Friday, February 15, 2008
Till We Have Faces: Chapters 1-8
Well, I agreed to do a Running Commentary on Till We Have Faces. I think it'll be interesting to see what I can think up to say about it....on a more serious note I will try to give something worth reading.
I remember when I started that I was immediately interested. I had heard so much about it and everybody gave it high praise. I was intrigued by the characters....perhaps the most by The Fox and Psyche. (Psyche! I adored the name as soon as I read it. I also love the TV show....:) It is an unusual name, and I was thrilled that Lewis used it on a girl. It's funny: when I'm looking for names, I usually carefully pick girl's names and just grab what I can find for boys. However, I have been told before that my male characters are written better than my females. I usually pick a random name for a new character. I wonder how long Lewis pondered Psyche's name?)
I also had to do a little research...I couldn't resist. What does the name (the word for that matter) mean? Well, Till We Have Faces is 'A Myth Retold' about Cupid and Psyche, a story from Greek Mythology. So Psyche is the name of a goddess. Or more specifically, a personification of the soul. The word psych (without the e) is more complicated. It has longer definitions and it has several different meanings. Psychology is used in most of those. It means to figure out psychologically, to make nervous, to excite emotionally.....and it has many other meanings concerning excitement of the mind. It's a state of mind.
However, Psyche with an e on the end refers to the girl that Eros loved or human soul, spirit or mind. (Consequently, it also refers to a female given name.)
So Psyche has lots of meaning behind it!
Another thing I noticed in the first eight chapters is their living conditions. This is the King and his daughters and his servants, yet they live like they are poor. The land is suffering, obviously. As far as I can tell the King really isn't a likable fellow. :) He doesn't seem like a very good King either.
The Fox obviously represents the sage so often found in fantasy stories and fairy-tales and myths. Gandalf is perhaps the best example. I love the relationship he develops with Orual and Psyche. Lewis was very good at relationships, and this is a wonderful bond and friendship which the three form.
Orual definitely cares for Psyche far more than she does her sister Redival. Is it because Psyche is very beautiful, or because of her sweet nature, or both? Orual yearns to be beautiful, and she yearns to be loved. Oddly, Orual is the one with the hot temper, and Psyche the one with the sweet one. This is a little surprising, since in stories that concern the beautiful and the ugly it is usually the ugly that is good-natured, to show that it means more to be beautiful on the inside. I have never been comfortable writing ugly characters...it's a concept which never really appealed to me. This is a fresh start to good/bad and pretty/ugly. Oh but I've forgotten Beauty and the Beast! I've heard this compared to it.
I don't remember every thing that I have read, so I'll just close up Chapters 1-8 with one more note on two things:
I could imagine the pain very well whenever The King abused Orual. Lewis was very good at describing pain. It seems like there was a passage in The Space Trilogy that made me squeamish, although I can't remember it. I also have developed an interest in Bardia. I think it is the name, perhaps....Bardia. I like that. He also has a kind and loving nature, which I would value highly in a guard! I wanted to compare him to Aragorn, but now that I think about it I think that Legolas would be better. That's what my impression of Bardia is.
That's enough for now! I'll continue my thoughts (hopefully they will be a little less abrupt and spotty than these!) I'm looking forward to continuing.