Classics and the Western Canon discussion

47 views
Pilgrim's Progress > Pilgrim's Progress Week 4

Comments Showing 1-36 of 36 (36 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Week 4: From the start of Part 2 through their arrival at the place where Christian and Apollyon fought and they read the writing on the monument. OWC, 166-226

Having gotten Christian safely to the Celestial City, we now go back to the wife and children he left at home. Bunyan isn’t willing to leave them to perdition, but they will now follow Christian. Indeed, we are told right at the start of Part 2:

Go, now, my little Book, to every place
Where my first Pilgrim has but shown his face:
Call at their door: if any say, Who’s there?
Then answer thou, Christiana is here.

I love the interlocutory between Bunyan and Christiania where she raises objections as to how she might be received, and Bunyan offers Answers to the objections. This is the same format that Aquinas used in his great summa, though it is older than that (Thomas may know the genesis of the structure.) But it’s a cute little framework of the author’s two roles, one as the character and the other as the narrator, interacting.

Once again Bunyan dreams, and in this dream he meets with Mr. Sagacity, who has heard of Christian and his troubles, as have most of the residents of the city, and while Christian was considered a fool when he lived there, now he is admired and envied, and many good things are said about his life in Heaven (though we are never told how the townspeople know about his life in Heaven). And Mr. Sagacity reports that Christiana, having regretted the loss of her husband, and having herself dreamed (dream within dream) of Christian’s life in Heaven, decided to go off herself with their children to follow his path and rejoin him, despite the fears of Mrs. Timorous (who is the daughter of Christian’s Timorous, though how she bore the same name if she’s married we won’t ask. This is, after all, allegory, not narrative).

There are many ways we could approach Part 2, but I won’t suggest a specific way but invite you to try any of the ways that appear profitable to you.


message 2: by Chris (new)

Chris | 392 comments As I understand it, this part was written some years after part 1 and when Bunyan was no longer in prison. I wonder why he felt compelled to write this sequel?


message 3: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli His fans bugged him too much?


message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Chris wrote: "As I understand it, this part was written some years after part 1 and when Bunyan was no longer in prison. I wonder why he felt compelled to write this sequel?"

One reason may well have been the Don Quixote syndrome. You may know that DQ was also written in two parts. After Cervantes wrote the first part, somebody wrote what they claimed was the sequel to DQ. Totally unauthorized. So Cervantes wrote Part 2 to get the money for himself that was going to an imposter.

Bunyan alludes to this in the Objection 1:

But how if they will not believe of me
That I am truly thine? ‘cause some there be
That counterfeit the Pilgrim and his name,
Seek, by disguise, to seem the very same;
And by that means have wrought themselves into
The hands and houses of I know not who.

The notes to my Oxford World Classics edition says that Bunyan is referring to Thomas Sherman, a General Bap;tist preacher who published The Second Part of The Pilgrim's Progress in 1682. [Bunyan's Part 1 was published in 1678; part 2 in 1684.]

The note goes on to say that There were many subsequent imitations and adaptations, a testimony to the amazing popularity of Bunyan's work... In 1699, Bunyan's publisher, Nathaniel Ponder, complained about pirates who 'put the two first letters of [Bunyan's] name .. to their rhimes and ridiculous books, suggesting to the world as if they were his.'

Such was the world of publishing before copyright.


message 5: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments When I read Part 2 initially, I sort of skimmed over the Author's Way verse. But last night I went back and re-read it with more care (which is why I had the information to reply to Chris's question). But it also raised a quandry in my mind. Who exactly is this addressed to?

In the first line, he says "Go, now my little Book, to every place, Where my first Pilgrim has but shewn his Face, Call at their door:" which suggests that he is directly addressing the book. But on lines 3-4, he says "If any say, who's there? Then answer thou, Christiana is here."

Who's answering? The book, or Christiana?

