Friday, April 13, 2012

'That Hideous Strength' by CS Lewis [spoilers]

The Inner Ring

Until the Deputy Director said this Mark had not realised that there was nothing he would dislike so much as having Jane at Belbury. Her mere presence would have made all the laughter of the Inner Ring sound metallic, unreal; and what he now regarded as common prudence would seem to her, and though her to himself, mere flattery, back-biting, and toad eating. His mind sickened at the though of trying to teach Jane that she must help to keep Wither in a good temper. (Chapter 8)

Larger Forces at Play

The Sciences, good and innocent in  themselves, had even in Ransom's own time begun to be subtly manoeuvred in a certain direction. Despair of objective truth and been increasingly insinuated into the scientists; indifference to it, and a concentration upon power, had been the result. ... What should they find incredible, since they believed no longer in a rational universe? What should they regard as too obscene, since they held that all morality was a mere subjective by-product of the physical and economic situations of men? (Chapter 9)

Social insights

For the frist few minutes anyone glancing down the long tables would have seen what we always see on such occasions: the placid faces of bons viveurs whom food and wine had placed in a contentment which no amount of speeches could violate, the patient faces of diners who had learned how to pursue their own thoughts while attending just enough to respond whenever a laugh or a rumble of a assent was obligatory, the fidgety faces of young men unappreciative of port and hungry for tobacco, the over-elaborate attention on the powdered faces of women who knew their duty to society. (Chapter 16)

Dr Frost's last moments

Like the clockwork figure he had chosen to be, his stiff body, now terribly cold, walked back into the Objective Room, poured out the petrol and threw a lighted match into the pile. Not till then did his controllers allow him to suspect that death itself might not cure the illusion of being a soul - nay might prove the entry into a world where that illusion raged infinite and unchecked. Escape for the soul, if not the for the body, was offered him. He became able to know (and simultaneously refused the knowledge) that he had been wrong from the beginning. that souls and personal responsibility existed. He half saw; he wholly hated. THe torture of the burning was hardly fiercer than his hatred of that. with one supreme effort he flung himself back into his illusion. In that attitude eternity overtook him. (Chapter 16)