Talk:That Hideous Strength

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(2004)[edit]

Pastiche seems strong to me. Is Perelandra a pastiche of Milton? I wouldn't say that Lewis has imitated Williams style so much (at least not successfully, if he was trying to do so). It's more a question of theme...Michael Larsen 12:07, 8 Oct 2003 (UTC)

The quotation marks around "evil science" and "objectivists" suggest to me that they're quotations from the book. I'm sure the former isn't; is the latter? If not, I think they need to be rewritten. --JerryFriedman 01:01, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I don't think the former is, but I know the latter is. Snowboardpunk

(Removed text) Please avoid critical essays[edit]

a[edit]

Anonymous editor 192.115.19.52: I'm sorry to have taken out a considerable amount of text that you added today, but I don't think it belongs in a Wikipedia article. It's one thing to point out the book's themes and influences, but quite another to speculate about what Lewis would have thought about this or that, or state that Ransom "speaks for Lewis", or make judgements about Lewis's charity or skill. That's the domain of a critic or essayist, but here it violates our rules on neutral point of view and no original research. I'm afraid that your recent edits on other Lewis books have the same problem. ←Hob 04:07, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

The removed text follows:

Like the dialogue between the Martian Oyarsa and Prof. Weston in Out of the Silent Planet, the discussion between Ransom and the reawekened Merlin in this book serves to show Lewis' deep criticism of the modern Western materialistic culture. (Also as it was in the 1940's, before the advent of, for example, commercial TV - one can imagine how he would have detested all the more this culture's present manifestation.)

To be sure, Lewis' criticism is deeply conservative in nature, rooted in a deep nostalgia for a perceived glorious and pure past. Still, in many ways it intersects and overlaps with some strands of the left-wing criticism of global Capitalism, as most recently manifested in the last decade's anti-Globalisation movement.

For much the same reason, The Lord of the Rings by Lewis' friend Tolkien, also imbued with the same anti-modern conservative philosophy (especially explicit in the character of Saruman, who clearly represents the destructiveness of modern industrialisation) was enthusiastically taken up by proponents of the 1960's Counter-culture.

In the following quotation, Ransom clearly speaks for Lewis.

[Merlin]: "We must go to him whose office is to put down tyrants and restore life to dying kingdoms. We must call on the Emperor." [Ransom]: "There is no Emperor". "No Emperor..." Began Merlin, and then his voice died away. He sat still for some minutes, wrestling with a world which he had never envisaged". (...)

Ransom shook his head. "You do not understand" he said."The poison was brewed in these West lands but it has spat itself everywhere by now. However far you went you would find the machines, the crowded cities, the empty thrones, the false writings, the barren beds: men maddened with false promises and soured with true miseries, worshipping the iron works of their own hands, cut off from Earth their mother and from the Father in Heaven. You might go East so far that East became West and you returned to Britain across the great Ocean, but even so you would not have come out anywhere into the light The shadow of one dark wing is over all Tellus".

At least in the frame of this book, all human effort is completely futile against this overwhelming oppressive force, the only solution available is - quite literally - deus ex machina: the angels/Greek gods descending to Earth/Tellus and making short work of the evil "Hideous Strength".

To do that they need to work through, effectively to posses, a human being - since their naked strength would completely destroy Earth; and Merlin is chosen for the task, which he would not survive. Ransom pushes the highly reluctant Merlin to take up this duty and give up the life he had started re-living after more than a millennium of sleep - as remorselessly as in Perelandra God in person has persuaded Ransom himself to take up an unpleasant and self-sacrificing duty.

The descending angels/gods re-enact, first the visitation of the Tower of Babylon and then the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lewis is very skilful in realistically depicting how such miraculous supernatural interventions could plausibly impact the prosaic mid-Twentieth Cenury England.

The realism is completed by the immediate aftermath, where the arch-opportunist Curry figures out at record speed how to make use of the cataclism in order to further his own academic career. The character of Curry is probably meant to satyrise some colleague of Lewis' at Oxford.

Actually, Lewis exhibits some Chrisitian charity in letting Curry survive, since he was a minor accomplice in the diabolic take-over by N.I.C.E. - the sin for which the town and university of Edgestow were doomed to total destruction.

