It’s been a looong time! I won’t bore you with all the details, but kids and company and summer and starting school. Whew!
I wrote back in May about a theory that Mars was holding a shepherd’s crook. It was a rabbit trail. But a productive rabbit trail! It brought yet another aspect of the eldila into focus.
So, after writing Something Like a Spear, I finished re-reading the trilogy, wondering if I had missed clues. I hadn’t. The only possible connection is that the Sorns are shepherds. And Lewis would surely have sprinkled the idea throughout the books if he had intended a shepherd metaphor for masculinity. But it got me thinking about why that image seemed possible? And I realized it was that a shepherd is such a great image of Lewis’s concept of charity. Ransom does behave as a shepherd toward the company at St. Anne’s. Growth in charity is a major part of his maturation. But he also acts as a warrior-king. That first encounter Jane has with him makes it clear that kingliness is a primary focus – and when she mentions qualities related to that kingliness, the first one is “battle.” So, Mars is really holding, well, a spear.
And then it hit me that in the eldila scene, Lewis addresses charity! Apply palm to face. He describes the faces of both eldila as being “stamped” with charity! So, for Lewis, charity is a primary component of mature masculinity and femininity. As he describes Ransom’s maturation over the course of the novels, naturally he grows in charity, and in THS, being fully mature, he fully exhibits that love for others that seeks to see them grow and mature as well, event through facing difficult truths and physical danger and pain.
It’s interesting how charity is, really, an essential component of both the pictures Lewis chooses as well. I mentioned earlier how part of femininity is holding out to others what God has given – as when Tinidril seeks to make the animals older. That’s a part of charity. Maturation as a soldier also involves advancing up the military ranks and in turn mentoring other soldiers, putting them through pain to help them in turn mature. Charity.
The more I study, the more I am amazed at the way Lewis so skillfully wove his ideas together. As for me, hey, I’m just taking to heart the old adage about learning from your mistakes!
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