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[Sticky] Quoth He: Memorable Passages in 'Till We Have Faces'

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This is the place to post the quotes you find memorable from Till We Have Faces. Maybe it's a passage that is just elegantly written, or it could be a line you want to ponder further. In any case, this is where we will share them with one another.

You may post quotes from any part of the book, not just the week's reading. Because of this, this thread will probably contain spoilers. If you're reading the book for the first time and don't want to be spoilered, you may want to avoid this thread until you've finished.

I'll start us off with the passage from which the book derives its name:

When the time comes to you at which you will be forced to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you'll not talk about joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?

"It is God who gives happiness; for he is the true wealth of men's souls." — Augustine

Topic starter Posted : June 28, 2010 1:58 pm
Lady Haleth
NarniaWeb Junkie

I loved that. Here is one of my favorite quotes, from near the end:

I ended my first book with the words no answer. I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice? Only words, being led out to battle against other words.

The glory of God is man fully alive--St. Iraneus
Salvation is a fire in the midnight of the soul-Switchfoot

Posted : June 30, 2010 3:32 am
Glenstorm the Great
NarniaWeb Fanatic

"The years, doubtless, went round then as now, but in my memory it seems to have been all springs and summers. I think the almonds and the cherries blossomed earlier in those years and the blossoms lasted longer; how they hung on in such winds I don't know, for I see the boughs always rocking and dancing against the blue-and-white skies, and their shadows flowing water-like over all the hills and valleys of Psyche's body."

"I wanted to be a wife so that I could have been her real mother. I wanted to be a boy so that she could be in love with me. I wanted her to be my full sister instead of my half sister. I wanted her to be a slave so that I could set her free and make her rich."

Posted : June 30, 2010 5:12 pm
NarniaWeb Nut

That passage in the end that ww and Lady Haleth quoted is one of my faovurites too :)

"I have seen something like it happen in battle. A man was coming at me, I at him, to kill. Then came a sudden great gust of wind that wrapped out cloaks over our swords and almost over our eyes, so that we could do nothing to one another but must fight the wind itself. And that ridiculous contention, so foreign to the business we were on, set us both laughing, face to face—friends for a moment—and then at once enemies again and forever."

"It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine… where you couldn't see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The colour and the smell, and looking at the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche come! But I couldn't (not yet) come and I didn't know where I was to come to. It almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind are flying home...
"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing—to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from—my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."

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Posted : June 30, 2010 5:31 pm
NarniaWeb Junkie

I love your first paragraph, Aly; that jumped out at me when I read it. :)

"I wouldn't mind so much if the one weren't so brave and the other so beautiful."

Posted : July 6, 2010 6:11 pm
Queen Susan
NarniaWeb Guru

I don't have my book with me, but one part that struck me was that the person who was sacrificed had to be "perfect." That will probably start some discussion elsewhere. :)

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Posted : July 8, 2010 2:40 pm
Member Moderator Emeritus

"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing—to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty comes from—" (ch. 7)

"The sight of the huge world put mad ideas into me, as if I could wander away, wander forever, see strange and beautiful things, one after the other to the world's end." (ch. 9)

"It is God who gives happiness; for he is the true wealth of men's souls." — Augustine

Topic starter Posted : July 13, 2010 4:26 pm
Member Moderator

This quote is from chapter 8, in which the Fox and Orual mourn Psyche. He says,

To love, and to lose what we love, are equally things appointed for our nature. If we cannot bear the second well, that evil is ours.

This quote caught my attention during my reading, but came back to me again while we were watching Shadowlands at the Ohio Moot. In it, Lewis comes to love, and then lose, Joy Gresham.

A similar line in the film (though I'm not sure how 'authentic' it is) reminded me of TWHF:

We can't have the happiness of yesterday without the pain of today. That's the deal.

But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.

Posted : July 29, 2010 11:43 am
daughter of the King
Princess Dot Moderator

From chapter 15:

A monster--the Shadowbrute that I and all Glome had imagined--would have subdued me less than the beauty this face wore. And I think anger (what men call anger) would have been more supportable than the passionless and measureless rejection with which it looked upon me. Though my body crouched where I could almost have touched his feet, his eyes seemed to send me from him to an endless distance. He rejected, denied, answered, and (worst of all) he knew, all I had thought, done, or been.

I never heard weeping like that before or after, not from a child, nor a man wounded in the palm, nor a tortured man, nor a girl dragged off to slavery from a taken city. If you heard the woman you most hate in the world weep so, you would go to comfort her. You would fight your way through fire and spears to reach her. And I knew who wept, and what had been done to her, and who had done it.

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Posted : July 30, 2010 5:27 am
NarniaWeb Newbie

Oh, all of these and not mine - this is just a description - the passage itself doesn't lend itself to quoting, even, sadly. It's the one where she's looking across the river through the fog and sees or thinks she might see, the palace that Psyche was talking about - but only for a split second. It's such a familiar experience, from moments of half emotional insight, to something as quotidian as solving math problems. That idea that it might be there, you see it, but then it's gone, you can't sustain it.

Good bunch of quotes, perhaps I'll re-read it with older eyes. The book always thwarted me before, I couldn't tell what he was getting at or talking about, mostly.

Posted : October 14, 2010 7:12 pm