One may wonder if, while writing the above-quoted lament at the absence of an Empror and the emptiness of thrones, Lewis reflected on his own having volunteered to fight in WWI and thus taken a minor share in the responsibility for emptying the throne of the German Kaiser and quite a few other thrones as well. (Possibly he did, indeed quite possibly his firstahnd winessing of the horrors of mechanised war might have contributed to his disgust of the modern Western culture).


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b[edit]

Here's another one. Please see above for my reason for removing it.

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A world where genocide is legitimate

In the beginning of the book Mark, the young professor, is being successfully tempted to join N.I.C.E. by the arch-schemer Lord Feverstone. Before the reader ever has a glimpse of the N.I.C.E.'s monstrous headquarters, Feverstone gives quite a frank description of what the N.I.C.E.'s aims are:

"Quite simple and obvious things, at first - sterilization of the unfit, liquidation of backward races (we don't want any dead weights), selective breeding." To which Mark replies "But this is stupendous, Feverstone" and becomes all the more eager to join an institute of which these are some of the proclaimed aims.

This is all the more significant as Mark's most obvious characteristic, as portrayed by Lewis, is an extreme conformism and a strong desire to fit himself to the prevalent ideas and fashions in his social environment. Moreover, he prides himself on being part of "The Progressive Element" in his university (the term "politically correct" did not yet exist).

This clearly implies Lewis' dark 1944 vision of the post-war world: a world where, though Nazi Germany was militarily crushed (that was already a foregone conclusion when the book was written), racism, eugenics, and genocide have become respectable ideas, completely acceptable to "progressive" academics. Lewis also presents vivisection, forced human experimentation, and scientific immortality as atrocities committed by N.I.C.E. Another issue Lewis deals with is the subversion of Christianity by secular humanists.

Later on, one of the N.I.C.E. directors asserts that the two World Wars were "merely the first of sixteen wars scheduled to take place until the end of the Twentieth Century", whose hidden real purpose is to exterminate the bulk of humanity and leave only "a small nucleus" desirable to the Satanic "macrobes". No wonder that Ransom talks of "The shadow of one dark wing" covering the whole of Tellus [Earth].


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I think there might be a good deal of interest in a C. S. Lewis or Space Trilogy wiki. The one at http://www.malacandra.co.uk/site1/index.php/Main_Page is empty, but maybe some of the deleted text should go there. —JerryFriedman 21:54, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Dispute: Connections to Tolkien Works[edit]

The section in question seems like OR and should modified or edited to be more accurate. --Eldarone 18:13, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

OR[edit]

It seems to me that much of the "Major themes" section of this article constitutes original research. If references cannot be supplied for the speculation on "Ouroborindra," etc., it might be a good idea to excise a good deal of this material. As it stands, the article reads, in places, more like a school essay than an encyclopedia article. Deor 16:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree. Verifable references should remain, but speculated material should be removed. At the very least, a rewrite so it's encyclopedic.--Eldarone 17:44, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Misquote of Orwell[edit]

"or, to quote the actual, startlingly similar words of Orwell's arch-villain O'Bbrien[sic] (who bears some resemblance to Lewis' Professor Frost): "The Party's rule is like a boot on a face, forever"."

Please, if we're going to tenuously cite "the actual" words of Orwell, let's try and get the actual words. The real quote is, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." Note, he is talking about the future, not the party, and there is some stamping going on. I don't even see the relevance of O'Brien's ( not O'Bbrien ) quote - was this lifted from somebodies high school essay? I apologise for the tone, but this simply shouldn't be here. -- 219.194.176.19 06:40, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Removed text[edit]

