The Great Divorce:The Realization of LeisureThe Great Divorce by C.
S. Lewis suggests that choices made on earth have a consequential effect towards our acceptance into heaven or our plummet into hell. In this book pride manifests itself in a hundred subtle ways as souls whine about perceived injustices or irrational motives. Thankfully, a few tourists do humble themselves, become transformed into marvelously real beings, and remain in heaven. But most don't, about which the great Scottish author George MacDonald, Lewis' heavenly guide, says, “They may not be rejecting the truth of heaven now. They may be reenacting the rejection they made while on earth”. George MacDonald the narrator/teacher, from whom Lewis found inspiration for his book, is the guide in the journey through the gates of heaven. This provides great wisdom throughout the book which is not understood without reflection.
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
MacDonald in essence presents Lewis with a choice while journeying in the gates of heaven. The stories of lost ghosts in the heavenly gates only provide reflection for Lewis’ own choice. This choice is not revealed by Lewis, rather it is up to the reader to make his/her own choice.
MacDonald gives guidance towards our choice, “The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words, ‘Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.’ There is always something they prefer to joy….” (71).
At one point in the book McDonald observes a ghost with Lewis and suggests that truth is a lifelong process, our life longs for this truth. Although we may not all realize truth because of lack of time, Lewis suggests it’s just a matter of obtaining the truth through good use of time. “Evil can be undone, but it cannot ‘develop’ into good. Time does not heal it” (Preface: VIII). Time is in essence, if perhaps used in the way of authentic leisure, a God given tool for overcoming evil and obtaining the truth of heaven.The women in chapter eleven loves her son so much that she has no love left to give and no room for love to be received. The spirit offers to open love to her, when she replies by requesting to see her son. This love has perhaps prevented her from receiving intellectus (receptivity of knowledge), and in my mother’s case, even the ratio (reasoning) is affected.
The saying “love conquers all things” is true, even if it is not also conquering for the good.Lewis explains love in chapter eleven through the discourse of a ghost and spirit, referring to something evident in my life, maternal love hit home for me. Adoption has brought me through the hands of my birth mother to a mother who has now raised me for 16 years. Conversations with my birth mother result in dramatic feelings for her and for me, “tyranny of the past” (p.102).
But, Lewis suggests in the book that the past is all she (the ghost) “chose to have” and that “it was the wrong way to deal with sorrow”. My birth mother could very well be the ghost as I was even an ‘accident’. As her memory of me is deceiving and still consuming her thoughts. This maternal or instinctual love is preventing my mother from moving on in her own life. A material mind set is a reality of many entrepreneurs and is well represented in this book through the man with the bowler hat, Ikey.
This mans thoughts revolve around providing necessity, “But if I can come back with some real commodities…why, at once you’d get a demand down in our town” (p.13). For a real world entrepreneur, such as Ikey, it would be simple for thoughts to be consumed by opportunism. If thoughts are consumed by need, it leaves less time to reflect on choices and can cause Acedia (restlessness or despair). Lewis makes this point later in chapter six while referring to Ikey, “…still availing himself of every scrap of cover, he set out on his Via dolorosa to the bus, carrying his torture” (p.49). Ikey’s refusal to rest denies him an opportunity, which any entrepreneur would never give up, but in this instance his restlessness (Acedia) denies God to open the gates of heaven for him.
In chapters two and five a man with the gaiters is found with a profound knowledge of things, but still proves not to obtain ‘Real understanding’ of knowledge. This man is found in chapter five reasoning with a spirit, a young boy. The man is so concerned with knowing that his ratio.