Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 406
C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce is a story that blends elements of Christian philosophy, storytelling, and a generous take on Lewis's ideas on the afterlife and the nature of sin. In this novel, Lewis takes his philosophy of how sin corrupts and rots human existence to create our own personal Hell while contrasting it with the results of a pure, moral, and sanctified life.
In this novel, Lewis uses the stories of several characters with different vices to show how their descent into sin followed its natural course of worsening throughout eternity to lead these individuals into a worse and worse existence—torturing them because of their own sinful nature, not through some inherent, destructive hellfire that is divinely ordained. Lewis's point in this text is to show that, instead of the traditional view of Hell as a place of punishment for our actions, it is the natural result of our own actions.
The individuals in the novel believe they are in purgatory, thinking they are awaiting judgment because, in their opinion, their situation is not that bad—it's not "hellish". This is reflective of Lewis's view on sin nature in humans—they slip so far that they believe their evil doings are nothing striking.
When they reach Heaven, they get a view of Lewis's idea of Heaven (exemplified in his separate quote about not wanting to go to the beach because you're having too much fun making mud pies in the backyard), that Heaven is much more real and substantial than any of the...
(The entire section contains 406 words.)
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