Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
In The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, John Bunyan strove to dramatize through allegory the pilgrimage that a Christian must undertake to get safely “from this world to that which is to come.” Bunyan’s protagonist, Christian—warned by the allegorical figure Evangelist to flee the “wrath to come”— forsakes a wife and four children (the same number Bunyan left behind when he went to prison in 1660) when they refuse to accompany him, despite the chidings and ridicule of neighbors. Although two neighbors, Obstinate and Pliable, try to drag him back by force, he manages to make it through the Slough of Despond and past Mr. Worldly-Wiseman, who counsels him against Evangelist’s preaching, to the Strait Gate through which one must pass to go to the Celestial City. Good Will opens the Gate for him when he discovers Christian’s brokenhearted repentance for sin.
Entering the Gate, Christian makes his way to Interpreter’s House (suggested perhaps by the church at Bedford), where Interpreter enlightens him from Scriptures about the difficulties of the journey and explains how he can overcome them. Rested and illumined, Christian heads directly to the cross, where the heavy burden of sin and guilt he has borne fall immediately from his back. He proceeds with greater confidence without this burden, but he faces difficulty all along the way, constantly tempted to leave the path by such figures as Simple, Sloth,...
(The entire section is 990 words.)
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Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan’s best-known work, narrates the protagonist Christian’s journey to salvation. Made aware of his own mortality, Christian abandons the City of Destruction and begins his journey to the Heavenly City. The narrative takes the form of an allegorical dream vision and develops the theme of individual salvation through a highly consistent allegorical framework.
Urged on by Evangelist, Christian abandons his wife and children, stopping his ears with his fingers to silence their pleas, an indication that the journey to salvation must be an individual experience. The two companions whom he encounters along the way, Faithful and Hopeful, are actually facets of his own character. Once he has begun the journey, he reflects the character of the wayfaring, warring Christian disciple, often tempted and often struggling but never abandoning the path.
Christian is not tempted by the worldly pleasures of Vanity Fair or by any pomp and ceremony associated with riches, nor is he swayed by the erroneous reasoning of Obstinate, Pliable, Sloth, or Mr. Worldly Wiseman or the shallow optimism apparent in characters such as Hypocrisy, Formality, and Ignorance. His serious temptations concern fear, doubt, and despair. At the journey’s beginning he is mired in the Slough of Despond, escaping only after difficult exertions. He meets frightening monsters such as Pope and Pagan and battles the demoniac warrior Apollyon. Cast...
(The entire section is 428 words.)
Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
John Bunyan lays down in a den to sleep. In his sleep, he dreams that he sees a man, named Christian, standing in a field and crying out in pain and sorrow because he and his whole family, as well as the town in which they live, are to be destroyed. Christian knows of this catastrophe because he had read about it in the book—the Bible—that he holds in his hands.
Evangelist, the preacher of Christianity, soon comes up to Christian and presents him with a roll of paper on which it is written that he should flee from the wrath of God and make his way from the City of Destruction to the City of Zion. Running home with this hope of salvation, Christian tries to get his neighbors and family to go away with him, but they do not listen and think he is either sick or mad. Finally, he shuts his ears to his family’s entreaties to stay with them and runs off toward the light in the distance. Under the light, he knows he will find the wicket gate that opens into Heaven.
On his way, Christian meets Pliant and Obstinate; Christian is so distracted by them that he falls in a bog called the Slough of Despond. He cannot get out because of the bundle of sins on his back. Finally, Help comes along and helps Christian out of the sticky mire. Going on his way, he soon falls in with Mr. Worldly Wiseman, who tries to convince Christian that he could lead a happier life if he gives up his trip toward the light and settles down to the comforts of a burdenless...
(The entire section is 1162 words.)
In the nineteenth century, The Pilgrim's Progress was a standard volume in nearly every literate household in the United States and England. Most children read it along with the Bible and the great plays of Shakespeare. In the twentieth century, its popularity has declined, mainly because of changes in contemporary views of religion. The Pilgrim's Progress stands, for better or worse, as one of the monuments of Puritanism, a part of our historical past rather than an active influence in our present.
Nevertheless, The Pilgrim's Progress has a good deal to offer the modem reader, both in religious instruction and enjoyment. John Bunyan's religious background may have been Puritan, but the doctrine that is at the heart of The Pilgrim's Progress comes directly from the New Testament's Sermon on the Mount where Christ exhorts his followers to seek "first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" and to avoid the broad path that leads to destruction. In The Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyan provides an allegorical narrative that presents in powerful, uncompromising terms what it means to follow the narrow path to Christian salvation, resisting all temptation and all worldly cares and diversions along the way.
Stated in these terms The Pilgrim's Progress sounds austere; its message appears alien to modern times. But if its doctrine is uncompromising, its characters and story are enlivened by Bunyan's simple yet...
(The entire section is 458 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary
The narrator walks through the wilderness and finds a den in which he lies down to sleep. He begins to dream and sees a man clothed in rags, carrying a Book and bearing a burden on his back.