All the unsourced exegesis that I've copied below has been hanging around far too long in the article. If WP:RS can be found to support any of it, the sourced material can be rewritten in encyclopedic style and readded; but WP is not a place for personal analysis. Deor (talk) 14:28, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to see, when I have time, if I can find sources for some of this. A lot of it is very important, and it would keep the article from being too plot-summary-weighted (as it is now). While some of it is quite unencyclopedic, at the very least we need to talk about materialism and nihilism, reference The Abolition of Man as a non-fictional exposition of some of the same ideas, and bring up the egalitarianism and political conservatism (though in the latter section we'd need to either omit the sexuality stuff or explain it in a more complete way, depending on how important we decide it is to the book as a whole. Just stated as random facts it seems meaningless. Sadly, I'd have to argue to exclude it from the article - Lewis's thought on the matter is complex and well beyond the scope of this article.) Vultur (talk) 06:43, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
2012-05-25 There are thirteen deleted sections (Major Themes, which i have changed to level 3 heading). I have [a] removed "NOTOC" (so that a Table of Contents is displayed on this page) and [b] substituted ';' for the sectioning code '==' or '===' at the start of every relevant line (so that these thirteen sections are not in the Table of Contents). --P64 (talk) 20:27, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Unsourced material removed from article

Major themes[edit]

Materialism and nihilism===

The novel's central theme — that pure materialism is incompatible with ethics and, ultimately, human life — is, as Lewis stated, based on his own treatise The Abolition of Man. An extreme example of this theme is his portrayal of the leaders of N.I.C.E., two of whom (Frost and Wither) have become nihilists with no recognizably human motives as a result of their quest for a purely objective mode of thought. Furthermore, Lewis portrays their materialism as having, perhaps inevitably, degenerated into a false front: a disgust with physical life and a fascination with the esoteric and occult have turned them in fact into avid gnostics. Genuine scientific materialism of the Victorian type is portrayed as comparatively innocent, and is represented by Ransom's "official sceptic" MacPhee and by the chemist Hingest, who breaks with the N.I.C.E. on discovering that it has "nothing to do with science".

Political conservatism===

The novel is Lewis's most overtly political fiction, illustrating how the alliances of state, industry, and academia and the manipulation of the mass media might move England towards fascism.

In the novel Merlin criticizes Mark and Jane for their use of contraceptives (it is not made clear whether Ransom, or Lewis, agrees). It defends the family and traditional marriage. Lewis attacks what he considered sexual perversion: Fairy Hardcastle, a prominent villain, is an implied lesbian and sadist (and veteran of Mosley's British Union of Fascists), who forces her attentions on non-consenting "fluffy" female captives.

Lewis portrays in a negative light the trend of relativistic non-traditional teaching of children, using one character's voice to observe that while "experimenting" on children would be met with outrage, for some reason sending them to "experimental schools" was considered progressive. He also attacks in passing the "Humanitarian Theory of Punishment" as an infringement of the human rights of the criminal: if punishment is intended to be therapeutic rather than retributory, there is no clear end point at which the offender has paid his debt to society.

Cecil Rhodes and imperialism===

That Hideous Strength also briefly criticizes Wynwood Reade, a secular humanist philosopher and the author of The Martyrdom of Man. Lewis also makes one negative reference to English South African businessman, politician and colonist Cecil Rhodes, calling Britain the home of Arthur and of Mordred, of Sydney and of Cecil Rhodes. Arthur was the ancient who nobly defended Britain against the Anglo-Saxons, Mordred was the traitor who overthrew him. Sir Phillip Sydney was a great poet of the 16th century. Interestingly, Rhodes was an agnostic, a secular humanist, and a liberal (of a sort), and he read Wynwood Reade's The Martyrdom of Man and said that it "made me who I am". It is most likely, however, that the primary reason Rhodes is chosen as a representative of the "bad" in English history is for his role as an amoral imperialist (cf. the implied anti-colonialism in Out of the Silent Planet). Lewis's conclusions conflicted with simple "conservatism": at the time of the writing, in the 1940s, most British still saw Rhodes as a hero. The villain Weston may be a caricature of Cecil Rhodes: Weston, like Rhodes, is racist, amoral, a secular humanist, and ruthless. Weston bears some likeness to Saruman in JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Critique of global capitalism===

Like the dialogue between the Oyarsa and Professor Weston in Out of the Silent Planet, the discussion between Ransom and Merlin dramatizes Lewis's opinions on modern Western materialistic culture:

"The poison was brewed in these West lands but it has spat itself everywhere by now. However far you went you would find the machines, the crowded cities, the empty thrones, the false writings, the barren beds: men maddened with false promises and soured with true miseries, worshipping the iron works of their own hands, cut off from Earth their mother and from their Father in Heaven".

