English 233:  Introduction to Western Humanities -- Baroque & Enlightenment

Study Guide to John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress

Reading Three

Consider printing a copy of this SG and taking your notes directly upon it.

Reading Three:  Continue with your reading of Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, up through Christian's adventures in the Valley of the Shadow of Death (pp. 32-54).

Questions to pursue

(1) Drawing connections:  What is the meaning of the circumstances in which Christian finds Simple, Sloth, and Presumption? 




(2) How do Formalist and Hypocrisy enter the path (as opposed to how else), and what is the significance of this fact? 


How does this connect with their names?  (What is "formalism" in religion?)


[Drawing connections:  What specific assumptions do you notice that they have in common with Mr. Worldly-Wiseman?]


How does their way of entering connect with the way in which they part company with Christian?


(3) Midway up the Hill of Difficulty is an Arbor.  Who made it, and for what purpose?

What does Christian do there?

What happens then?


(4) At the top of the Hill, Christian meets two characters.  Who are they, and what do they tell him?


What does your editor's note suggest is meant by the Lions they report having seen?


How does what the two characters tell Christian lead him to discover his loss of his Roll?

Why is this so important to him?


How does he explain to himself the responsibility for this loss?


[Drawing connections:  Do you see any troublesome implications here?  Consider your answer, above, to the question of who made the Arbor, and for what purpose?]

Christian eventually recovers his Roll, but what is the result of his having to do so?  [Drawing connections:  Do you see any figurative significance in the term used to describe this?]

(5) As Christian approaches the Palace Beautiful, he see the Lions, but not that they are chained.  The Porter Watchful sets him straight.  Drawing connections:  What are we to make of the fact that this happens for Christian, but didn't happen in the case of Mistrust and Timorous?  [After all:  don't these names just as well apply to Christian, given his response, as they did to these others?]


(6) Who built the Palace Beautiful, and for what purpose?

(7) Before Christian can be admitted to the palace, he has to be interrogated by 4 Virgins of the place (members of the Family) to discover if he is fit to be taken in according to the Laws of the House.  Discretion asks him a few questions and then calls in Piety, Prudence, and Charity to ask some additional questions.  They eventually admit him, and while they are waiting for supper to be prepared, they satisfy other curiosities about him.  Drawing connections:  How do the things each wants to know help to define each virtue as Bunyan thinks this is to be understood from the specifically Christian standpoint?  You can ask the question this way:  is there some other notion of piety or prudence or charity that this colloquy serves to distinguish from

Christian piety?


Christian prudence?


Christian charity?


(8) What does the party discuss during and after dinner?


(9) Where does Christian sleep, and with what effect?  [Why, presumably?]


(10) On the second day at Palace Beautiful, Christian is shown the Study and Armory of the Palace.  What sorts of things is he made acquainted with in each case?  [Drawing connections:  What do you see as the figurative significance of the things he is shown in the latter?]




(11) On the third day he is shown something else.  What is this, and why is he shown it?


What is he outfitted with before he leaves?

What does he learn from the Porter?

(12) What does he enter when he gets to the bottom of the Hill of Difficulty?

(13) Whom does he encounter there?


What does this character insist on?


What do you take to be the significance of his appearance?

What does Christian reply to his claims?


What enables Christian to prevail in the battle that ensues?


How does Christian recover from his wounds?

(14) What new valley does Christian enter upon as he leaves the one he has just been in?