As the man (who is called Christian) reads the Book, he begins to weep. His family thinks that he is mentally unbalanced, and so he leaves his home to find relief from his burden. He encounters a man named Evangelist, who points him the way to the Wicket Gate, lit by a guiding light. There he will find relief from his burden.
Christian starts running toward the Light, ignoring the cries of his family and friends, who try to stop him in his supposed madness. Two of his neighbors, Obstinate and Pliable, overtake him. Obstinate urges him to give up his madness and return home, but Christian refuses to listen to him. Pliable decides that he will journey with Christian in his quest for peace.
Christian and Pliable are speaking of Christian’s search when they both fall into the Slough of Despond. Pliable, seeing what has resulted from his joining Christian, climbs out of the Slough and returns home.
A man named Help arrives to aid Christian in his escape from the swamp, telling him that there are steps through the Slough if he had but looked for them. He explains that the Slough is the result of all the fears and doubts of those like Christian who try to escape their burden. The Governor of the land has spent sixteen hundred years trying to repair the Slough, with little result.
Christian resumes his journey and meets a man called Mr. Worldly Wiseman, who tells him that his burden can be removed without trouble at a nearby town called Morality by a man named Legality. He points the way to Christian, who departs from the path directed to him by Evangelist.
As he approaches a large mountain, he sees that it is steep, with fire coming out from it. He fears that the mountain will fall on him. Evangelist arrives and asks Christian why he has left the way.
Ashamed, Christian tells him of Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s advice. Evangelist tells him that Morality and Mr. Legality place people in bondage, so they cannot help him to ease his burden. He urges Christian to return to the path to the Wicket Gate. Christian fears that he has sinned past all forgiveness, but Evangelist assures him that he has not.
Christian runs toward the Wicket Gate, ignoring all questions and pleas from...
(The entire section is 458 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary
A man named Goodwill comes to the Gate. As Christian enters, Goodwill drags him in quickly, explaining that there is a castle nearby from which Beelzebub and his forces shoot arrows to kill those who come to the gate.
Christian explains his previous adventures since Goodwill is concerned that he came alone. Christian is anxious if he will be allowed to stay inside the Gate because he had strayed from the way, but Goodwill tells him that no one is cast out because of their previous actions.
Goodwill shows Christian the straight and narrow way he must go to be relieved of his burden, but first he must go to the house of the Interpreter. At the house, Christian asks for the Master of the House.
The Interpreter says that he must see some of the rooms in his house before he goes on his way. He shows Christian a picture of a man whose back is to the world and the Word of Truth on his lips, telling him to keep this picture in mind.
Christian is led to a parlor that is full of dust. A servant comes in to sweep but manages only to raise the dust up into the air. The Interpreter has a damsel come in to sprinkle water, which allows her to sweep up the dust effectively. The Interpreter says the first servant represents the Law, which is unable to remove sin. The water is Grace, which allows the sinner to be made clean.
In the next room, Christian sees two boys named Passion and Patience. Passion is given all his treasures at once, but these are soon gone and he is left with rags. Patience waits; his treasures will remain. The Interpreter says that self-denial is an important part of the life of Grace, waiting for one’s treasures in the world to come.
The Interpreter shows Christian a fire; a man is throwing water on it, but the fire continues to grow. The man represents the Devil, who is trying to extinguish Grace, but behind the wall is Christ, who throws the oil of his Grace on the fire to keep it strong.
Christian is led to a palace where a crowd gathers at the doorway; armed guards stand watch. He sees a man write his name in a book at the doorway and then be given armor and weapons. The man attacks the guards and makes his way through.
Christian then sees a man trapped in an iron cage of Despair. He forfeited his salvation by giving in to his lusts, grieving the Spirit. The Interpreter warns Christian to take this as a warning.
(The entire section is 483 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary
Having been greeted by three Shining Ones who announced that he had received salvation, dressed him in a new coat, and given him a Scroll, Christian sets off on the path to Mount Zion. He meets three men fast asleep. Their names are Simple, Sloth, and Presumption. He urges them to awaken and join him for the Devil might come by soon. They dismiss his warning, so he travels on.
Christian encounters two men, Formalist and Hypocrisy, who climb over the wall and start on the same path. Christian warns them that unless they come in through the Gate, they will face condemnation. They tell him that it does not matter how they got on the path; once they are in, they are in.
When they come to the Hill Difficulty, Formalist and Hypocrisy take the two easy roads and so are lost. Christian travels up the hill but becomes weary before he reaches the summit. He spies an arbor by the side of the road, so he sits down to rest.
He begins to read the Scroll given him by the Shining Ones, which brings him comfort. He soon falls asleep and hears a voice telling him to wake up and continue his journey. He awakens, startled, and speeds on his way.
Christian meets two men named Timorous and Mistrust, who warn him of two lions up ahead. Although he is afraid, Christian travels on until he realizes that he has lost his Scroll. This is his token into the Celestial City, and he must find it.
He retraces his steps to the arbor, where he finds the Scroll under the bench. It is almost night and there are still the lions to encounter, but he travels on until he comes to the Palace Beautiful.
