Heaven And Hell In C. S. Lewis The Great Divorce

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The concept of heaven and hell has fascinated authors, artists, and poets for centuries. Society today is saturated by different postulations of how our final destination, either above or below, may appear. One of the most well-known depiction is found in C. S. Lewis’ (1973) novella entitled The Great Divorce. This short story, describing one man’s journey from hell to heaven, describes both the physical and the social landscape of heaven and hell. By doing so, Lewis (1973) argues that heaven and hell are not simply locations in the universe, but states of being. In the beginning of The Great Divorce (Lewis, 1973), the narrator finds himself in a desolate place: a never-ending city of gray buildings and deserted houses. While this description appeals our visualization of how hell, represented by the city, might appear, Lewis (1973) also uses the landscape to paint an emotional understanding hell. As stated by one of the narrator’s acquaintances, “the trouble is, they [the citizens] have no Needs” (Lewis, 1973,…show more content…
Selfishness is portrayed as self-righteousness, pridefulness, greediness, indifference to faith, vanity, attention seeking, idolatry, and holding grudges. All of these build a picture of how broken humanity is. These descriptions also emphasize that idea that heaven and hell are different from each person. For example, the mother in chapter 11 lost her son prior to her own death. Her desperation and all-consuming love for him became a source of idolatry in her life, and thus, an unholy endeavor in her life. For her, hell was separation from her son, and heaven was reunion with him. This is quite different from the other Ghosts’ perceptions of heaven and hell. I believe that Lewis (1973) uses this to challenge the audience to consider their own perceptions of heaven and hell, and to consider how the fall of humanity is reflected in their own
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