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Phenomenological investigation of a powerful story Gardner, Marlene 1983

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PHENOMENOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF A POWERFUL STORY by MARLENE GARDNER B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1977 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of C o u n s e l l i n g Psychology) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the re q u i r e d srtrandard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December 1983 (cT) Marlene Gardner, 1983 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Counselling Psychology The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date December 29, 1983 DE-6 (3/81) - i i -ABSTRACT This study sought to investigate the phenomenological nature of reading a potently meaningful novel, and the resultant change i n the reader. Seven co-researchers were interviewed. They were chosen on the basis that they had experienced the powerful reading phenomenon. The method used i n t h i s study was phenomenological research. The co-researcher's description of thei r experience was analyzed by means of a phenomeno-l o g i c a l protocol analysis. An exhaustive description of the structure of the phenomenological nature of a powerful reading experience was written from the protocol analysis. The results of th i s study c l e a r l y show that there i s an unanimous consensus between co-researchers regarding the nature of the powerful reading experience. The nature of the experience was found to be a complex, paradoxically interdependent, interconnected but universal experience for each of the co-researchers. - i i i -TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ABSTRACT i i TABLE OF CONTENTS i i i CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1 Objective of the Study 1 S i g n i f i c a n c e of the Study 2 CHAPTER I I REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 4 In t r o d u c t i o n 4 Nature of Man 4 Related Research Study 12 Summary of Assumptions 14 My Experience 17 CHAPTER I I I METHOD 22 Co-researchers 22 Phenomenological Interview 23 V a l i d a t i o n of S t r u c t u r e 23 Procedure 24 A n a l y s i s of P r o t o c o l s 25 - i v -Page CHAPTER IV RESULTS 27 C l u s t e r s of Themes 28 Exhaustive U n i v e r s a l S t r u c t u r e 29 Condensed U n i v e r s a l S t r u c t u r e 32 Summary of Results 35 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION 39 T h e o r e t i c a l I m p l i c a t i o n s 40 Co u n s e l l i n g I m p l i c a t i o n s 43 Analogue to Co u n s e l l i n g 49 Further Research 53 REFERENCES 54 TABLE 1: SIGNIFICANT STATEMENTS 55 APPENDIX A: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS BY COLAIZZI 65 APPENDIX B: SUPPLEMENTAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 66 APPENDIX C: CO-RESEARCHERS' INTERVIEWS 67 APPENDIX D: UNTIMELY INTERVIEW 123 - 1 -CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Objective of the Study What i s the nature of an experience in reading a novel that i s so meaningful and potent, that i t has produced change in the reader's l i f e ? The purpose of this study was to investigate the phenomenological nature of reading a potently meaningful novel, and the resultant change in the reader. What thou has inherited from thy fathers Acquire i t to make i t thine, (p. 172) This quote from May (1967) may be interpreted as an offer of the experience of reading and the potential gains that i t may hold. I am both interested i n and committed to a legacy of literature. This legacy i s both the experience of temporal l i f e as well as that of eternal l i f e . It i s a legacy that i s both f i n i t e and yet i n f i n i t e . It addresses the self but also the non-self. I am speaking of the reading of literature which produces these powerful paradoxical, yet universal experiences in the reader. Paradoxical, defined for the purpose of this study, i s that the concept stated, only has the f u l l e s t meaning in the face of i t s apparent opposite. For example, self and non-self. The self only has i t s f u l l e s t meaning when i t i s simultaneously experienced with the non-self . This i s a statement that seems contrary to common sense and yet i s perhaps true. When one i s able to go beyond oneself and experience the other, then the knowledge gained from the other i s brought back to the self only to be experienced and integrated with self-knowledge. This then adds to the experience of sel f . This definition of paradox i s - 2 -also applied to concepts such as finiteness and infiniteness as well as temporariness and eternity. Significance of the Study Most l i t e r a t e people can mention at least one or two books which have affected them profoundly, which have expanded their potential growth and development and have provided not only instruction and knowledge but also understanding and inspiration, (p. 58) This quote stated from Lester (1977) refers to the potential gains that one can achieve from the reading of literature. This can be tied to the topic of Bibliotherapy in Counselling. Shrodes (1971) defines Bibliotherapy as a process of interaction between the personality of the reader and imaginative literature which may engage his emotions and free them for conscious and productive use. McKinney (1976) states that Bibliotherapy can produce attitude changes, self-understandings, identifications with f i c t i o n a l characters and suggestions for problem-solving. Through discussion with the counsellor, clients can be made aware of conscious and unconscious needs. Bibliotherapy in Counselling also provides for a cathartic experience through identification, and a topic for discussion of feelings produced from the reading experience and how i t relates to the reader. A study conducted by Beattie and Czikszentmihalyi (1979) supports the importance of literature in the lives of people. They investigated the concept of a l i f e theme. They construe the events in a person's l i f e as being structured by an underlying theme. The l i f e theme i s a cognitive and affective system composed of a central existential problem, i t s perceived causes, and the methods a person attempts to use - 3 -for i t s solution. "A l i f e theme consists of a problem or set of problems which a person wishes to solve above