Iris: Discussion Question 1


Every human soul has seen, perhaps even before their birth, pure forms, such as justice, temperance, beauty, and all the great moral qualities which we hold in honor.  We are moved toward what is good by the faint memory of these forms, simple and calm and blessed, which we saw once in a pure, clear light, being purer ourselves. . . .


We need to believe in something divine, without the need of God -- something we might call “love,” “goodness.”  As the psalm says, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit?  Whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend unto heaven, thou art there.  If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, thy right hand shall hold me.”

                                             -- Iris Murdock



[We are in] “a state of grace, something to be shared”

                                                               -- The character of John Bayley (Iris Murdock’s husband) in “Iris”   






Based on your reading of Erikson – as described and discussed by Fuller – write a paragraph or two on whether
and how you think Erikson would characterize John Bayley’s struggle in terms of the final life-stage.  Be prepared to discuss this in class.