Eccentric Musings (jakaEM)

"I have undergone sharp discipline which has taught me wisdom; and then, I have read more than you would fancy." Emily Brontë


still figuring this place out - Jen W

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Currently reading

Friend of My Youth
Alice Munro
Progress: 115/288 pages
Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
Margaret Atwood
The spire, William Golding : notes - Steve Eddy Re-read. A bit obtuse, almost experimental in places, but the central metaphor of the spire as a symbol of teetering faith (and disintegrating sanity) for an arrogant, delusional priest is still as powerful as I remember it. This time around, I also was able to more clearly see the central conflict between Fr. Jocelin and Master Builder Roger Mason as one of faith versus science, which has even greater resonance today. What Golding achieves here is a comment, nested in high symbolism, that vision and progress - either spiritually or technologically - is often the product of madness; or leads to it. Or both. And it's difficult to tell the difference between genius and insanity.

There is a remarkable scene in which Fr. Jocelin climbs to the top of his not-yet-completed tower and is able to survey the land, looking down upon his parishioners as they go about their lives. The symbolism is multi-layered (throughout, but especially in this scene): Fr. Jocelin sets himself far above his people, looming like a false god (they have by now moved beyond fearing him to dismissing him as crazy and irrelevant). Remote and removed from the real lives of the people who look to him to provide comfort and spiritual guidance, Fr. Jocelin's neglect of his spiritual duty comes to be his downfall.

This re-read follows Death Comes For The Archbishop, which makes for an excellent contrast in just about every respect, and I like both books better for it, I think.