The Sandcastle Questions and Answers
by Iris Murdoch

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What are the themes in The Sandcastle by Iris Murdoch? This is a study guide question posted by eNotes Editorial. Please clearly identify at least 3...

What are the themes in The Sandcastle by Iris Murdoch? This is a study guide question posted by eNotes Editorial. Please clearly identify at least 3 themes and devote a separate paragraph to a discussion of each one

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"Carpe Diem": Seize the Day

One of the critical themes—probably the most important for understanding Bill Mor's journey into adultery—is the quest to seize the day for the sake of happiness. Bill is deeply unhappy in his marriage and at his job. His wife doesn't approve of many of the things he finds important, and she verbally berates his ideas and choices.

He might have find solace at his job, except he was passed over for a promotion because of his atheism: in order to become the head of the school he would have to be an Anglican, something he doesn't want to lie about. The person who was chosen to be the head over him is insufferable—someone he disagrees with philosophically. The novel follows Mor's attempt to seize the day, to recapture the old spark he once felt in his life. Not only does he want to quit his job and run for political office, but he chases a woman half his age, Rain Carter, who he then falls in love with.

A quote that embodies this theme is read during the...

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