A few lines down, he says to those into whose houses the book goes "Tell them [the people of the house] that they [Christiana and her children] have left their House and Home..." which suggests that we're back to the book being the speaker.

And when we get to Objection 1, he still seems to be addressing the book, "But how if they will not believe of me [the book] that I am truly thine.."

But when he gets to the Answer to Objection 4, he is suddenly addressing not the book but Christiana:
"My Christiana, if with such thou meet, By all means in all Loving-wise, them greet;"

Later in that Answer, he says
"Leave such, my Christiana, to their choice,"

But 4 lines later
"Go then, my little book and show to all..."

But about six lines later:

"Go then, I say, tell all men who thou art,
Say I am Christiana, and my part
Is now with my four sons"

So now he's addressing C.

But near the end of the verses, he says

"When thou has told the World of all these things,
Then turn about, my book, and touch these strings..."

So he's talking directly to the book again.

It reminds me a bit of watching a tennis match. Or maybe of Abbot and Costello's "Who's on First?"


message 6: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Fan fiction.


message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5061 comments Laurel wrote: "Fan fiction."

Laurel, explain? I haven't been following what "fan fiction" is very closely, except that it can be kind of a big deal in publishing on the Net these days (think of E.L. James) -- are you referring to all the imitators or to Eman's discussion of all the shifts in voice or both?


message 8: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments To the imitators of Bunyan and Cervantes, Lily.


message 9: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments "Now my old friend proceeded, and said, But when Christiana came to the Slough of Despond, she began to be at a stand; For, said she, this is the place in which my dear husband had like to have been smothered with mud."

I she guessing, or does she know that Christian had a more serious issue here than she did? If she knows things that happened during her husband's trip, one wonders how. Was he able to communicate to her from beyond the grave? And if so, how does Bunyan reconcile this with Protestant theology, which denies (or if I understand correctly at least at the denied) the existence of spirits and ghosts?


message 10: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Reliever: So, after a few more words, this Reliever said as followeth: I marveled much, when you were entertained at the gate above, seeing ye knew that ye were but weak women, that you petitioned not the Lord for a conductor; then might you have avoided these troubles and dangers; for he would have granted you one.

Christiana: Alas! said Christiana, we were so taken with our present blessing, that dangers to come were forgotten by us. Besides, who could have thought, that so near the King’s palace there could have lurked such naughty ones? Indeed, it had been well for us had we asked our Lord for one; but since our Lord knew it would be for our profit, I wonder he sent not one along with us.

"Reliever: It is not always necessary to grant things not asked for, lest by so doing they become of little esteem; but when the want of a thing is felt, it then comes under, in the eyes of him that feels it, that estimate that properly is its due, and so consequently will be thereafter used. Had my Lord granted you a conductor, you would not either so have bewailed that oversight of yours, in not asking for one, as now you have occasion to do. "

I like this way of Bunyan enforcing the principle of prayer, that one can't just wait for God to shower blessings on one, but has to pray for the things they need, and if they are truly needed, I take Bunyan to say, they will be granted.


message 11: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1743 comments Everyman wrote: ""Now my old friend proceeded, and said, But when Christiana came to the Slough of Despond, she began to be at a stand; For, said she, this is the place in which my dear husband had like to have bee..."

I guess the allegory doesn't quite work here. In the real world, Christian needn't physically leave his wife to go on spiritual pilgrimage, though in the allegorical world he does. In the real world, Christiana was right there when Christian went through his Slough of Despond. In the allegorical world, I suppose we should imagine that tales were brought back to her, though the mechanism for that is a bit murky.


message 12: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Roger wrote: "In the allegorical world, I suppose we should imagine that tales were brought back to her, though the mechanism for that is a bit murky. "

It also works in the allegorical world. Pliable went back from the Slough of Despond and brought news of Christian. There are others who turned back much further down the road, all the way to the River.


message 13: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 2456 comments Everyman wrote: "Who's answering? The book, or Christiana? ..."

