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 waterfall, etc. These images arguably evoke the Christian practice of baptism, in which a human being bathes in water, accepts Jesus Christ as their lord and savior, and is “born anew.” Thus, the water imagery in the novel symbolizes mankind’s desire to cast off sin, embrace God, and achieve salvation.
Water Quotes in The Great Divorce
Next moment I stepped boldly out on the surface. I fell on my face at once and got some nasty bruises. I had forgotten that though it was, to me, solid, it was not the less in rapid motion. When I had picked myself up I was about thirty yards further down-stream than the point where I had left the bank. But this did not prevent me from walking up-stream: it only meant that by walking very fast indeed I made very little progress.