Till We Have Faces Background

Till We Have Faces Background

Clive Staples Lewis (better known as C.S. Lewis) wrote Till We Have Faces in 1956. This was his last novel and was cowritten by his wife, Joy Davidman. It is the retelling of the story of Cupid and Psyche. Lewis developed the idea for this novel after reading The Golden Ass by Apuleius. The story of Cupid and Psyche is told in a chapter of The Golden Ass and Lewis believed that some of the main character's actions were illogical and problematic. As a result, he developed his main character in Till We Have Faces as a fully developed narrator: Orual. She is the older sister to Psyche, and is a highly emotional character that draws the reader in by making the audience empathize with her and listen to her reasonings behind her actions.

Orual and Psyche live as princesses in the fictional kingdom of Glome, a city-state with occasional interactions with a more civilized hellenistic Greece. Orual writes the first part of the book as an accusation against the gods. In the second part of the book, she has a change of heart and mind and adds on to what was the end of the first book. Her reasoning for this is that she is too old and too ill to rewrite the first book in its truth, so she choses instead to add on to it by creating a new, humbling ending. In the second part, Orual states that she was wrong and that the gods are always lovingly present in people's lives, and that the hurt she felt in her younger years was due to her own failure, bitterness, and shortcomings.

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