Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Man Who Was Thursday Discussion 1

A discussion on the Man Who Was Thursday was discovered by Lewis the editor here. But sadly it was closed. Therefore I am going to start one here.

Now the only topic for discussion I could think of was the last chapter, so this is my question:

Was Syme's adventure all a dream, or did it only seem like a dream, or does it matter?

Any thoughts, answers or additions to the question??? Please comment.
Oh, and any ideas for the next topic?????


Dr. Thursday said...

In one of his very last ILN essays, GKC wrote a short explanation of TMWWT which points out the importance of the subtitle: "A Nightmare". But this does not foreclose discussion! In fact, your question on the exact form of the dream needs to be explored if we are to convert the novel into a stage play or a screen play, both of which have been attempted.

Some time ago, I wrote about the "frame story" on my blogg - and this is a classic example, almost like the "Phantom Tollbooth" or the movie form of the "Wizard of Oz"... There seems to be a strong sense of the dream boundaries being (at the start) sometime around Syme's discussion with Gregory, whether it be before or because of the "lobster mayonnaise", and (at the end) their walk down the country lane...

Possibly we need to ask another question to help us out:

What result does this event (be it a dream, nightmare, vision, or real experience) have on:
(1) Syme?
(2) Gregory?
(3) Rosamund?

And of course, on us who read it? Maybe this is more important than what really happened.

Chestertonian said...

Here is my take: It was not a dream. It really happened. Even if Syme's transportation back to the garden was dreamlike, or somewhat fantastical, the events in the book really happened to him. That he "came to" in the garden following Sunday's Great Revelatory Question (that's what I call it, anyway) only reveals that all the preceeding events had a supernatural thrust behind them.

Ria said...

Thanks for the comments. I think that although I want it to be real, I don't know that it's supposed to be.

And as for Dr. Thursday's question, I really don't know, I need to read the book again.

And where are all the other ChesterTeens????

Margaret said...

Oh, dear! I'm sorry Ria, I've been meaning to read that book, but as of yet there have been a few slightly more pressing priorities for me. Gilbertgirl even got it from the library, but after we renewed it a million times it really did have to go back. I'm trying to find it on audio so I get through it...

Anyway, I shall make strenuous attempts to read it, rest assured.

Lewis the Editor said...

Wow, I took a long time to answer this!
I was never really sure when I read The Man Who Was Thursday whether it was all a dream or not, but I think my thoughts tended to be along Dr. Thursday’s lines.