This criticism is clearly based on religious and conservative premises. Monarchism is refelcted in the above reference to "the empty thrones" as one of the evils of the modern world, as in Merlin's horror at finding a world in which there is no longer an Emperor "whose office it is to put down tyrants and give life to dying kingdoms". Neverhtless, much of this criticism also chimes with contemporary attacks on globalism and capitalism from the modern Left.

Total War, Racism and Genocide===

In the beginning of the book, even before the reader had a glimpse of the N.I.C.E. monstrous headquarters, the arch-schemer Lord Feverstone tells the young professor Mark about N.I.C.E.'s aims: "Quite simple and obvious things, at first - sterilization of the unfit, liquidation of backward races (we don't want any dead weights), selective breeding." To which Mark replies "But this is stupendous, Feverstone" and has no reservations about joining an institute of which these are some of the proclaimed aims.

This is all the more significant as Mark's most obvious characteristic, as portrayed by Lewis, is an extreme conformism and a strong desire to fit himself to the prevalent ideas and fashions in his social environment. The book was written in 1944, when WWII was still going on but Nazi Germany's defeat was already a foregone conclusion. Still, Lewis foresaw a post-war world where Nazism's worst heritage of racism and genocide would live on among the victors and be current in "respectable" British academic circles.

Later on, one of the N.I.C.E. directors asserts that the two World Wars were "merely the first of sixteen wars scheduled to take place until the end of the Twentieth Century", whose hidden real purpose is to exterminate the bulk of humanity and leave only "a small nucleus" desirable to the Satanic "macrobes".

Egalitarianism at St Anne's===

St Anne's own domestic politics are egalitarian. There are no servants. Jane is somewhat taken aback, despite her theoretical egalitarian beliefs, that Ivy treats the educated and middle-class residents as equals. Also, men and women share alternate shifts for the housework. The idea behind this is that men and women tend to work differently, or as one female character says, you may get a man to do something, but it only causes trouble to try to get him to help. Though the community as such is not Christian, given that the "resident sceptic" MacPhee is a member in good standing, nevertheless this egalitarianism recalls that of the early Christian communities, in the time of Jesus Christ himself and his disciples and in the early Roman-persecuted communities, an egalitarianism recalled by Christian reformers at various times and places.

Nimrod and the Tower of Babel===

The "Banquet at Belbury", where the N.I.C.E. leadership are made unable to comprehend each other's language and are thus undone, is clearly based on the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, to which the book's name also refers. (Specifically, it is taken from a quotation from the sixteenth-century Scottish poet Sir David Lindsay, which also serves as the book's motto: "The shadow of that hyddeous strength [the Tower of Babel] sax myle and more it is of length".)

When describing to the reawakened Merlin the conditions in the modern world, Ransom says "it is as in the days when Nimrod built a tower to reach heaven". Though not specifically stated in the Bible, long-standing later tradition (attested in Jewish, Christian and Muslim sources alike) attributes to the hunter-king Nimrod the building of that tower, an ultimate act of rebellion against God's authority. The N.I.C.E. scientists do not build a physical tower, but they and their Satanic patrons, the "macrobes", are rebelling against God. This makes them Nimrod's successors, deserving of the same Divine retribution which fell upon Nimrod and his followers.

The Satanic "Ouroborindra"===

Members of the N.I.C.E. "inmost circle" engage in a secret Satanic ritual of stripping naked and bowing down to the re-animated head of the criminal Alcasan, which actually houses one of the demonic macrobes. All the while they chant, "Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra ba-ba-hee!".

The name "Ouroborindra" is presumably composed of Ouroboros, the mythical worm or dragon swallowing its own tail, and the Hindu god Indra. Another possibility is that it refers to the Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo, whose ideas would have been distasteful to Lewis.

In the Christian interpretation Ouroboros is a symbol of the limited confines of the material world and the self-consuming transitory nature of a mere "worldly existence", and Chesterton, in The Everlasting Man, uses it as a symbol of the circular and self-defeating nature of pantheistic mysticism and of most modern philosophy.

