Classics Without All the Class discussion

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May 2015- Till We Have Faces > Book 1, Chapter 3

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim (jborland) May 2015 book discussion --> Till We Have Faces

Redival, Orual's sister and Psyche's half-sister, sneeringly calls Psyche a goddess, bowing down and pouring dust on Psyche's head. Psyche admits that a woman had asked her to kiss her child because it would make the child beautiful because of Psyche's beauty. The worship of Psyche by the people becomes dangerously popular. In the depths of a severe plague the people demand that she come out to touch them so that they might be healed (they called her the Princess with healing hands). Upon seeing her beauty, the people cry out, "A goddess, a goddess," and one woman even declares Psyche is "Ungit herself in mortal shape."

As in the previous chapter, Orual is distressed by the worship of Psyche because, "The gods are jealous." Once again the Fox repeats, "The divine nature is without jealousy." This time he adds that the gods Orual is thinking about are not real but "are all folly and lies of the poets." Fox is denying the truth of the religion of Glome.

In spite of their differences, the Fox and Orual appear to agree on one point of theology: "the gods do not communicate well with man." The Fox states "It is not easy to find out what Ungit thinks." Later, Orual says that only the gods know whether those touched by Psyche were healed and "gods do not tell."

There's a lot of talk about "gods" in this book so we need to establish some ground rules for our discussion. This is not a religious forum and we must refrain from promoting or denigrating certain religions. Goal: we will not advocate or promote specific religions. Let's limit our discussion of "gods" to a generic deity and what is contained in Greek mythology.

Here is an attempt at a discussion question to test this idea. How do you understand a god's silence? Does it prove that the god does not exist or could there be a divine reason for a god to be silent?


message 2: by Lizbeth (new)

Lizbeth | 23 comments Sometimes, it seems to me that (within mythology) silence is often a projection of human emotional reactions, such as the silent treatment used for punishment, after wrath and other kinds of punishment have failed.

Other times it can seem like a dispassionate strategy on the part of the gods for getting people to carry out their will. The silence creates fear among the people, and a drive to win back the gods' favor, whatever it takes.

Among humans, silence can be a response to someone who seems self-destructive and past hope. The silence comes more from a helpless and self-protective stance. If the humans are being rebellious, I suppose the gods might simply be waiting for the humans to return to an attentive and worshipful state, instead of threatening or cajoling them.


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