Interesting observation. Another question: Who are the Christianas in the world? The name of the main character would suggest that Part 2 was written for female Christians, but I don't recognize any specifically female characteristics.

Bunyan seems to have mellowed quite a bit between Part 1 and Part 2, and become more patient with the weak and timorous ones among the pilgrims.


message 14: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Everyman wrote: ""Now my old friend proceeded, and said, But when Christiana came to the Slough of Despond, she began to be at a stand; For, said she, this is the place in which my dear husband had like to have bee..."

Like the people in the second part of Don Quixote, she read the book.


message 15: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Laurel wrote: "Like the people in the second part of Don Quixote, she read the book. "

Great answer!


message 16: by Chris (new)

Chris | 392 comments I always find it interesting how words have evolved to mean different things over the decades and centuries, but I was surprised at the connotation for bowels from the line "her bowels yearned over Christiana: So she said within herself, if my neighbor will be gone, I will go a little way with her and help he. My edition says this about bowels- conventional synecdoche for compassion. What the heck?!!!!
On another note, it seems as if Bunyan sticks to the belief that the temptations of the flesh originate from women as we meet Madame Wanton, Mrs. Love-the-Flesh, Mrs. Filth etc, oh and lets not forget the other womanly attributes ( as opposed to manly seriousness) Inconsiderate and Light-Minded and Know-Nothing. Not sure the significance of the name of Mrs. Bat's-eyes. All in all a group to run away from!!!


message 17: by Tk (new)

Tk | 51 comments I'm enjoying this sequel more than the first part. Christiana are easier to identify with for me, maybe because they are traveling with children and are correcting the errors of their ways.

Why do you suppose a companion like Brave-Heart was not provided to Christian? Is it because he is a man, or because he didn't ask, or something else?


message 18: by Chris (new)

Chris | 392 comments I think Great-heart is like a pastor or minister whom the women need to guide them ( they proclaim themselves to be weak & in need of help). Christian had a couple of people intercede for him, the first being the Evangelist... and his roll which he often referred to for guidance.


message 19: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli I suspect that this book is shifting the allegory slightly, to put more emphasis on Christians' interactions.


message 20: by Roger (last edited May 11, 2015 07:41AM) (new)

Roger Burk | 1743 comments Christiana starts out with a particular sin weighing on her: that she did not support her husband in his pilgrimage. Christian did not lament over any particular sin of his, only about a general burden. On the other hand, when they come to the foot of the Cross, Christian's burden of sin literally falls off and rolls into the sepulchre. Christiana loses no burden, she merely feels more "lightsome and joyous." Did Christiana start out less sinful than Christian?


message 21: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 249 comments Roger wrote: "Christiana starts out with a particular sin weighing on her: that she did not support her husband in his pilgrimage. Christian did not lament over any particular sin of his, only about a general ..."

I haven't gotten to this part but Bunyan might be going easier on the woman and kiddies because they are weak and not too much can be expected of them.


message 22: by Roger (new)

Roger Burk | 1743 comments Christiana receives Mr. Great-Heart as an escort, an aid which Christian did not have. Perhaps Bunyan is saying that Christiana's pilgrimage is moved along by her own great heart.


message 23: by Dee (new)

Dee (deinonychus) | 291 comments Roger wrote: "Christiana loses no burden, she merely feels more "lightsome and joyous." Did Christiana start out less sinful than Christian?"

I've often wondered about this, and other differences between the first and second part that seem to present a different message. Maybe Bunyan's point is that different people have different journeys and ways of coming to faith.

What about the children? They seem to follow along without any regard for their faith or otherwise.


message 24: by Chris (new)

Chris | 392 comments Perhaps this second part is less intense or forceful in its message because Bunyan is writing it under less stressful (in prison) or in a less precarious political and religious environment.


message 25: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 249 comments Roger wrote: "Christiana receives Mr. Great-Heart as an escort, an aid which Christian did not have. Perhaps Bunyan is saying that Christiana's pilgrimage is moved along by her own great heart."

