Monday, December 05, 2005

The Great Divorce

Reading C S Lewis’ The Great Divorce again the other day, for at least the third time, I came across this section on page 71:
"This curious wish to describe Hell turned out, however, to be only the mildest form of a desire very common among the Ghosts – the desire to extend Hell, to bring it bodily, if they could, into Heaven. There were tub-thumping Ghosts who in thin, bat-like voices urged the blessed spirits [already in Heaven] to shake off their fetters, to escape from their imprisonment in happiness, to tear down the mountains with their hands, to seize Heaven ‘for their own good’: Hell offered her co-operation."
How like the last book in Philip Pullman’s famous trilogy, His Dark Materials, this sounds. It could almost be a summary of what goes on in the great battle in that book, quite apart from a reminder of that awful section where the children ‘release’ the spirits under the Earth into…what? Not life, but nothingness!
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