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C. S. Lewis and the Enigma of Eternity

"IF H. 'is not,' then she never was. I mistook a cloud of atoms for a person. . . ." (41).
C. S. Lewis' A Grief Observed (1961)

 

Points of Reflection

Salvador Dalí's "Untitled (A Vision of Eternity)" (1936-37)

1. does the painting's parenthetical title help one make sense of the figure at the top of the curious portal/doorway, and why might it have a hole in its middle?

2. are the two bean-like objects at the bottom still, or moving?

3. are the worm-like objects coming off the central figure at the top moving in one direction or another?

4. in what direction is the yellowish figure beyond the door moving?


C. S. Lewis' A Grief Observed (1961)

1. do the stages of grief through which Lewis moves remind you of your own experience mourning the loss of a loved one?

2. which does Lewis doubt, God's character or His very existence?

3. how does this particular loss compare to Lewis' loss of other friends and family in the past?

4. what can the reader glean about the personality of Joy Gresham ("H") from Lewis' journal entries?

5. do Lewis' thoughts about the afterlife change significantly during the grieving process?

6. what do you consider to be the nadir (low point) of Lewis' reflections, and is there an identifiable point at which he begins to climb back up out of the hole he has dug himself?

7. what role does fatigue play in Lewis' grieving process?

8. does Lewis destabilize traditional gender roles in this text?

9. does Lewis emerge from this spiritual battle with his faith intact, even strengthened?

10. Lewis encounters H's presence one more towards the end of this journal. Does he see her spirit? What exactly does he sense/perceive?


"Untitled (A Vision of Eternity)" (1936-37)
Salvador Dalí


Dr. Paul Marchbanks
pmarchba@calpoly.edu