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Dark Like Blood

Veilings and Unveilings

"things that many see may have no taste or moment in them at all, and things that
are shown only to one may be spears and water-spouts
of truth from the very depth of truth" (277).

C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces (1956)

W Points of Reflection

The Bible: I Corinthians 13:8-13

1. which of the skills and experiences trumped by love (v.8) are valued by the population at large, as well as by Christians?

2. do you agree that humans, even collectively considered, know "only in part" (v.9), or do you believe that humans know--or at least have the capacity to definitely discover--everything?

3. do you believe most humans transcend childhood and learn to reason as an adult (v.11)?

4. do you imagine that the mirror metaphor of verse 12 means the same to us as it did to this letter's original readers? And how likely is it that the readers would be familiar with a shiny mirror like that present in the palace at Glome?

5. what does the last, cryptic verse mean (v.13)? In what ways might "love" be greater than even "faith" and "hope"?

C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces (1956)

Part 1: chps. 15-21

1. having concluded her tale, Orual calls on the reader to judge between her and the gods (248-49 / 283-84).  At this point in the novel, which side is the reader encouraged to take?

2. twentieth-century novelists sometimes create an unreliable narrator, a storyteller whose account of the events in her own life grows less authoritative as fault lines gradually appear in her narrative.  At what moments in this particular tale is the reader prompted to question the validity and reliability of Orual’s perspective?

3. what is Orual’s emotional state following her heated dialogue with Psyche?  Why?

4. what lies of omission does Orual commit with the Fox?

5. does Orual have a reliable memory of past events?

6. does Orual’s confrontation with divinity (172-73 / 195-97) reveal more about herself or the god facing her?

7. does Orual fit the traditional mold shaped for women by her culture, or transform it?

8. who understands the concept of Agape love best, Orual or the Fox?

9. why does Orual wear a veil, and what impact does this have on others’ perception of her?

10. what various ways does Orual interpret, over the years, the words “‘You also shall be Psyche’” (174 / 197)?

11. can you identify any echoes of Biblical themes or events in today’s reading?

12. into what two halves does Orual split herself, and which half dominates the other?

13. how does the House of Ungit change under Arnom’s leadership?

14. how do Orual’s relationships with the Fox and with Bardia change once she is leading her people?

15. which does the Fox gravitate towards more as he ages, philosophy or poetry?

16. does Orual’s posture towards death change in today’s reading?

Part II: chps. 1-4 & closing note

17. what role does writing her biography play in Orual’s journey towards self-knowledge?

18. how does Orual’s encounter with Tarin force her to rewrite her shared history her sister, Redival?

19. does Orual’s affection for Bardia make her a better person?  What lies at the heart of her romantic feelings for him?

20. what does Orual’s spiritual journey reveal about her capacity for love?

21. what does Orual learn from her dreams and visions which reality had not taught her?

22. what impact do Orual’s visions and dreams have on her leadership skills?

23. what does “I am Ungit” actually mean?

24. what does it mean to “die before you die” (279-80 / 318 mid)?

25. what does Orual learn from the moving images on the walls shown her by the Fox?

26. why Psyche and Orual both appear beautiful at the close?

27. any echoes of the original legend concerning Cupid and Psyche?  Do these various elements meld smoothly, or clash?

The Vertebrated Cavern
"The Vertebrated Cavern, Series of Decals" (1936)
gouache on black paper
Salvador Dali

Dr. Paul Marchbanks