Or that's what she's lacking and so provides it for her?


message 26: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Tk wrote: "Why do you suppose a companion like Brave-Heart was not provided to Christian? Is it because he is a man, or because he didn't ask, or something else?
"


Great question. I assumed because he was a man and was provided with weapons to defend himself (which indeed he needed), whereas Christiana would not be expected to be able to fight off monsters and evils herself, so needed a defender.


message 27: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 7718 comments Roger wrote: "Christiana starts out with a particular sin weighing on her: that she did not support her husband in his pilgrimage."

And yet she bears no burden as Christian did.


message 28: by Nicola (last edited May 13, 2015 03:55AM) (new)

Nicola | 249 comments Everyman wrote: "Tk wrote: "Why do you suppose a companion like Brave-Heart was not provided to Christian? Is it because he is a man, or because he didn't ask, or something else?
"
Great question. I assumed because he was a man and was provided with weapons to defend himself (which indeed he needed), whereas Christiana would not be expected to be able to fight off monsters and evils herself, so needed a defender. ."


This would fit the attitude of the time yes? A woman was meant to take guidance and counsel from men and not speak out on her own account. She was to listen to her father and her husband. Or her spiritual leader.


message 29: by Dee (new)

Dee (deinonychus) | 291 comments Tk wrote: "Why do you suppose a companion like Brave-Heart was not provided to Christian? Is it because he is a man, or because he didn't ask, or something else? "

Christiana is told that she will only have Great-Heart to accompany her if she asks, and when she wants him to carry on beyond the first house, he tells her he can't because he was only commissioned to accompany her that far, and she has to send back a request for him to continue.


message 30: by Tk (new)

Tk | 51 comments David wrote: "Tk wrote: "Why do you suppose a companion like Brave-Heart was not provided to Christian? Is it because he is a man, or because he didn't ask, or something else? "

Christiana is told that she will..."


That's kind of what I was getting at. I wonder if Christian could have asked. He didn't so I guess we'll never know. But it seems the consensus is that he could not have asked. I can only imagine how much more smoothly his journey would have been with Brave-Heart alongside.


message 31: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 229 comments Chris, in the New Testament the bowels are seen as the seat of compassion and emotion. Where we talk about the brain, the NT often talks about the heart. Where we talk about the source of something, the NT often refers to the head.


message 32: by Chris (new)

Chris | 392 comments interesting Hilary, I've never been aware of that interpretation or use of bowels when reading the NT . I'll have to watch for it!


message 33: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Chris wrote: "interesting Hilary, I've never been aware of that interpretation or use of bowels when reading the NT . I'll have to watch for it!"

You will likely only find it in the King James Version. (Wycliffe and the French have "entrailles," most modern versions use "tenderness" or just leave it out.

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary:

"BOWELS
Translation used in modern versions to refer to intestines and other entrails (Acts 1:18). In the KJV “bowels” is also used to refer to the sexual reproductive system (2 Sam. 16:11; Ps. 71:6) and, figuratively, to strong emotions (Job 30:27), especially love (Song 5:4) and compassion (Col. 3:12). Both Hebrew and Greek picture the entrails as the center of human emotions and excitement."


message 34: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 229 comments Thanks for the more detailed information, Laurel. :-)


message 35: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5061 comments Hilary wrote: "Chris, in the New Testament the bowels are seen as the seat of compassion and emotion. Where we talk about the brain, the NT often talks about the heart. Where we talk about the source of somethi..."

King James produced 44 matches when I searched here for "bowel":
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/kjv/simpl...

Only 7 matches here for NRSV:
http://www.devotions.net/bible/00bibl...

I


message 36: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 229 comments Thanks Lily for the links. It makes sense that most modern versions choose another word, as 'bowels' seems like an odd word in this context in 2015. I happen to like it, but then I had a great teacher and I'm strange anyhow. :p


back to top