He approaches the Palace until he sees the two lions guarding the way. At the door is the Porter, called Watchful, who calls to him that the lions are chained and serve only as a test of the faith of travelers such as himself.
In the Palace Beautiful, Christian is welcomed by four damsels: Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity. They question Christian about his adventures and invite him to rest in the Palace. They show him some Rarities of previous travelers, such as Moses’ Rod, the jawbone of an ass that Samson used to slay his enemies, and the sling that David used to kill Goliath.
After a few days, Christian leaves the Palace Beautiful and travels to his next destination: the Valley of Humiliation.
(The entire section is 421 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary
Christian has not traveled far into the Valley of Humiliation when he meets a foul Fiend. Christian has some armor supplied to him by the damsels of the Palace Beautiful but he has no covering on his back, so he cannot turn and run.
The monster, Apollyon, asks him where he has come from and where is going. Christian tells the fiend that he has come from the City of Destruction and is journeying to the City of Zion. Apollyon tells Christian that the City of Destruction is a country he rules. He demands to know why Christian has run away from his king. Christian replies that the life there was hard and the wages of sin were death.
Apollyon tells Christian that he will not let him go and that because he complains of the wages of death, he will gladly give him his “wages” now. Christian replies that he has given his faith to the Ruler of the City of Zion, but Apollyon points out that he already had been unfaithful to him many times already. He reminds Christian that he wandered willfully into the Slough of Despond, that he lost his Scroll as he slept, and that he tried to turn back at the sight of the lions at the Palace Beautiful.
Christian admits that all this is true, but the Ruler that he now serves is merciful. Apollyon attacks Christian, who uses such weapons as he has to defend himself. After a furious battle, Apollyon retreats.
Christian continues through the Valley of Humiliation until he comes to the Valley of the Shadow of Death. He meets two men who are fleeing from the Valley of Death. Christian says that despite the demons that the men encountered, this is the way he must go.
As he follows the narrow path, he sees a ditch on one side and a swamp on the other. Christian changes from his sword to the weapon “All Prayer.” He encounters more fiends and is tempted to turn back, but he presses on. He hears a voice telling him that although he walks in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, he must fear no evil for God is with him.
In the morning, Christian exits the Valley of Death. He encounters a cave with two giants, Pope and Pagan, but he realizes that Pagan has been dead for some time and Pope is too weakened to be much of a threat.
(The entire section is 409 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary
Christian comes upon a hill and sees his neighbor, Faithful, ahead of him. He calls out to him to wait, but Faithful says that he cannot because the Avenger of Blood is behind him.
Christian catches up with him and the two are grateful for each other’s company. Faithful tells of his own journey. He left the City of Destruction after Pliable returned. Christian’s companion in the Slough of Despond is now a mockery even to those who do not believe.
Faithful managed to escape the Slough but was attacked by a woman called Wanton. He then met Adam the First, who invited Faithful to stay with him. Adam has three daughters: The Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Flesh, and the Pride of Life, and Faithful was told that he could marry all three of them.
Faithful considered this invitation but noticed written on Adam’s forehead these words: Put Off the Old Man with his Deeds. He realized that Adam would sell him as a slave, so he left the old man.
Faithful continued up the Hill of Difficulty to the arbor where Christian lost his Scroll; there he was knocked down by another old man whom Christian identifies as Moses the Lawgiver.
Faithful then went on his way into the Valley of Humiliation, where he met Discontent. Escaping him, Faithful met Shame, who tried to convince him that all religion is worthless. Faithful rejected him and continued on his way, much to the joy of Christian.
Faithful says that he encountered no other obstacles on his journey, having gone through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with nothing but sunshine.
Faithful and Christian meet a man called Talkative, who invites himself to join them. Christian tells Faithful that Talkative is from their own town and is known as doing nothing but talk. They decide that they must rid themselves of him so that he will not distract them from their way.
Faithful begins a conversation of the Power of Faith rather than just speaking of it. Talkative soon decides to leave, not appreciating Faithful’s accusation that he is not a Doer of the Word.
Christian and Faithful are relieved that Talkative has left them. They turn around and see that Evangelist followed after them. He greets them, and they tell him of their journeys. He is glad that they have proved themselves Victors of their trials. He warns them that they will come upon a town up ahead where they will face fierce enemies. If they...
(The entire section is 438 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary
Faithful and Christian arrive at the town that Evangelist warned them about. It is named Vanity but is most known for the Vanity Fair, for there is a constant fair there where all manner of vanities are sold.
The citizens of Vanity laugh at the clothing and speech of Christian and Faithful. The two men do not look at any of the wares for sale at the fair, saying that they will buy only Truth. This causes chaos in the fair, and they are taken into custody as madmen. They are placed in a cage to await their trial.
The men of Vanity Fair begin to disagree among themselves about Faithful and Christian, with some being accused of being confederates with them. Besides the suspicion of madness, Faithful and Christian are now blamed for the chaos of the fair. The two men are placed in chains and dragged through the fair to be made a mockery of. They are then returned to their cage to wait for their trial.
Christian and Faithful are brought before the judge, called Lord Hate-Good. They are charged with disturbing the peace and spreading “dangerous opinions” that are in contempt of the prince of the fair.
