The Great Divorce


At the beginning of the story the narrator finds himself in the town of Hell and gets on a bus with others like him.  Once they get on the bus is starts to fly and they are all on their way to their destination.  The town keeps expanding and that is why you don’t see and famous or historical figures there.  The bus finally arrives at its destination, which is Heaven, a beautiful paradise.  This is when the narrator sees that they are all ghosts, when he sees that they are all shadows.  Once the spirits arrive they pair off with the ghosts and try to persuade them to stay in Heaven.

While overhearing the conversations between the spirits and ghosts, he hears one man repent for being a murderer and is forgiven.  The narrator is confused on why he was damned to Hell but this murderer is not saved.  Next is a ghost that was an atheist and doesn’t recognize Heaven or Hell even though he had just seen both.  During the debate, the spirit and ghost talk about Christianity and whether nonbelievers are lazy or if they want to live their lives unregulated.

The narrator encounters a paranoid ghost that thinks the afterlife is a conspiracy.  He thinks that they are only there to be tormented by God.  Another ghost, starts to ask why Heaven doesn’t get rid of Hell but no one answers him.  Then the narrator meets a preacher that explains to the narrator that both Heaven and Hell’s residents chose to be there.  He tells the narrator that once they leave Hell, they are in Purgatory, where they prepare their souls for Heaven.

The narrator is listening to more conversations between the ghost and spirits.  He overhears a woman talking to her saved brother and demands that he let her see her son and believe that God won’t deny her request.  Another ghost is full lust and a lizard that is sitting on his shoulder whispering in his ear represents this.  He asks one of the angels to kill the lizard and once it dies, he is transformed in a spirit like all the others.  Near the end of the book the spirit of Sarah Smith, who was a saint on Earth, takes the preacher and narrator.  The narrator wonders how she could find bliss without her husband who is one of the ghosts.  In reality, the book shows how temptation can weaken a person and how you have to let go of temptation to be in Heaven.

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