everything else and the means the person finds to achieve solution." (p. 48) It was found that often through reading a particular book, that people discovered the name of their problem. In many cases, i t was mentioned with awe the incredible impact a given book had on their l i f e . It was stated that they discovered from books that they were not alone, that others shared the same problems and that there might be a way out of their predicament. Books were aids used to experience and interpret r e a l i t y . The method used in this study was phenomenological research. There was almost no relevant research which described in detail the nature of the experience of reading a novel, and the effects of the experience within the reader. There was only one study, which was done by Colaizzi (1978). My study was modelled on Colaizzi's, i n which he investigated the phenomenon of what he called existential change occasioned by reading, or reading-change structure. This study i s different in that i t i s concerned with only f i c t i o n books, spe c i f i c a l l y novels or stories. Colaizzi included non-fiction books, and his method i s also different than the method used i n this study. Colaizzi used written reports whereas this study used interviews. Thus, at present there i s no research which has been done on this specific topic. This study was aimed at probing into the phenomenological experience of reading a potently meaningful novel and the resultant change in the reader's l i f e . - 4 -CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction In accordance with the phenomenological method, the.review presented w i l l make exp l i c i t the assumptions that this study i s based on. The purpose for doing so i s to reduce possible bias and to declare the theoretical assumptions which have guided this study. As stated, there i s almost no relevant research on this topic. Therefore, the literature review presented seeks to draw out assumptions about the experience which was investigated. I have presented authors concerned with how people can gain meaning in l i f e , and how this i s fa c i l i t a t e d by the reading of literature. The assumptive review i s followed by a review of Colaizzi's study. This i s then-followed by a summary of assumptions based on an integration of my own powerful reading experience, the motivation and inspiration for this investigation. Nature of Man Frankl (1963) has discussed the issue of the meaning of l i f e . He states that i t i s not so much a matter of our expectation of l i f e and what meaning i t holds for us, but rather, what does l i f e expect from each one of us. Lif e ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to i t s problems and to f u l f i l l the tasks which i t constantly sets for each individual. These tasks are very real and concrete, and they form man's destiny. Each person's destiny i s different and unique. Frankl also asserts that each situation i s - 5 -unique; i t does not repeat i t s e l f . Each situation c a l l s for a different response, and there i s only one right response to each situation. Sometimes this involves one taking action in order to shape yet follow one's fate, and at other times one i s less active and more contemplative regarding one's fate. If attuned to one's fate, one appropriately chooses which response i s the right one given each situation. In summary, Frankl states that the meaning of our existence i s not invented by ourselves, but rather detected. This existence i s very much a sp i r i t u a l existence as well as a worldly existence. He discusses spiritualism as not primarily a religious connotation, but more as a human dimension of spiritualism. Basic Assumptions 1. Life means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to i t s problems, in the form of l i f e tasks. 2. Each person's tasks are different and unique. 3. These tasks form man's destiny. 4. There i s only one right response to each situation. 5. The meaning of our existence i s not invented by ourselves, but rather detected. For Maslow (1962) human nature i s neutral or positive. E v i l behavior i s a reaction to the frustration of this i n t r i n s i c nature. This inner nature i s not strong or overpowering, but rather weak, delicate, subtle and easily overcome by habit, cultural pressure and wrong attitudes toward i t . Even though weak, i t rarely disappears in normal, or even "sick" people. Even though denied, i t persists - 6 -underground, always pressing for actualization. If this inner nature i s encouraged and permitted to guide our l i f e , we grow healthy and prosper. Maslow also stresses the twofold nature of man, which he c a l l s lower and higher, creatureliness and godlikeness. Neither can be denied; they can only be integrated. Integration i s achieved by means of love, of i n t e l l e c t i n the broadly human sense, by creativeness, humor and art. The ideal, authentic, perfect or godlike human being i s an actualized person. By virtue of what he/she has become, an actualized person assumes a new relation to society. He/she not only transcends the self in various ways; the culture i s also transcended. Enculturation i s resisted. The person becomes less concerned with the culture and the society. He/she becomes more human and less a member of the local group. This description sounds l i k e that of an universal person. Basic Assumptions 1. Human nature i s neutral or positive, yet delicate and subtle. 2. Positive inner nature can be suppressed by aversive conditions, but not abolished. 3. If encouraged, positive inner nature can grow and prosper i n the form of self-actualization. 4. Man has both creature qualities and godlike qualities. 5. The actualized person integrates creatureliness and godlikeness. 