Faithful says that the prince is nothing less than Beelzebub. Witnesses are brought against them, and the accusations are based on twisted interpretations of what Faithful and Christian have said.
Faithful is allowed to speak in his own defense, telling the court the true statements that he made since entering Vanity Fair. He says that whatever is contrary to the Word of God is wrong, and that worship of God is to be derived only from divine revelation.
The judge charges the jury to make their judgment based on the testimony that has been presented in court, giving examples from the Bible of men who stood up against those who tried to detract from the rulers of this world and held up God as the only source of Truth.
After much deliberation, the jury declares Faithful to be guilty and condemns him to death. He is beaten and scourged, eventually to be burned at the stake. He is faithful to the end.
Christian is returned to his cage, but he praises God for Faithful’s continuance even in the midst of persecution and torture. Christian is kept in prison for a little while but, with the help of God, manages to escape and goes on his way, singing of Faithful’s victory in death.
(The entire section is 415 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary
When Christian leaves Vanity Fair following Faithful’s death, he is joined by Hopeful, who tells him that soon even more men from the town might join the journey to the Celestial City.
They are met by Mr. By-ends from the town of Fair Speech. Mr. By-ends is traveling the road to the Celestial City, but he tells Christian and Hopeful that he is interested in religion only if the way is easy. The two men leave him as a bad influence.
Mr. By-ends continues on his way and meets with Mr. Hold-the-World, Mr. Money-love, and Mr. Save-all, all of whom he has known since they were in school together. All of them agree that it is no sin to use religion to gain a higher standing (and more money) in the world. They catch up with Christian and Hopeful and pose the question to them, but they refuse to have anything to do with the group.
Leaving the four men, Christian and Hopeful travel through the Valley of Ease, which is very narrow, and arrive at the hill of Lucre, where there is a Silver-Mine that has been the downfall of many. A man called Demas urges them to come and look into the pit. Hopeful suggests that it would not be hurtful, but Christian says that they must not be tempted. They go on, and soon Mr. By-ends and his friends come along and are lured into the pit.
Soon Christian and Hopeful come to a monument in the shape of a woman. They see that it is Lot’s Wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back at the burning city of Sodom. On the road they come to a river with a pleasant meadow and fruit trees on both sides. Here they take some rest and refreshment.
Journeying on the next day, they come to a Wayside, which Christian suggests will be an easier path to the Celestial City. Hopeful is concerned about leaving the path, but he is persuaded by Christian.
It is not long before the two travelers realize their mistake. Christian apologizes for leading Hopeful astray, and they turn back toward the path. Not reaching it before nighttime, they lie down to sleep and are awakened by Giant Despair, whose lands they are in.
The giant takes them to his home called Doubting Castle. He imprisons them and deprives them of food and water for four days. Despair’s wife, Diffidence, urges him to beat them.
After much suffering and thoughts of suicide (at Despair’s suggestion), Christian remembers that he has a key called Promise, which opens any door...
(The entire section is 476 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 8 Summary
Hopeful and Christian continue on their journey until the come to the Delectable Mountains. There they see many orchards, vineyards, and fountains, where they refresh themselves.
They see shepherds tending their flocks by the side of the road. The shepherds’ names are Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere. The shepherds explain to the pilgrims that the mountains belong to the King of Celestial City.
Christian asks how far it is to the City, and the shepherds tell him that it is still far and accessible only to the faithful. The shepherds invite the travels to stay and rest for a while in the Mountains.
The next morning, the shepherds show Christian and Hopeful some of the sights to be seen from the Delectable Mountains. They show the pilgrims a hill called Error. From there, they see the bodies of men who have strayed from the Truth at the bottom. The shepherds explain that these have been left there as a warning to those who are tempted into false teachings.
Next the shepherds show the pilgrims a cemetery, where men stumble among the tombs. The shepherds explain that these are men who left the path at the stile by the Wayside and found themselves imprisoned by the Giant Despair, who tortured them, blinded them, and then placed them among the tombs to wander around. Christian and Hopeful look at each other, knowing how close they themselves came to this fate, but say nothing to the shepherds.
Next the pilgrims are shown a doorway in the side of the hill. Behind the door they hear cries and see smoke streaming out. This is the path that hypocrites go. Hopeful sees that all these people had been pilgrims on the way to the Celestial City. The shepherds admit this, stating that some got further on the road even than Christian and Hopeful have but still fell by the way.
Christian and Hopeful say that they will need to cry to the Strong for strength. The shepherds tell them that they will need it as they go on their way.
Christian and Hopeful have appreciated their rest in the Delectable Mountains but know that they must continue their journey. The shepherds first take them up to a hill called Clear and bid them look through a Glass to see the gates of the Celestial City. The pilgrims look, but their hands are still shaking from all that they have seen lately, so all they can see is a vague sight of the Gate, along with some of the Glory that surrounds the...
(The entire section is 466 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary
As the narrator sleeps and dreams again, the two pilgrims go down the mountains to the highway that leads to the Celestial City. They see the country of Conceit and meet Ignorance. He has not come in through the Wicket Gate, so Christian warns him that he will be turned back at the city gates.
