Loved into Wholeness, Made Whole to Love: Discovering the Animus in C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces
To be beautiful, whole, and truly loved are the longings of Orual, the protagonist and narrator of C. S. Lewis’s final novel, Till We Have Faces (1956). The process by which she is able to realize these desires is illustrated throughout the novel through the image of being given a face—that is, a complete psyche or soul, —and Orual must know and accept this face before she can stand in the presence of the gods; the question, “How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” (Lewis, p. 257) is central to her spiritual and psychological development. While the question seems rather obvious, the process that it prompts is certainly not easy or painless. Orual’s narration traces a highly complex process of development that, without close examination, is easily misunderstood. As the culmination of Lewis’s fictional works and, in many ways, a capstone to his life and career, Till We Have Faces is a beautiful and intricately woven tale that can give abundant enjoyment, but which also deserves and requires exacting analysis. A method by which to delve into the world of Orual’s mind is to study and apply the psychoanalytic theory of Swiss psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung to Orual’s developmental process and journey to completion. Orual’s personal and spiritual growth is inextricably connected to her struggle with gender and the conflicting qualities existing within her unconscious mind; by recognizing these qualities and seeking to trace their movement from her unconscious to her conscious mind by applying Jung’s theory of archetypes—and, more specifically, of the animus—it is possible to discern how Orual, with the direction of the gods, is able to gain a face and to commune with the gods as a beautiful, complete, loved, and fully individuated character.
C.S. Lewis, Clives Staples Lewis, Till We Have Faces, Orual, Animus, Sarah E. Macfadyen, Sarah Macfadyen