The Great Divorce

910 words 4 pages
In The Great Divorce, the narrator suddenly, and inexplicably, finds himself in a grim and joyless city (the "grey town", representative of hell). He eventually finds a bus for those who desire an excursion to some other place (and which eventually turns out to be the foothills of heaven). He enters the bus and converses with his fellow passengers as they travel. When the bus reaches its destination, the "people" on the bus — including the narrator — gradually realize that they are ghosts. Although the country is the most beautiful they have ever seen, every feature of the landscape (including streams of water and blades of grass) is unbearably solid compared to themselves: it causes them immense pain to walk on the grass, and even a …show more content…
Toward the end of the narrative the terror of the dreaming narrator of remaining a ghost in the advent of full daybreak in heaven is that of the man with his dream of judgment day in the House of the Interpreter of The Pilgrim's Progress. The book ends with the narrator awakening from his dream of heaven into the unpleasant reality of wartime Britain, in conscious imitation of The Pilgrim's Progress, the last sentence of the "First Part" of which is: "So I awoke, and behold, it was a Dream".

Main Characters

The Narrator (it is implied that this is Lewis himself) — main focus of the narrative
George MacDonald — the writer, who acts as guide to the narrator.
And also many other small characters that play some pretty important roles in explaining Lewis' ideas.

Allusions/references to other works

Lewis consciously draws elements of the plot from Dante (The Divine Comedy) and Bunyan; for example, comparing his meeting with MacDonald to "the first sight of Beatrice." He also credits the idea that hell exists within heaven but is "smaller than one atom" of it to his scientifiction readings; travel by shrinking or enlargement is a common theme in speculative fiction, and the narrator alludes to its presence in Alice in Wonderland. In the preface, Lewis explains the origin of his idea that heaven is immutable to the ghosts from hell, referencing an unnamed science fiction work which gave him the


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