Ignorance tells him to follow his religion while he follows his own. Seeing that Ignorance is a fool, Christian and Hopeful decide to pass him by.
Down the road, the two pilgrims see a man who has a sign on his back that labels him as Wanton Professor and Damnable Apostate. Christian remembers a man called Little-Faith who was attacked by thieves on the way. They took his money, but he still had some jewels.
Having no ready cash, Little-Faith had to beg his way along because there was no one to buy his jewels. Moreover, the jewels were his birthright and Little-Faith refused to sell them. Hopeful thinks this was foolish, but Christian strongly tells him that selling one’s birthright is selling one’s soul.
As they travel on their way, Christian and Hopeful come to a fork in the road and do not know which way to take. A black man in a white robe approaches and offers to lead them. They follow him and soon find themselves going away from the Celestial City.
The black man throws off his robe, and the pilgrims are ensnared in a net. They realize that this is the Flatterer of whom the shepherds on the Delectable Mountains warned them. They also remember the directions that were given to them, which would have told them what way to go.
A Shining One approaches them and releases them, but he chastises and whips them as a rebuke. Christian and Hopeful, feeling ashamed, continue on the highway and encounter a man called Atheist, who tells them that he has been looking for the Celestial City for twenty years and has never found it.
The pilgrims realize that this is another one of the Flatterers and so ignore him. They travel on, but Hopeful feels weary and wants to lie down to sleep. Christian tells him that they are on Enchanted Ground, another place that the shepherds warned them about.
Hopeful tells Christian of his life in Vanity Fair. He had felt sorry for his sins but did not know how to rid himself of them. Faithful helped him and told him to seek Jesus’ face. He searches and prays, but it is only after much perseverance that Jesus is revealed to him and his...
(The entire section is 503 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 10 Summary
Christian and Hopeful finally make it through the Enchanted Ground and enter the Country of Beulah, where the air is sweet and pleasant. The sun shines day and night; this land is beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death and beyond the reach of the Giant Despair. The Shining Ones continually walk about because it is close to the Celestial City.
As the pilgrims approach the Celestial City, they see that it is built of pearls and precious stones, and the streets are paved with gold. Christian and Hopeful feel sick with desire for the city.
A gardener tells them that the vineyards belong to the King and are planted for the solace of all pilgrims who approach the city. They sleep in the vineyards, talking in their sleep.
When they awaken, they prepare to enter the city. They come to a river, which they are told they must cross to reach the gates. They are warned that it is shallow or deep depending on their belief in the King.
Christian and Hopeful enter the river; Christian finds it deep, though to Hopeful it is shallow. Christian struggles to cross, being reminded of all his failures and struggles, seeing visions of hobgoblins and evil spirits. Hopeful holds his head above water and reminds him to look to Jesus. Christian does so and is suddenly able to reach the other side.
The pilgrims find that their mortal garments have been washed away in their river. Although the city is on a hill, they have no earthly weights to hold them back. They hear the voices of the heavenly host inside. They are surrounded by the residents of the city and enter the gates, clothed in gold and glory, with crowns on their heads and harps in their hands.
Ignorance soon follows close behind Christian and Hopeful. When he comes to the gates, he knocks, expecting to be allowed entrance. He is asked for certificate such as was given to Christian at the Wicket Gate, without which he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Ignorance has no certificate, sure of his own efforts and understanding to make him worthy of being included in the Celestial City. Finding that he is without a certificate, the Shining Ones conduct him to a door that is by the city gate. This door leads him to the gates of Hell.
The narrator then awakens and realizes that he was dreaming. He urges the reader to interpret without focusing on the surface story but searching for the inner meaning.
(The entire section is 423 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary
The narrator goes once again into the woods and falls asleep. He dreams that a man by the name of Mr. Sagacity approaches him and the two of them walk on together.
They pass by the City of Destruction, and the narrator asks Mr. Sagacity what has happened since Christian’s successful journey to the Celestial City. Sagacity tells him that Christian’s tale has spread far and wide, and many people speak well of him, even though when he was among them he was called a fool. Christian’s wife, Christiana, and her sons also have followed him on his pilgrim journey, and Sagacity begins to tell their story.
After her husband’s departure, Christiana began to feel guilt concerning her hardheartedness toward him in his torment. Not only that but she began to see her own need of the same salvation that caused Christian to leave.
Christiana dreamed that a parchment was spread before her, listing all her crimes and sins. Two demons appeared beside her and talked of how they might prevent her from following her husband. Next she saw Christian in the Celestial City, holding a harp and surrounded by the angels.
The next morning, there was a knock on Christiana’s door. She bade the person to enter only if he came in God’s name. A man entered. He introduced himself as Secret and gave her an invitation from the King of the Celestial City to follow her husband on the pilgrim journey. Christiana wanted to go immediately to the King, but Secret warned her that the bitter must come before the sweet.
Christiana called her sons together and told them that they were leaving immediately to join their father. The boys were overjoyed at their mother’s decision.
