How did Orual become like Psyche in Till We Have Faces?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The experiences of Orual, culminating in the strange, dream-like vision that she narrates to the reader in the final chapter, where she confronts Psyche, detail a process of growth in self-understanding and self-awareness. Orual, by the end of the book, comes to be like her beloved sister precisely because she identifies that her love for her sister has been destructive and all-consuming. Instead, she becomes more like her sister by the recognition that she must learn to love in a different fasion. Note how Orual addresses her sister in this final chapter of the book:

"Oh, Psyche, oh, goddess," I said. "Never again will I call you mine; but all there is of me shall be yours. Alas, you know now what it's worth. I never wished you well, never had one selfless thought of you. I was a craver."

Orual is forced to see herself for who she really is, which of course relates to the central symbol of the mask that she wears for most of her life. The veil she wears prevents both others and herself from seeing who she really is, and it is only at the end of the novel that she is forced to strip that veil away and see herself in all of her reality. As the quote reflects, Orual therefore becomes like Psyche by the end of the novel because she moves away from her obsessive and selfish love and begins to demonstrate the same self-giving and sacrificial love that Psyche demonstrated. Orual's move from ignorance to awareness is mirrored by a growth in her capacity to love as her sister loved.

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