Classics Without All the Class discussion

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May 2015- Till We Have Faces > Book 1, Chapters 13-15

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message 1: by Jim (last edited May 09, 2015 07:30PM) (new)

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

Chapter 13 - The Fox gives Orual a rational explanation of the whole thing. Psyche is with a man, some vagabond on the mountain, who found her tied to her tree and completely out of her mind. Because of Psyche's mental condition the man was able to seduce her and make her believe anything, so Psyche is fantasizing.

They resolve that Psyche must be captured and removed from the mountain, but the Fox will have none of Orual's plan to kill Psyche, if necessary, to save her honor.

What is your reaction to the insane idea of killing someone to save their honor? Could that be a rational plan?

Interesting quote by Orual: "Then I did a thing which I think few have done. I spoke to the gods myself, alone, in such words as came to me, not in a temple, and without a sacrifice."

In her conflict, there was a moment when Orual considered leaving Psych to her dream and her happiness. Part of her mind was saying, "Do not meddle. Anything might be true." But that passed, and her possessive love won out. She must be stern.

Chapter 14 - Since Bardia must guard the palace while the King is lion hunting, Orual is accompanied on her second trip up the mountain by the taciturn Gram. She finds Psyche and the dispute begins again.

At one point Psyche says, when speaking about her husband, "I am afraid -- no, I am ASHAMED (emphasis added) -- to disobey him." This is closer to true love than anything Orual has ever experienced. Orual's response, "You shall do it. Psyche, I command you."

When it's clear that Psyche will not obey her command, Orual thrusts her dagger clear through her arm, warning that next time she will kill herself, and Psyche too. This threat becomes the blackmail by which she gets Psyche to agree to disobey her husband, and look at his face that very night by the light of the lamp.

But Psyche says, "I think better of him (her husband) than of you. He cannot be cruel like you. He will know I was tortured into my disobedience. He will forgive me."

What do you think about all of this?

Chapter 15 - Camping on the ridge with Gram, Orual sees Psyche's lamp across the valley. Then she saw a second appearing of light, "brighter than you would have thought possible." At that point the stillness broke as the god awakened, and Psyche heard a great voice of incomprehensible speech followed by the sound of weeping. A lightening storm breaks loose, the palace crumbles, all nature rages.

For a moment Orual thought these might be good signs, showing that she was right, and these were the ragings of a dreadful thing.

Then the god appears to Orual, being beautiful and without anger. To her it seemed "he knew all I had thought, done or been." He speaks to her saying, "Now Psyche goes out into exile. Now she must hunger and thirst and tread hard roads. Those against whom I cannot fight must do their will upon her. You, woman, shall know yourself and your work. You also shall be Psyche."

What meaning do you perceive in these words? What do you suppose he meant by the statement "You also shall be Psyche."

Orual cannot see Psyche, but hears her weeping miserably as she goes off into exile. Orual thought to herself, "Now that I'd proved for certain that the gods are and that they hated me, it seemed that I had nothing to do but to wait for my punishment."

Your reactions?


message 2: by Candace (new)

Candace I know that throughout history, killing someone else or oneself for "honorable" reasons has been common. Today, the idea of doing such a thing sounds ridiculous. Many people would believe so due to religious and also rational reasons. Murder or suicide is just not considered an honorable problem-solving method in most societies today.

As for Orual's punishment for persuading Psyche to look upon the god, I am still trying to work my way to understanding it. Hoping others will be able to shed some light on this!


message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (jborland) I agree, that idea is ridiculous by today's standards. There is much symbolism in this book that I am still working my way to understanding. That's what makes it fun!


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