Another knock at the door revealed Christiana’s neighbors, Mrs. Timorous and Mercy. Mrs. Timorous was horrified to find Christiana about to follow in her husband’s footsteps, especially since she was taking her children along. Mrs. Timorous reminded Christiana of all the dangers her husband faced on the journey, but Christiana was adamant.
Mrs. Timorous left, but Mercy stayed behind. She had become conscious of her own sins and wanted to go along. Christiana rejoiced and told Mercy that she would hire her as her servant. Mrs. Timorous spread the news about the neighborhood of Christiana’s foolishness.
Christiana, Mercy, and the four boys set foot on the same path that Christian followed. When they reached the...
(The entire section is 441 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary
As the story continues, Christiana, Mercy, and the four boys approach the Wicket Gate and knock on the door. They hear the fierce barking of a dog and leave off knocking, not certain what to do. They do not dare go back and offend the Keeper of the Gate, so they knock louder until the door is opened.
Christiana and the boys are welcomed in, but Mercy is left outside. She is fearful that she will not be admitted because she received no invitation from the King, as Christiana did, but came only at the request of Christiana herself. Nevertheless, she knocks loudly, startling Christiana inside. The door is opened again, but Mercy has fainted. She is taken inside and revived by the Keeper. He assures her that she is welcome, as is anyone who seeks entrance.
Christiana inquires about the barking dog. The Keeper tells her that it belongs to the person who lives near the Gate. The dog is to frighten off all who wish to become pilgrims. Hanging over the wall are the branches of fruit trees, and Christiana’s sons eat some of the fruit, even though she tells them that it belongs to the enemy.
Christiana, her boys, and Mercy go on their way. They are assaulted by two Ill-favored Ones, who threaten them body and soul. Christiana cries out, and a Reliever comes from the Gatehouse. The Ill-favored Ones are driven away, and Christiana remembers her dream in which such beings talk of how to prevent her salvation.
The Reliever asks why they did not ask for a Conductor who would go with them and protect them. They did not know that such a one was available, but the Conductor assures them that at each place along the journey they will find someone who will protect them.
The pilgrims arrive at the Interpreter’s home, where they are welcomed joyfully. News of their setting out on pilgrimage had reached the Interpreter earlier and so he was waiting for them. He shows them several rooms in his house, each with some kind of warning or instruction. Christiana and Mercy tell him of their decisions to set out for the Celestial City.
The next morning, Christiana, Mercy, and the boys are washed, sealed, and clothed in white garments. A man called Great-Heart is to be their Conductor on the way.
They come to the place where Christian’s burden fell off, and Great-Heart explains about the righteousness of God. Continuing on their way, the travels pass three men—Simple, Sloth, and...
(The entire section is 455 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary
The pilgrims come to the Hill Difficulty. Before they begin the climb, they go to the spring for a drink of water. The stream has been muddied by those who seek to discourage travelers to the Celestial City, so they must first put the water in a pot and let the dirt settle.
As they climb the hill, Great-Heart encourages them to persevere; there is the arbor at the top. There they stop and remember Christian’s loss of his Scroll there, so they avoid going to sleep. Nevertheless, Christiana forgets her bottle of spirits there.
They come to a stage with a placard that states that this is where Timourous and Mistrust tried to persuade Christian to go back. For their sins, their tongues were pierced with fire.
Next they encounter the lions as well as a Giant named Grim. Great-Heart fights him and slays him, allowing the pilgrims to keep on their way.
When they come to the Porter’s Lodge, they are greeted warmly and invited to stay a while. Great-Heart announces that he must return to the Gate. Mercy and Christiana beg him to go with him all the way to the City. Great-Heart says that he could have if they had requested his help at the beginning, but now he must go.
That night, Mercy dreams of being in a lonely place. She is rescued and clothed in silver and gold, with a crown placed on her head. Over the next several days, Prudence, one of the damsels in the Lodge, catechizes Christiana’s children (whose names are revealed to be Matthew, Samuel, Joseph, and James). They have been well trained by Christiana, and Prudence is pleased.
A man called Mr. Brisk becomes infatuated with Mercy and seeks her attention and her love. Mercy, however, is spending her time making clothing for the poor, so Mr. Brisk eventually leaves. Mercy is content with being alone; she has dedicated her life to helping those in need.
Matthew, Christiana’s oldest son, becomes ill. The physician says that he has eaten something unhealthy. His brother Samuel reminds his mother that Matthew ate the enemy’s fruit at the Gate. The physician gives him medicine that will purge him.
The pilgrims are shown some items from the stories in the Bible as something to meditate upon. They are thrilled when Great-Heart returns to go with them. The pilgrims, rejoined now with their guide Great-Heart, leave the Porter’s Lodge and continue on their way.
(The entire section is 416 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary
Led by Great-Heart, the pilgrims begin their journey down the Hill Difficulty into the Valley of Humiliation. Piety, a damsel from the Porter’s Lodge who has accompanied them this far, tells Christiana that this is where Christian fought Apollyon.
