That Hideous Strength

by C. S. Lewis

Here's a really abridged summary of the book.

Mark and Jane Studdock are a newly married couple who aren't having as great of a relationship as they'd hoped. Mark is getting caught up in a shady organization called the N.I.C.E. without telling his wife. Jane, meanwhile, stumbles into a more friendly group (led by Ransom, the philologist who previously went on some adventures in space) who helps her discover that her recurring nightmares are really visions of the future. Can Ransom's friends work together to figure out what the N.I.C.E. is doing and stop them, succeeding in defending all of nature?

Conflict: Men vs. Men

The N.I.C.E. is forcing people to move out of a forest in order for them to build their own headquarters. Worse, they want to erase every piece of natural life in favor of the life of humans. Ransom and his friends must work together to stop this greedy organization and rescue Mark from its clutches.

To portray the conflict in more depth:
"'I must do what I think right, mustn't I?' [Jane] said softly. 'I mean—if Mark—if my husband is on the wrong side, I can't let that make any difference to what I do. Can I?'" (pg. 145)

This displays the rift caused between Jane and Mark when she discovers that he is on the side of the enemy.

A precept to describe the conflict:

"Do not expect positive changes in your life if you surround yourself with negative people." — unknown

This describes the way that Mark's life negatively changes when he joins the N.I.C.E., showing how it contrasts with the positive change in Jane's life upon joining Ransom's group.

Theme: Good and Evil

The theme of the book is one of good and evil, as there is a distinctly "good" group facing a distinctly "bad" group. However, I don't think that it this book is trying to say that it is easy to tell the difference between good and evil. Mark is pulled into the N.I.C.E., and it takes him quite a while to realize that he needs to leave. Jane is at first terrified by her nightmares, but learns later on that they open a window to the future for her. People can be easily tricked into thinking that something good is evil and that something evil is good, and this is a central theme woven in with the major events of the book.

This is a quote from C. S. Lewis (the author) that displays how he feels about the issue of good and evil that he wrote about in several of his books.

Big image

My favorite quote from the book:

"For many years he had theoretically believed that all which appears in the mind as motive or intention is merely a by-product of what the body is doing. But for the last year or so—since he had been initiated—he had begun to taste as fact what he had long held as theory. Increasingly, his actions had been without motive. He did this and that, he said thus and thus, and did not know why. His mind was a mere spectator. He could not understand why that spectator should exist at all. He resented its existence, even while assuring himself that resentment also was merely a chemical phenomenon. The nearest thing to a human passion which still existed in him was a sort of cold fury against all who believed in the mind. There was no tolerating such an illusion." — page 357

This quote concerns a member of N.I.C.E. named Frost, who is probably one of my favorite characters. Though he is one of the antagonists in the book, I find his viewpoints to be very interesting and distinctly different. His way of viewing the world is very intriguing to me, and its paradoxical traits are all displayed in this quote. Though Frost is not a major character per se, his presence in the book adds a layer of depth that I very much enjoy.

A song that I think fits the book:

IA - Elegy Context (哀傷歌コンテキスト)

Elegy Context ~ Composer: Nekobolo; Vocals: IA; Movie: Suti

First off, sorry this didn't have a black background. I doubt I'd be able to find a lyric song like that for almost anything I listen to, much less one as unrecognized as this. Besides, the PV for this song is pretty simple. (But I enjoy the simplicity of it.)

Second off, the English subtitles are in the closed captions, in case you couldn't find them.

Third off, it was difficult to find a song that fit a book like this, because being written a long time ago by a British Christian apologist, it's a lot different from the overused trends found in books or songs today. But I remembered this song existed and realized that it was probably the closest fit.

Okay, I'll actually get to the reason I think this song works with the book now.

Generally, I view it as being from Jane's perspective, representing the kind of life she had before she encountered Ransom's group. The whole song is centered around dreams, which is one of the things that makes me think of Jane, as she has frequently recurring dreams that she has trouble understanding. The bridge of this song doesn't make a whole lot of sense (I trust the translator of this song, and I know for a fact myself that that line does indeed say "a jellyfish bell" [or an alternate reading for "flower" instead of "bell", but enough of that]), but I think that contributes to why I think it works for Jane. She doesn't understand what she sees in her dreams. When the song says that "none of my words nor emotions are heard", I can see it as parallel to the gap in Jane and Mark's relationship. And during the line "A flower bloomed from someone's make-believe. Shimmering, waving, it vanishes into flame," I am reminded of the way Jane expected her marriage to be wonderful, but those expectations vanished. In my opinion, this is a very fitting song for this book, or at least as close as I could get to work with it.