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An Analysis Of C. S. Lewis Till We Have Faces

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There is no piece of great literature that is completely straight-forward, as most great works strive to make their readers think. These thoughts are what drive readers to extract a sense of fulfillment from the piece that they otherwise would not have from a book of lower caliber. A book on par with the classics, C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces is not an exception to this unwritten rule. Widely considered one of Lewis’s best pieces, Till We Have Faces is a book that brings many complex questions to its reader’s attention that do not have simple answers. This is especially evident with one’s judgement of the major character of the book -- Orual. In C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, Orual performs several actions that may lead one to believe…show more content…
Thus, the aforementioned rash judgement lasts a short time in the reader’s mind, as C.S. Lewis quickly displays the complexity of Orual’s thought process leading up to these immoral actions. One of the first things that Lewis shows the reader is Orual’s immense love for her sister. This love is so intense, that “from the time...Psyche is born, Orual loses herself in her loving and caring for Psyche” (Sauders 3). Therefore, she is very distraught over the alleged death of her beloved sister. Thus, when she sees Psyche, whom she loves so much, alive and well in the edenic valley, a rush of powerful and different emotions floods Orual’s heart. With these strong and contradicting emotions of worry and relief fluttering within Orual and competing for her attention, it becomes clear to the reader that it was Orual, not Psyche, who was not in her right mind. With this knowledge, the reader is able to understand, and even sympathize with Orual; the sympathy most likely stemming from one’s remembrance of their experience losing someone dear to him or her and the resulting, almost selfish, desire for said person. Thus, the reader is able to empathize with Orual’s selfish desire to have all of her sister’s love to herself because he or she would probably have wanted the same thing as Orual if he or she was faced with a situation such as…show more content…
Once back in Glome, Orual relates Psyche’s fantastic tale to the two people that she trusts the most, aside from Psyche, Bardia -- her wise and religious bodyguard -- and The Fox -- her teacher and father-figure. Both of them, due to their vastly differing beliefs, give Orual different responses to Psyche’s story, though both agree on one point: the husband is malevolent and is either the divinely frightening Shadowbrute or an undesirable who lives in the mountains. Based off of these two interpretations of the situation, as well as her own doubtfulness about the nature of Psyche’s husband, Orual resolves that she has an obligation to show Psyche the reality of her dreadful situation. In doing so, Orual believes that, although she would initially cause her sister pain, her actions would better Psyche’s life in time. In other words, the drastic measures Orual takes are driven by both, her immense love and devotion for Psyche as well as Orual’s desire for Psyche to have the best life possible. Reading this, the reader becomes aware that the seemingly selfish acts that Orual commits, twisted as they may be, are founded in altruism. At this epiphany, the reader’s contempt for Orual melts away and is replaced by a warm sympathy and understanding for why she did what she did to
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