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Till We Have Faces: Chapter 20 January 19, 2007

Posted by Danielle in Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis.
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We are discussing chapter 20. Leave and check out comments below.

What do you think about the section of this chapter where Orual meets Bardia’s wife?

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1. heather - January 26, 2007

I thought Lewis did a good job of illustrating how women size one another up, looking for the negatives in the other person so that we feel better about ourselves. To be blunt, here is a woman ugly enough in face that she has to hid behind a veil, and yet she’s stroking her own pride with the fact that she has maintained her womanly figure while the rest of Glome has splayed out. Orual may not have had a sexual affair with Bardia, but she certainly has coveted and taken parts of Bardia: “I have known, I have had, so much of him that she could never dream of. She’s his toy, his recreation, his leisure, his solace. I’m in his man’s life.” p. 233 The catty way she ponders this in this passage demonstrates just how selfish her love for Bardia is.

2. Nicole - January 28, 2007

Arrgh, I was frustrated at Orual in this passage, although I do think that for all her Queenly and “martyr-like” trials she would claim to, she isn’t much different from a catty woman, here. Much like her sister Redivial whom she would obviously think she was better than in these types of situations.

3. Ashleigh - February 2, 2007

Heather and Nicole, those are great observations.

I thought Orual painted herself as much more admirable in her treatment and attitude toward Bardia’s wife Ansit than she really was. Orual even goes as far as to place the blame for not liking Ansit on Ansit when she writes:

I put great force on myself to be courteous to Ansit — more than courteous, even loving. More than that, I would have loved her indeed, for Bardia’s sake, if I could have done it. But she was as mute as a mouse in my presence; afraid of me, I thought. When we tried to talk together, her eyes would wander round the room as if she were asking, “Who will delivery me from this?”

I think that perhaps Orual’s true feelings were evident to Ansit and this attributed to her quietness. Also, that Orual may have enjoyed Ansit’s fear of her because it gave her a sense of power over this woman who was the wife of the man she loved.


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