That Hideous Strength – Chapter 3 – Section 2

SUMMARY

Here we follow Mark for an hour or so at the NICE, separated from Feverstone and trying to make his way. He begins by awkwardly sitting at a dining table next to two NICE members “talking shop,” – lots of acronyms, little that Mark comprehends.

He then happens into a fellow fellow at Bracton – a real scientist – Hingest, a scientist of some renown who has decided to part ways with the NICE. He seems to see the group as powerful – “The NICE would have the Wood in any case. They have powers to compel a sale” (56) – and misguided – “there’s nothing extraordinary in the fact that the NICE should wish, if possible, to hand over to Bracton the odium of turning the heart of England into a cross between an abortive American hotel and a glorified gas works” (56). (I regret only that my country is held in such low regard. I’m quite fond of it.)

He then is introduced to Steele (by Hingest), a man who is nominally in charge of sociology at NICE and is in no way pleased to find that Studdock has been let into his department my Wither without even letting him know. It is unclear to the reader, or to Mark, if this is even the case. Mark tries to explain this but seems as impotent here as he did with Wither (who is known often as D.D. – deputy director).

He is saved from the ordeal with Steele, at least temporarily, when he meets Professor Filostrato – a true NICE believer – who holds Feverstone in low regard, much as in the way Feverstone thinks of Curry. Mark naturally gravitates to him, who explains “the NICE is serious. It is nothing less than the existence of the human race that depends on our work: our real work” (58). He explains that Mark need not worry himself with the Steeles and Feverstones so long as he is in good with the D.D. and the Fairy – Miss Hardcastle.

Lastly Mark meets Miss Hardcastle, the leader of the Institutional Police, “a terrible Inglesaccia.

Longer Summary this section. I felt like several important (Filostrato, the Fairy) or semi-important (Hingest, Steele) characters were introduced.

DISCUSSION

Mark’s primary goal in life is to fit in with the best crowd available and yet he never seems to fit in at all, at least so far. I would say that, given the crowds he pursues, it bodes well for him that he doesn’t fit in, yet speaks poorly that he tries so hard to do so. The desire for popularity and prestige or status is common among people. It is not a desire or pursuit that is spoken highly of in scripture. Jesus commanded us not to fear man but to fear God. In James we are cautioned against showing favoritism to certain people based on outward characteristics. We are to seek acceptance with God and not men.

Hingest is known derisively by the Progressive Element at Bracton as Bill the Blizzard. He is presented as a legitimate and true scientist, though out of step with the Progressive Element. This is a good thing, given how the Progressive Element has been presented. I would say Hingest could be reasonably aligned with the “good guys.” Whatever the goals of the NICE, Hingest cares nothing for them.

At this point I dont think we are to know what to make of the Fairy Hardcastle. She is very much out of step with the social mores of the day in the way she dresses and carries herself and with the very fact that she leads the police department. All very feminist I am sure.

NOTES:

The Almanac de Gotha (55) is a record or directory of European royalty published in Germany. I doubt Bill the Blizzard actually perused this book as Curry said it behind his back as a jab.

Filostrato uses some foreign terms (58): Canaglia is a troublesome person. And Inglesaccia I think is an insult to an Englishman or lady.

It seems that this de Broglie (55) is an actual historic person, a physicist who studied quantum theory, contemporary of Lewis. He has a wikipedia page that does not mention a link between the two.

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