The Great Divorce

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One of the ghosts in the Valley of the Shadow of Life carries a small lizard with him; the lizard whispers in his ear, preventing him from entering Heaven. As the book makes clear, the…

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The novel begins in a dull, grey town which, we come to realize, represents the afterlife. The grey town is lonely, and the people who live there are always fighting and yelling at one another…

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The mountains that the Narrator witnesses from the Valley of the Shadow of Life symbolize Heaven—the beautiful, majestic home of God, where all human beings are welcome, provided that they learn to love God above…

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The Great Divorce is full of water imagery: rivers, waterfalls, rain, etc. More than once, the Narrator expresses his desire to bathe or drench himself in water: to jump in the river, pass under a…

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The novel is also full of light imagery: often, holy or enlightened beings (such as the Spirits in the Valley of the Shadow of Life) are described as being blindingly bright. In general, light symbolizes…

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At the end of the novel, the Narrator travels with George MacDonald to an enormous chessboard, across which chess pieces move constantly. As MacDonald explains, the chessboard symbolizes the universe as God sees it: predetermined…

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In the Valley of the Shadow of Life, the Narrator sees a large, beautiful tree, from which golden apples hang. The image of the tree evokes the Biblical story of Adam of Eve, in which…

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