saw that I committed many grammatical mistakes. :) Yet, you said that it's a nice review ha ha! Of course, you forgive those because English is not my first language.

I can't agree enough, Lisa.

message 4: by Teresa (last edited Apr 01, 2011 03:00PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Teresa K.D. wrote: "Yet, you said that it's a nice review ha ha!"

Yep! Very nice review because of your analysis, comparing it to later works etc, and because it's well-written -- not sure that I even noticed your 'mistakes.'

message 5: by Lynai (new) - added it

Lynai I remember reading this way back when I was in Grade School. I would live to read this again. Hmm, another to-hunt book in my list. Love your review, K.D. :)

K.D. Absolutely Oh I have been seeing copies of this in Booksale, Lynai. Don't buy at regular price. If you want, I can buy and send you a copy.

message 7: by Lynai (new) - added it

Lynai WOW!I'd love that K.D. This time, hindi na ako mahihiya to take advantage of your offer. :)

K.D. Absolutely Sige, I'll be hunting for a copy and send to you. :)

message 9: by Lynai (new) - added it

Lynai K.D. wrote: "Sige, I'll be hunting for a copy and send to you. :)"

Thanks K.D.!!! Will reimburse you, if ever. :)

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