Till We Have Faces

Till We Have Faces Part 1: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
One night Batta hears Redival and Tarin, a guardsman, kissing beneath her window. She alerts the King, who surprises the couple and has Tarin made into a eunuch. The King blames Orual and the Fox for not keeping Redival out of trouble, and commands them to never let her out of their sight, saying that Orual’s face will surely scare all men away. Forced to stay with Orual and the Fox, Redival grows irritable. She even gets angry with Psyche, and when she hits Psyche one day, Orual attacks Redival. Orual’s happy time has ended.
Orual hasn’t been particularly fond of Redival for a while now, but this incident begins to truly turn them away from each other. Orual unwillingly becomes Redival’s jailer, angering Redival and making her lash out against Psyche. In fact, Redival is jealous of Orual’s love for Psyche, but Orual doesn’t realize this. She demonstrates a quick turn to violence almost reminiscent of her father. Once again, the King cruelly tells Orual she’s repulsive to men.
Themes
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
The next year is a bad one for Glome. The harvest is poor and the King fails in his attempts to remarry. One day, Psyche and Redival wander off through the gardens while Orual and the Fox are studying philosophy. When they return, Redival mocks Psyche, calling her a goddess, and goads her into admitting that a woman asked Psyche to kiss her child because she believed that Psyche’s beauty would make the baby beautiful. When Psyche kissed the baby, the woman made worshipful gestures.
The beginning of a dark time for Glome coincides with the people beginning to worship Psyche as a goddess due to her beauty, suggesting the two could be connected. This incident again demonstrates Redival’s dislike of Psyche, which may stem from her jealousy of both Psyche’s beauty and Orual’s love. Before Psyche was born, Redival was considered the beautiful one.
Themes
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Orual discovers that Psyche has had similar encounters in the past, and she fears that the gods will be jealous. The Fox assures her that the sort of gods who could be jealous only exist in poets’ imaginations. Redival makes jabs at Psyche and the Fox and ponders Ungit’s opinion, then threatens to tell the Priest of Ungit what has happened. She commands Orual to give her a certain necklace, and Orual, frightened, doesn’t hesitate to do so. Redival orders the Fox to use his great influence with the King to get her a husband.
In light of later events, the Fox seems quite naïve here, believing that nothing bad will come of Psyche being treated as a goddess. Redival is far more conscious of the possible backlash, but her jealousy makes her blackmail those who love Psyche (but not Psyche herself). She wants Orual and the Fox to provide her with things that reinforce her own beauty and ability to be loved, which Psyche makes her doubt.
Themes
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
The next year, there is a rebellion. Tarin’s father allies himself with strong noblemen, and the King himself rides into battle against them. Many people are killed, and it weakens the King’s position in Glome. There’s also another bad harvest, and a fever spreads. The Fox falls ill and the King forces Orual to do the Fox’s work. She finds she doesn’t mind the work, and her father comes to respect her a bit more. Further, she discovers that Glome is in a bad state.
Glome begins to encounter grave difficulties that will anger the people. Orual, however, finds she has a talent for affairs of state. This is in contrast to her father, who she can tell hasn’t been managing the kingdom well at all. Her relationship with the King begins to shift. Even if he still dislikes her and she still fears him, they find a footing on which they can work together.
Themes
Self-understanding Theme Icon
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Psyche nurses the Fox back to health, getting angry if anyone tries to stop her. Gossip carries the story of her nursing to the people, and they begin to believe that she can cure the fever with her very touch. The people of the city come to the palace gate, demanding that Psyche come to heal them. When they begin to get violent, the King says she must go out to them, and she is willing.
Psyche proves herself pure of heart in her determination to heal the Fox. News of her healing and knowledge of her beauty combine to give her divine powers in the eyes of the superstitious people. However, they’re looking for practical results and demonstrate their willingness to resort to violence, even against their superiors.
Themes
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Dressed in finery, Psyche goes out the palace gates, and the people fall silent and kneel in response to her beauty. They begin to say she is a goddess, and one woman says she is Ungit. For hours, Psyche walks through the crowd, touching everyone as they kiss her feet and the ground where she walks. As Psyche becomes pale, Orual worries she will die, but the King says the people will kill them if Psyche stops.
This grand display of worship gives the gods more reason than ever for jealousy of Psyche, particularly since some people begin to think she might actually be Ungit. This proves that they imagine Ungit as beautiful and pure, despite Orual’s later conception of her as grotesque and cruel—this contradiction that love has two faces. Additionally, this scene already associates Psyche-as-goddess with potentially fatal consequences.
Themes
Love and Devouring Theme Icon
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Related Quotes
The next day, Psyche falls ill with the fever, talking in her delirium of her imagined palace on the Grey Mountain. When she recovers, she is even more beautiful, and more mature. Some of the townspeople die and some don’t, but the people leave offerings for Psyche outside the palace. Orual worries that Ungit will be angry, but the Fox assures her that the Priest of Ungit is ill, too, and can’t do anything.
Whether Psyche fell ill through divine intervention or not, the illness resulted directly from her time playing the goddess. Her fever dreams of the palace seem to be another consequence of her playing goddess, which foreshadows her sacrifice to the god of the Mountain. Though there’s no proof that Psyche actually healed anyone, she continues to receive worship.
Themes
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon
Redival suddenly begins going to the house of Ungit frequently to make offerings. Orual assumes she’s praying for a husband and trying to get away from her family. She tells Redival not to speak to anyone, but Redival assures her that no one cares about her now that they’ve seen Psyche.
As people begin to consider Psyche a goddess, Redival reacts against it, instead becoming more dedicated to Ungit. Orual only cares about Redival as a potential danger to Psyche. Redival displays her bitterness at being completely ignored due to Psyche’s superior beauty.
Themes
Jealousy Theme Icon
Earthly vs. Divine Theme Icon
Beauty vs. Ugliness Theme Icon