Will Thisbee introduces himself to Juliet; he's an ironmonger and enjoys inventing "labor-saving devices." He writes that at first, he didn't have any interest in reading. It wasn't until Isola gave him Past and Present by Thomas Carlyle that he learned to love it. Though Will wasn't a religious man, when he got to a passage in the book about the soul, he finally came to conclusions about religion: namely, that he could decide for himself whether he has a soul or not.
Will's newfound interest in religion thanks to the Society offers another perspective on how literature can help people make sense of their lives and provide different angles on constant problems. For Will, he gained a sense of purpose and relief because he now knows where he stands in terms of religion.
This stirred up a great argument at the next meeting and in particular, riled Thompson Stubbins. Stubbins used to be a London psychiatrist but at one Freud Society dinner, he suggested out that Freud came up with the idea of the ego to make people question their souls. He was banned from the Freud Society and moved to Guernsey. Stubbins often rides with Will to discuss religion. Will invites Juliet to Guernsey and says that she's welcome to ride with them.
Past and Present also helped Will make friends with someone he wouldn't have been friends with otherwise, again indicating that literature is capable of transgressing all sorts of boundaries and differences in order to bring people together.