The blog for the C.S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg, Virginia The Society currently meets at Barnes and Noble on second Thursdays at 7:20 PM. Occasionally the group meets at other sites. You can keep track here or at the Facebook site. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CSLewisHburg/
Search Society Blog
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Discussion Questions for Thursday September 14th The Great Divorce
1. In his preface to The Great Divorce Jack says that we are not living in a world like a circle where all roads lead to a common center but in a world much more like a tree, where every so often every road forks and one must make a decision about which way to go. What do you think of Jack’s statement as it applies to religion? Do you think it true or false? Why?
2. How do you react to Jack’s concept of hell as a place where each of the inhabitants is gradually moving further away from each other? Does this depiction of hell make it more real to you? Why or why not?
3. Upon his arrival on the outskirts of heaven Jack’s character in the story says he felt like he had gotten “out” in a way that made our solar system feel like an indoor affair. Is Jack’s description of heaven one to which the 21st century mind is receptive? Is his depiction of heaven attractive to you? Does it make you want to go there? Why or why not?
4. In one of the first vignettes on the outskirts of heaven one of the ghosts from the grey city says that he is not asking for anyone’s “bleeding charity”. The response of one of the solid persons is to encourage him to ask for the “Bleeding Charity” at once. What do you think Jack intends to convey by the solid person’s response? Why is it “Bleeding Charity”?
5. What do you make of the clerical ghost who doesn’t believe in a literal heaven and hell? Does The Great Divorce make it easier for you to believe in heaven and hell?
6. What is your favorite line from this book? How about your favorite vignette? Do you see yourself in any of the characters? In which ones–if you dare to say?
7. Jack says that the book is intended to teach a moral. What moral do you think it teaches?
8. Why do you think Jack includes George MacDonald as a character in this dream? What do we learn about MacDonald’s theology and Jack’s theology from this book?
9. What do you think of MacDonald’s statement about heaven and hell working retroactively?
10. Perhaps the major theme of The Great Divorce is that of choice with regard to salvation. Based on this book, what would you say is Jack’s view of free will and predestination?
11. One of the Spirits says that every artist, apart from the working of grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he or she writes or paints or makes music about to love of the art in and of itself, until in hell we find people who are no longer interested in God at all but only in what they can say about God. Can you identify with this at all or have you ever known anyone like this?
12. What do you think of MacDonald’s statement: that there is only one good and that is God? He says that everything is good when it looks to God for life and evil when it turns away from God. According to MacDonald, the higher a creature is in the natural order of things, the more demonic it will be when it falls. Demons are made out of bad angels, not bad mice or bad men. Lust is lower than the false religion of mother-love or patriotism or art, but then lust is less likely to be made into a religion. What do you make of this?
13. One of the sub-themes of The Great Divorce is the concept of Time. In several places throughout the book we are reminded that “this moment contains all moments.” What do you think Jack is saying about time as it relates to human free choice and predestination?
14. What do you think of Jack’s point that hell will not be allowed to veto heaven? Does this make the reality of hell more acceptable to you?
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle Discussion questions by Elizabeth Fierro Hannah Wills our discussion leader for Thursday August 10th.
Short biography- Madeleine L'Engle Camp was born in New York City on November 29, 1918. At age twelve moved to the French Alps, but she went to boarding school in England. Her high school years were spent back in the U.S. L'Engle attended Smith College from 1937 to 1941 and graduated with honours. She married actor Hugh Franklin. A Wrinkle In Time was rejected by 26 publishers before it was published. It won the 1963 Newbery Award and has been in continuous print ever since. Madeleine L'Engle died in 2007.
1. What word or words would you use to describe the theme of A Wrinkle of Time? Does it match any of the themes in Lewis' Space Trilogy? 2. Does Auntie Beast play the same role as Oyeresu? How are they the same or different?
3. What is the role of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which? What did they used to be?
4. What do you think of the three "gifts" given to the children in the chapter "The Happy Medium"? What was the role of Meg's faults?
5. Does the section of the book dealing with the journey to Camazotz remind you of any of Lewis' books. 6. The people on the planet Camazotz have no crime, no responsibility, and no decisions to make. What is so wrong with their society?
7. What was Meg's expectation as to what would happen when she found her father?
8. How do #6 and #7 relate to Meg's anger with her father? 9. Does this relate to our own expectations of our Heavenly Father and His expectations of us?
10. What is the struggle the children have to wage to not fall into the power of IT? How are these same choices and struggles manifested in society and history?
11. Why is Charles Wallace the key? What got him into the power of IT? What had to change before he could be released and why was Meg the one who had to do it?
12. Questions of trust keep coming up both A Wrinkle In Time and Lewis' books. In the books, and in our lives we have to decide who and what to trust and who and what not to trust. How do the characters (and we) decide who to trust and who is not trustworthy? How do we keep our moral compass?
13. Aunt Beast talks about the "help" we get in the fight against the dark. What do you think are some of the helps she was referring to, and what are the helps you have?
On Thursday July 13th 7:20 pm. Note the meeting place is Barnes & Noble again. We will be discussing Till We Have Faces.
We will be using the the questions from Speaking of Jack by Will Vaus. In case some of you haven't purchased it yet I've posted the questions here. Feel free to ask your own questions of the story also. I think it's only 3.99 on Kindle. :)
Discussion Questions for C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces 1. If you are familiar with the myth of Cupid and Psyche, how does C. S. Lewis change the original story? What additions does he make?
2. If someone asked you what Till We Have Faces was about, what would you say?
3. If That Hideous Strength could be considered an illustration of The Abolition of Man, what Lewis book do you think Till We Have Faces is an illustration of?
4. How are the workings of storge, philia, eros and agape illustrated in Till We Have Faces?
5. What character or characters is Orual similar to in one of Jack’s other books?
6. What do you think Orual’s veil is symbolic of?
7. How does Jack develop the paired motifs of enlightenment and sacrifice in this story? What is Jack trying to teach us in this aspect of the story?
8. How does Jack develop the paired motifs of reason and imagination in this story? What do you think Jack is trying to tell us on this subject?
9. What do you think the god means when he tells Orual that she must “die before she dies because there is no chance after”?
10. Why is it that the gods cannot meet us “till we have faces”?
11. How does the relationship between Orual and Psyche after their encounters on the mountain illustrate Charles Williams’s Way of Exchange?
12. What do you think of Orual’s words: “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer.”?
13. What did you think of Orual being made beautiful at the end of the story? How was it the fulfillment of her life-long desire?
14. How did you enjoy reading Till We Have Faces compared to reading Jack’s other books? Was it harder or easier to read? Why?
It is with heavy hearts that our C. S. Lewis Society of Harrisonburg will meet tonight. We will miss you greatly Iain. One of the kindest people. We know you are having a smashing conversation with Jack. We were incredibly blessed to have known you.
We will meet at Brother's Craft, please join us. A little more informal than usual this time. If you have Speaking Of Jack by Will Vaus for the discussion questions please bring it.
I didn't send e-mails this month I'm redoing those. Please see our Facebook page for more information about Iain and regarding where we are meeting tonight. Much love to everyone.