James, the youngest son, finds a pillar on which is written an account and a warning of Christian’s fight. Great-Heart tells the pilgrims that the Valley of Humiliation may be a place where much spiritual fruit is grown, and many pilgrims wish to stop there.
They hear a shepherd boy singing and stop to listen to it, refreshed by the song’s encouragement. Great-Heart says that Christ had his country house in this valley.
Samuel, the second oldest son, wants to see the place where his father battled Apollyon. Great-Heart leads them there, and they see some signs of the battle still remaining. There is a monument to Christian’s victory there as well. Each spot along the way is some monument to the pilgrim’s struggle and victory as a way to encourage other travelers.
Leaving the Valley of Humiliation, the pilgrim band arrives at the border of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. As they enter, they hear groaning and lamentation and feel the ground shaking.
James becomes sick with fear, so his mother gives him some of the spirits and pills that the physician at the Porter’s Lodge gave her; the boy soon begins to feel better. They see an ugly shape coming toward them. Great-Heart tells the pilgrims to gather close to him, and then the fiend vanishes.
The next troublesome encounter is with a lion. Great-Heart approaches it, ready to do battle. When the lion keeps coming toward them, the conductor leads his party on away from the beast rather than risk a confrontation.
They next pass a pit full of darkness. Christiana tells Mercy that now she sees what her poor husband went through. Great-Heart urges them to be faithful, and Samuel says that these difficulties will make their new home in the Celestial City all the sweeter. Great-Heart guides them past a ditch into which many of the heedless fall.
The pilgrims pass a cave, one which Christian had passed by without incident, but now they see a Giant, Maul, coming toward them. Great-Heart faces him with his sword drawn. He defeats the giant and cuts of its head.
The pilgrims erect a pillar, place the giant’s head on it, and write a sign on the...
(The entire section is 425 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary
The pilgrims arrive at the place where Christian met Faithful. Christiana asks Mr. Great-Heart if he was hurt in his battle with the giant, but the Guide says that he has minimal flesh wounds, a proof of his devotion to God. Matthew remarks on God’s goodness in bringing them all out of the Valley safely.
The group continues on their journey and comes across an old man sleeping under an oak tree. They greet him and learn that he is Mr. Honest, although he wishes his nature would agree with his name. He is from the town of Stupidity, which is in an even worse condition than the City of Destruction.
Mr. Honest joins them, and Great-Heart asks him if he knew Mr. Fearing, who had gone on pilgrimage previously. Mr. Honest did indeed know him, and Mr. Great-Heart tells of Fearing’s journey.
Mr. Fearing came to all the places Christian encountered but lived up to his name, being afraid constantly. Yet he refused to turn back but bravely faced his fears until Mr. Great-Heart delivered him successfully to the Celestial City.
Mr. Honest then tells of another person on the pilgrim way who claimed that it was acceptable to follow the examples of vice as shown in the lives of the biblical heroes. His argument was that even though they sinned, they were held up as models of faith.
A messenger meets the pilgrims and warns them about robbers up ahead. They decide to seek shelter at a nearby inn, where they are greeted warmly and provided with food and beds by Gaius, their host.
Gaius urges Christiana to give Mercy to her oldest son, Matthew, as his wife, which she does. The pilgrims stay with Gaius for month, exchanging riddles, until news comes of another giant, Slay-Good, whom Great-Heart must battle.
Great-Heart kills the giant and rescues another pilgrim, Mr. Feeble-Minded. They return to the home of Gaius, where they display the giant’s head. Gaius’s daughter, Phebe, is married to Matthew’s brother James.
As the pilgrim group gets ready to continue their journey, Mr. Great-Heart invites Mr. Feeble-Minded to join them, but he decides he will come after them to avoid holding them up.
As he is explaining, another pilgrim, Ready-to-Halt, arrives. Mr. Feeble-Minded invites him to be his companion on the journey; they are both slower of speed than the others. The pilgrims go forth as Mr. Great-Heart tells them more stories of Christian’s journey...
(The entire section is 418 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary
The pilgrims now approach the town of Vanity, where Christian met Faithful at Vanity Fair. They lodge with Mr. Mnason, a disciple who is amazed that they have come so far from Gaius’s home.
Learning that Christiana is the wife of the famous pilgrim Christian, Mr. Mnason invites several of the residents of Vanity to meet his guests. They are joined by Mr. Mnason’s daughter Grace.
One of the men from Vanity, Mr. Contrite, tells the pilgrims that the people of Vanity Fair are much more moderate than they were when they murdered Faithful. Mr. Honest and Mr. Great-Heart tell Mr. Contrite of their journey.
The pilgrims stay with Mr. Mnason for a long time during which Grace is married to Samuel, Christiana’s third son, and Mr. Mnason’s other daughter, Martha, is married to the youngest, Joseph. They become acquainted with the people of the town, and soon children are born to the sons of Christian and their wives.
News comes of a Monster coming out of the woods who kills people and kidnaps children but is controlled by a woman. This Monster has the body of a dragon, seven heads, and ten horns.
Mr. Great-Heart leads some of the men to fight the Monster and manages to drive him off. It is believed by many of the people of the town that the beast died of its wounds.