While Hindus in general reckon Indra as among the forces of Good, he is also considered the least perfect of their gods and the most inclined to sinful behavior, and on one occasion was punished for sexual misconduct by "a curse that one thousand vulvas would cover his body in a grotesque and vulgar display, and that his reign as king of the gods would meet with disaster and catastrophe".

Surrealist painting===

The so-called "Objective Room" at Belbury, training place of candidates for the "inner circle" of servants and worshippers of the Satanic Macrobes, includes - among the decorations intended to induce in such trainees the necessary state of mind - paintings with such themes as "A young woman who held her mouth wide open, to reveal the fact that the inside of it was overgrown with hair(...) a giant mantis playing a fiddle while being eaten by another mantis, and a man with corkscrews instead of arms bathing in a flat, sadly coloured sea beneath a summer sunset."

Though the name is not explicitly mentioned, and though no actual paintings with the specific themes enumerated are known, the Surrealist school of painting is plainly meant. Salvador Dalí was already at the peak of his career at the time of writing.

Logres and Britain===

At the end, the group at St Anne's reflect for a time on the meaning of their quest. Dimble suggests that there is something peculiarly English about the way their land is poised between Logres and Britain. McPhee protests that this is just a complex way of saying there are good and bad people. Ransom says that it means more than this, and it is wrong to think the position especially English. Every country and culture has its own form of good and its own ideal — it is evil that is standardized and monotonous.

Whereas the N.I.C.E. represents death and nihilism, St Anne's represents life. Not only human beings, but animals and angels as well join in cosmic harmony at the end. Mark and Jane Studdock are about to be reunited, and the Oyarsa of Perelandra is about to take Ransom back to Venus. Under her influence all the animals are going out in pairs — Mr Bultitude, the bear, has found his Mrs Bultitude.

Satire on academic politics===

Some early chapters center on the small-minded affairs of academic politics, of which Lewis had much personal experience.

Early on, the University's so-called "Progressive Element" manipulates the rest of the Board into selling off the immemorial Bragdon Wood, which had been in the school's proud possession since its founding and had stood untouched for countless centuries before that. After many hours of exhausting discussion on far more trivial issues, the tired and hungry board members consent in a single afternoon to let the pristine wood be bought and cut down by the remorseless real-estate developers of the N.I.C.E. (at this point the true nature of N.I.C.E is not yet clear). This depiction seems to anticipate the criticism of unbridled urban and industrial development made by environmentalists beginning in the 1960s, a feeling shared by Tolkien.

The University and its small-minded academics soon recede to the background as the true demonic character of N.I.C.E. is revealed.

But towards the end, after the Institute is consumed, the supremely opportunistic leader of "The Progressive Element" reappears. Having been on a train bound for the school when the town and university alike were destroyed in a cataclysmic re-enactment of the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah, Dr Curry, the surviving sub-warden of Bracton College, realizes at once that the destruction of the University and the death of all his fellow lecturers offers him a unique chance for personal glory, and an eventual statue of himself in Bracton Hall. He resolves to immediately take charge of the University's reconstruction, and is last seen dreaming of going down in the University's history as "The Second Founder", and having his statue erected "in the rebuilt quadrangle"...

Allusions/references to other works==

Parts of That Hideous Strength are a homage to Lewis's close friend and colleague, J.R.R. Tolkien. A major theme of the novel is that as time goes on, the universe keeps coming to sharper and sharper points, and that while magical communion with nature may have been lawful in ancient times (in the time of Merlin and King Arthur), now such activities are unlawful and almost impossible. There are references to "Numinor" (an unintentional misspelling of Númenor, a word Lewis had heard while listening to Tolkien reading his stories aloud, but had never seen written down), which is the last land in Tolkien's mythology before the Undying Lands. Magic was apparently lawful and accessible in Númenor, to some extent, and there were non-human intelligences accessible to human beings. This sounds very much like the description of Tolkien's Middle-Earth, and twice in the chapter "They Have Pulled Down Deep Heavens on Their Heads" Lewis specifically references the Earth as "Middle-Earth": once in Dr. Dimble's discussion with his wife, and once when Merlin states that if the gods come down it will unmake all of Middle-Earth. The spirits seem to be angelic entities, similar to the Ainur in Tolkien's work.

