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The Spire: How Does Golding Show the Contrast Between the World of Faith and the Real World in Chapter 2?

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Essay title: The Spire: How Does Golding Show the Contrast Between the World of Faith and the Real World in Chapter 2?

The theme of faith versus rationalism is very prevalent throughout “The spire” by William Golding. Golding seems to present the ideas of faith and rationalism at odds with each other (In chapter 2 at least) with Jocelin representing what could be described as blind faith, whenever confronted with the cathedrals lack of foundations and the seeming impossibility of building the spire he responds with “god will provide”. Conversely we have Roger Mason, the embodiment of practicality and rationalism whose very description envisions solidity: “His hands were on his waist, thick legs astraddle, sturdy body in its brown tunic leaning forward a little”. The arguments between Jocelin and Roger over the foundations work on many different levels. The comfit is almost symbolic of the struggle between faith and rationale and the issue being one of foundations enhances the poignancy of the debate.

The idea of Faith and Rationalism being two different worlds is first made apparent to us by Golding in the opening paragraph of the chapter. We are given a hellish vision in what is supposedly a holy place. The dust, which acts like “yellow smoke” and serves to give the workers a demonic aspect; “he thought their faces were monstrously deformed”, is caused by the “gap in the wall”. This gap is symbolic as it almost appears as a hole in the cathedrals tranquillity, allowing the unholy and boisterous real world to enter. Golding conveys this using the worker singing profanities when he “paid no attention, but marched through the gap in the wall”. We see the effect of the hole, the intrusion of the outside world, has upon the workings of the cathedral and its inhabitants. Golding presents us with a vision of chaos and confusion “the benches were in disorder, one lying on its side” and the breakdown of the usual proceedings (such as there being candles on the altar etc.). This leads to his confrontation with father Anselm, who blames Jocelin for the disruption caused. Both men’s attitudes towards the workers (and perhaps the “earthly” world) are displayed for the reader in their confrontation. Jocelin’s declaration “they defile the church” and Anselm’s numerous references to the “dirt and stink” produced by the workers show the pervading, almost corrupting influence the outside world has on the world of faith (represented by the cathedral).

Another concept that Golding introduces in this chapter is the cost of faith. We already know that Jocelin received the money from his aunt to proceed with the construction of the spire (which is the ultimate representation of faith in the novel), so it is apparent that there is certainly a monetary cost involved. However at this point both the reader and Jocelin begin to realise that the money is only the beginning and soon the spire will claim much more. This is made apparent by the disintegration of Jocelin and Anselm’s apparent friendship, for which Jocelin blames the spire “so be it cost what you like”. We see the beautiful

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