The pilgrims soon continue on their journey, coming to the place where Faithful lost his life. At the River they come across a shepherd to whom Christiana urges her daughters-in-law to give the care of their babies born to them at Vanity.
As the group approaches the Castle Doubtful where lives the Giant Despair, Mr. Great-Heart and the others discuss a plan to destroy the giant and his wife, thus freeing any prisoners inside.
Leaving the women behind with Mr. Feeble-Minded and Mr. Ready-to-halt, the men attack the castle. They kill the giant’s wife, Diffidence, and eventually overcome Despair, cutting off his head to take back with them. They find two prisoners in the castle: Mr. Despondency and his daughter Much-afraid.
They all return to the pilgrims who stayed behind and rejoice at the downfall of the giant. Much-afraid dances with Mr. Ready-to-halt, although the father is too weak from near starvation. Christiana gives him some of her Spirits, which revives him. Mr. Great-Heart puts the head of the Giant Despair on a pole by the wayside to be a warning to fellow travelers.
(The entire section is 418 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary
Mr. Great-Heart leads the pilgrim band from Doubting Castle to the Delectable Mountains, where Christian and Hopeful had stopped to be refreshed. They are greeted by shepherds who welcome them as they had Christian.
Mr. Great-Heart introduces each of the pilgrims and the shepherds invite Mr. Ready-to-halt, Mr. Feeble-minded, Mr. Despondency, and Mrs. Much-afraid especially because these would be the ones most reluctant to step forward. The weak and feeble enter first, followed by the others. They are presented with a feast and rest.
The shepherds take the pilgrims to Mount-Marvel, where a man tumbles about, representing those who fall out of the way because of difficulties. At Mount Innocent, they see a man clothed all in white, pelted with dirt by two men called Prejudice and Ill-will, but the dirt does not stay on the white garments for long.
At Mount Charity, a man is making garments for the poor. They see two people trying to wash an Ethiopian’s black skin to turn him white.
Mercy finds a mirror that not only reflects her own face but that of Jesus. She is drawn to it and desires to have it. She is pregnant and fears that she will miscarry if she does not have the mirror to constantly behold the face of Christ.
Because of the pilgrims’ defeat of the Giant Despair, the shepherds give her the mirror. For Christiana, the shepherds dress her and her daughters-in-law in jewels.
Mr. Great-Heart leads them away to the town of Apostasy. Here lives Mr. Turn-away, who met Christian on his pilgrimage.
Further on, they are faced by a man with a bloody face, carrying a sword. He says his name is Valiant-for-truth and that he was attacked by three thieves. He tells the pilgrims of his own journey, of entering the Gate as is required although his parents tried to hold him back.
He joins the pilgrim band, which then enters the Enchanted Ground. They are beset by mist and darkness but resist all temptations to stop for rest. They come across two men asleep in an arbor but are unable to awaken them.
The pilgrims meet Mr. Standfast, kneeling in prayer. He explains that he was approached by Madame Bubble, who symbolizes all the vanity of this world. Mr. Great-Heart says that it is she who cast the spell on the Enchanted Ground. Standfast is overjoyed to learn that he was able to resist the temptations of this witch.
(The entire section is 410 words.)
Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary
At last the band of pilgrims comes to Beulah Land, where the Celestial City lies. They are welcomed into the town outside the Golden Gates beside the River separating them from the City.
There is nothing that is offensive to any of the senses. There is a record of all the pilgrims who have made it thus far. The children of the town gather flowers from the King’s Gardens to present to the pilgrims.
A summons from the City comes for Christiana. It is from the Master of the City, telling her that she will cross the River and enter the Gates in ten days. Along with the letter is the token of an arrow whose point is sharpened with Love and enters Christiana’s heart, preparing her to leave her loved ones.
Christiana tells Mr. Great-Heart that she will be the first of the company to go over the River. He tells her that those who will be left behind will join her at the riverside.
On the day of her departure, her family and friends gather by the river. She blesses each of her companions on the journey, giving each of them some token or word of advice to ease their own journeys.
Christiana crosses the River and is welcomed into the Celestial City, leaving her weeping children but joyous friends behind.
In the course of time, Mr. Ready-to-halt also receives a summons that he will join the Master the day after Easter. He leaves his crutches to his son as his legacy. He thanks Mr. Great-Heart for his guidance, proceeding on to the City where he will leave his physical handicap behind.
Mr. Feeble-minded is next to go, asking Mr. Valiant-for-truth to bury his feeble mind in a dunghill when he leaves it behind. Mr. Despondency is also called for. His daughter decides she will join her father when he crosses the River.
Mr. Honest and Mr. Valiant-for-truth eventually leave this world and enter the Celestial City. Mr. Valiant leaves his sword for the next pilgrim who has need of it. Mr. Standfast is the last of the company to cross over to the other side.
The River that separates this world from the next has been a terror to many, yet the narrator states that he is now ready to cross over it himself, unafraid. He did not stay long enough to hear what happened to the sons and daughters-in-law of Christiana, although he hears that they are still alive, bearing more children for the Church.
(The entire section is 421 words.)