This novel, unlike the previous two books, shows the influence of Charles Williams. Similarities to Williams' supernatural thrillers include the non-exotic setting, the gathering of an informal team of heroes rather than a single protagonist, the focus on a temporarily estranged married couple, and the use of Arthurian legend. Olaf Stapledon was an indirect influence. The description of the "Head" is similar to that of the Fourth Men in Last and First Men. In the book's preface, Lewis said of Stapledon: "…Mr Stapledon is so rich in invention that he can well afford to lend, and I admire his invention (though not his philosophy) so much that I should feel no shame to borrow".

The character of Jules is believed to be a caricature of H. G. Wells, whose ideas conflicted sharply with Lewis's. The popularity of Wells, whose views Lewis and his friends disagreed with, had been one of the negative influences inspiring the Space Trilogy, although it should be noted that in Out of the Silent Planet and elsewhere Lewis stated his debt to Wells in imaginative terms. (Lewis was throughout his life able to admire a very wide range of literature, even if he disagreed with it.) The historian A. J. P. Taylor, a fellow at the same Oxford college as Lewis, speculates in his memoirs about several other characters in the book being based on certain people at the University.

Connections with Orwell==

There are interesting parallels between Lewis's vision and that of George Orwell, despite the fact that Orwell had disliked Lewis's wartime religious broadcasts. From their divergent viewpoints — Christian in the one case, Democratic Socialist in the other — Lewis and Orwell were both deeply concerned with the same phenomena which they discerned in the post-war world.

In the Lewis book, Ransom tells Merlin that "No power that is merely earthly will serve (...) The Hideous Strength holds all this Earth in its fist, to squeeze it as it wills" — but hope is not lost, since the "gods" (actually, the angels of the true God) are about to come down and overthrow N.I.C.E.

For Orwell, however, there did not exist any power but the "merely earthly", and in his Nineteen Eighty-Four, Big Brother does "squeeze the Earth in his fist", with no one to effectively oppose him — or, to quote the actual, startlingly similar words of Orwell's arch-villain O'Brien (who bears some resemblance to Lewis' Professor Frost): the party's rule "...is like a boot stamping on a human face, forever".

For his part, Lewis does at one point mention Nineteen Eighty-Four, though dismissing it as a work morally and aesthetically far inferior to Orwell's other novel, Animal Farm.

The stuff about the Tolkien references can easily go back. Lewis states all this in the book's forward.--WickerGuy (talk) 04:27, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Jane[edit]

This sounds wrong: "he Pendragon and his followers accept Jane's hesitation to join them and allow her to return freely to Edgestowe, but Ransom does first give some marital advice".

Jane does not "hesitate". She wants to remain at St Anne's, but Ransom will not allow her at that time to because it would mean leaving her husband. Jane does not see losing Mark as any big deal, but Ransom, with his traditional view of marriage, does. But after she returns home and is captured by the Fairy, it's obvious that her home is now too dangerous to live in, so then Ransom allows her stay with them. Although the end of the book reveals that he really wants both Jane and Mark to stay with them, as he suddenly gives the couple the cottage which Jane had helped build ostensibly for another couple (her former maid and that woman's imprisoned husband). Sluggoster (talk) 00:54, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Shortening the plot- Rationale- Feel free to flesh out (a bit)[edit]

I am a bit embarrassed to be the newcomer stomping on the work of a lot of others, but WP has fairly clear guidelines about plot summaries in Wikipedia:WAF#Plot_summaries WP:PLOTSUM and WP:PLOTONLY. The last of these asserts

Some care should be taken not to provide a point-by-point description of the plot, but instead to provide an overview, appropriate to give the reader a general understanding of the work, but not intended to replace the work itself. Even in out-of-copyright works, a very detailed plot summary should only be used....to cover sourced literary criticism or analysis of the plot and characters, where the extended plot summary can be used to assist the reader in understanding the discussion.

