Review on The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

In the beginning of this book the protagonist, whom they never give a name, is in Hell. The way that Lewis depicts Hell is as a very, very large gray city. This city is ever expanding because the people quarrel non-stop. The sky forever stuck in twilight. In or around the 2nd chapter the main character gets on a bus not knowing where this bus would take him.

The bus ride was very long and from how the book describes the travel the bus was flying. The protagonist was accompanied by many other “Ghosts”, from poets to brutes. Near the end of the trip they came to a huge cliff. This cliff was so tall you could not see the top. The bus flew over top of the cliff and landed in an area that none of them, except maybe the bus-driver, had ever seen.

There was green grass and flowers and trees everywhere and in the distance there were mountains. When they exited the bus they were surprised by the fact that they could not effect anything. For example, when they walked on the grass, the grass wouldn’t bend, it would stab he bottom of their feet instead. The protagonist tried to pick up a leaf. He managed to get it up about an inch and had to immediately because it weighed so much.

The ghosts where greeted by people that appeared to be made of light. The ghosts were transparent and the “Solid People” as the ghosts called them where able to effect the land around them. The solid people were either naked or clothed in robes. These people came from the mountain to try and invite the ghosts to go with them to the mountain. Many of the ghosts immediately returned to the bus and others ran in fear.

Many of the solid people where relatives of the ghosts that had died before them. They explained that, where the bus had come from would be called Hell to those who returned. To the those who didn’t return it would be called Purgatory. The land where they had arrived in was called The Land Of The Shadow Of Life. In order for the ghosts to get in to Heaven it’s self, they would have to take a long journey through the valley and into the mountain beyond. The Kingdom of Heaven is in these mountains.

The protagonist wonders around for a few hours, fascinated by the land and it’s beauty. On his way back toward the forest he sees a giant man who looks to be Scottish. The man greets him and they talk for a while exchanging questions and answers. Eventually the man, the main character calls him teacher, picks the protagonist up and caries him slowly towards the mountain. They stop when they hear a great singing from the direction of the forest.

From the forest came a great procession of men and women and animals. They were processing for one particular lady on her way to the mountain. She was lead by flower girls and men with flags. Behind her where lots and lots of dogs and cats and birds. The teacher told the main character that this lady is lead by all that see influenced during her life on earth. Everyone see met began to love her. The book says “ Every young man or boy that met her became her son-even if it was only that brought the meat her back door. Every girl that met her became her daughter.”

When the lady reached the path that leads up the mountain she was approached by a dwarf of a ghost. This ghost was her friend or husband on Earth. From each hand of the dwarf came a chain that was attached to a phantom. These phantoms were possessing the dwarf and making him think selfishly. He wanted to be the only one that the lady loved. The lady said that she could not love him alone because was in Love Himself. The dwarf shrank when hearing this. The lady tried her hardest to get him to think as he would without these phantoms but he chose to think only of himself. He continued to shrink until, poof! He vanished along with his phantoms.

The main character did not understand why the lady did not feel any sadness when the dwarf disappeared. The teacher asked him “Would ye rather he still had the power of tormenting her? He did it many a day and many a year in their earthly life.” The protagonist soon realized the teacher’s point.

Almost immediately after that the the teacher explained to him that he was not to tell the main character any more because all that he had seen was but a dream. The teacher told him that if he was to explain what he saw he was to be sure to say that it was a dream.

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