Or as the second one asserts more succinctly "[The plot summary] should not cover every scene and every moment of a story." (Emphasis added) and later

While longer descriptions may appear to provide more data to the reader, a more concise summary may in fact be more informative as it highlights the most important elements. By focusing the reader's attention on the larger structures of a plot, without drowning it in trivial detail, a shorter summary can often help the reader to understand a work much better than an overlong one. Excessively detailed plot summaries may also infringe on copyright and fair-use concerns.

As noted in my first quote, it is strongly encouraged that in discussing a long and complex novel that small details be covered in other parts of the article that deal with character analysis or discussion of the philosophical themes of the work. (They even mention sub-pages).

I have replaced the old summary with a bare bones one that might want just a bit fleshing out. For example, I eliminated all discussion of the murder of Bill Hingest. There might be a case for putting that back in. But the old summary was at least 3 or 4 times longer than it needed to be.--WickerGuy (talk) 13:56, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

MacPhee character[edit]

There is a quibble on whether the MacPhee of this novel is really the same as the person mentioned in Perelandra. The character in THS is named MacPhee is an Ulsterman (although the narrator commented that his accent sounds Scottish to Jane;s's English ear). The person mentioned in Perelandra is "a sceptical friend of ours named McPhee" and is identified as Scots. I don't know if the quibble bears mention in the article - after all, we're talking about at most a "continuity error" - but if someone feels they can add it in and make a better article, be bold and do it! Ellsworth (talk) 00:09, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

I never understood why that character didn't know any Latin (which seems a little odd for a man of that generation with a scholarly/educational bent). AnonMoos (talk) 02:25, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps as a skeptic and a modernist he eschewed the study of it as unworthy of any great effort. Ellsworth (talk) 18:43, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Possibly, but for people born before WW1, it would seem that the majority of options for middle-class or upper-class education for boys in the British Isles didn't give them much choice about learning at least a little Latin by the time they were in their mid-teens... AnonMoos (talk) 19:40, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
I admit it's a weak point - on imdb they'd call it a "plot hole". Anyway what do you think of the quibble? Ellsworth (talk) 22:16, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Apologies if I'm messing up the threading here. Actually, by the mid 19th century a good education was by no means assured to include classical languages. Yes at the great public schools, but much schooling was done either in small private schools or by private tutors and if there was no expectation of progress to university, meaning there was no intention to study law, medicine or divinity, there was no real need for it. If you look at the advertising for private schools of this period, some make great noise about their classics teaching - and some do not, which tells a story. On Scottishness, perhaps MacPhee is Ulster Scots. 90.196.126.114 (talk) 10:01, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Why not just delete the "He is mentioned parenthetically in Perelandra" bit entirely? It doesn't add anything to the description of MacPhee's character and activities in THS and could easily be dispensed with. Deor (talk) 23:07, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Actually, in Perelandra it just says he is pressing on "in his Scots way" as in being a skeptic. It doesn't quite say he is Scottish, just that he has a Scottish style skepticism about him. In P he expresses skepticism of the Christian notion of reusrrection. It's clearly the same character. He's a skeptic in both novels.--WickerGuy (talk) 01:59, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree - the 'Mc/Mac" could be the work of the "printer's devil". Ellsworth (talk) 00:00, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Homophobia Much?[edit]

Has ANYBODY noticed just how homophobic this book is? I mean, Lewis implies that all lesbians are sadistic nazis.... Gniob (talk) 19:06, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

There's one semi-minor character whose lesbianism is one component of an overall unpleasant personality. AnonMoos (talk) 21:09, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
It is a bit hard to escape the strong suspicion (if not clinched conclusion) that homophobia is at work there. There is a slight suggestion of lesbianism in a positive context in a much later work by Lewis Till We Have Faces, but Lewis had a much better attitude to women in general by this time. The character in question here (named "Fairy Hardcastle"!!) reminds me a bit of the negative lesbian stereotype in the James Bond book (not the film) "Goldfinger". The image of the murderous homosexual was a common trope in thrillers in those days. Murderous gay men pervade many films of Alfred Hitchcock. This was reinforced by the real-life Leopold and Loeb murders.--WickerGuy (talk) 23:27, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
However, it's not particularly an overall theme of the book, as Gniob seemed to imply... AnonMoos (talk) 00:35, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
Agreed.--WickerGuy (talk) 15:35, 22 September 2012 (UTC)