6. The actualized person becomes what may be called an universal person. - 7 -May (1953) stresses that the mark of the mature man i s that his l i v i n g i s integrated around self-chosen goals. He knows what he wants and he consciously believes in the value of what he i s doing. The degree of an individual's inner strength and integrity w i l l depend on how much he believes in the values he lives by. How can a person maturely and creatively choose and affirm such values? Beginning with a neutral or positive view of human nature, as does Maslow, May states that man i s the ethical animal, but his attainment of ethical awareness does not come easily. Just as other aspects of man's consciousness of self, such as freedom, ethical awareness i s achieved through the experience of inner conflict and anxiety. The story of Adam and Eve's loss of innocence parallels the child's innocence and egocentricity which gives way to self-consciousness and the realization of his own finiteness. This self-awareness involves conflict with the powerful parents which eventually gives way to autonomy in the form of freedom, responsibility and ethical choice. While courage i s an aid to becoming one's self , i t i s d i f f i c u l t because of the pressure to conform, to be non-differentiated from parental definitions. How d i f f i c u l t ;this i s in I view of the threat of social disapproval as well as rejection, isolation and possible excommunication! The most courageous acceptance of a l l i s that of man's finiteness and a responsible acting as a result. The demand i s the courage to be and trust one's self in the face of death. It means acting, loving, thinking and creating. May also stresses man's struggle to evolve on two levels. Man has both temporal l i f e and eternal l i f e to experience. He discusses the - 8 -reality of the present moment as well as that of the real i t y of eternity. The more awareness of self one has attained, the richer one's experience of present l i f e . The most effective way to ensure the value of the future i s to confront the present courageously. The future i s born out of and made by the present. There i s an eternal aspect to every creative act. By this, May means that qualitative significance of the act i s timeless. This i s because the existence of a thing such as eternal truth cannot be explained by the duration of time. The existence of something depends on i t s essence, not on time. Truth i s discussed as a function not of the separate i n t e l l e c t , but of the whole man; one experiences truth as a thinking-feeling-acting unity. May believes that the classics in literature (as well as those i n any f i e l d ) hold the essence of human experience i n such profound depths that i t speaks to us on a universal plane as the voice of our own experience. This helps us to understand ourselves better and enriches us by releasing echoes within ourselves which we may not have known were there. The more profoundly we can confront and experience the accumulated wealth in hi s t o r i c a l tradition, the more uniquely we can at the same time know and be ourselves. Basic Assumptions 1. Man evolves on two levels, eternally and temporally (specific and collec t i v e ) . 2. An evolved or mature man lives by self-chosen goals which are rooted in self-chosen values. - 9 -3. Values are chosen and affirmed by means of ethical awareness. Man f i r s t experiences co n f l i c t , but through courage can know commitment. 4. Conflict surrounds issues such as autonomy, freedom and responsibility but ultimately i s highlighted and intensified by the realization of man's finiteness. 5. The most courageous task of man i s to accept his finiteness and to thus l i v e responsibly, creatively and affirmatively. 6. Past, present and future interact with one another and become more meaningful in the face of self-awareness. 7. There i s an eternal aspect to every creative act. 8. Man can experience truth. 9. Literature offers the experience of both universality and individuality simultaneously and profoundly. Crites (1971) offered a theory of the narrative quality of experience. Stories give qualitative substance to the form of experience, because experience i s i t s e l f an incipient story. He discussed two kinds of stories, the sacred and the mundane. A sacred story i s a creation story which creates a world of consciousness and the self that belongs to i t . Its sources are unconscious and causal to a l l l i f e and culture. A mundane story i s a story that i s told, directly seen or heard. It i s set within a world of consciousness and i s the means by which people articulate and c l a r i f y their sense of the world. The sacred and mundane stories are distinct from one another yet not separate. A l l mundane stories are implicit in a sacred story and every - 10 -mundane story takes soundings in the sacred story. Some mundane stories sound out greater depths than others, but sacred stories resonate. People are able to feel this resonance, because the unutterable stories are those they know best of a l l . The effect of temporalness of experience i s included as essential to the constitution of sacred and mundane stories. The present i s discussed in terms of three tensed modalities, that of a present of things past, a present of things present, and a present of things future. This i s because our sense of personal identity depends upon the continuity of experience through time. Our experience of past i s our memory of i t and our experience of future i s our projection into i t . Crites concludes from this that our sense of ourselves i s at every moment to some extent integrated into a single story. We can also at the same time focus on the present which i s the f u l l experience of the current moment. In summary, the narrative quality of experience has three parallel dimensions. The sacred story, the mundane story, and the temporal form of experience, each dimension influencing one another. Crites brings to our attention a special phenomenon, that of the intense moment when the sacred, mundane and personal experience are inseparably united. He describes this as a burst of light l i k e a comet entering our atmosphere. This phenomenon i s a simile of the thesis which I am investigating, that of the experience of reading a potent novel and the change i t produces in the reader. Something conscious, yet unconscious; general to l i f e , yet specific to self; and temporal, yet timeless happens within the reader. It i s blinding and then - 11 -illuminating. Perhaps i t i s an internal explosion within the person which results in the restructuring of the person's l i f e thereafter. Crites c a l l s this conversion. It i s a second awakening of consciousness. He states that the person's style must change. He must change steps, must dance to a new rhythm. Not only his past and future, but the very cosmos in which he lives i s strung i n a new way. The goal of the realization of a sacred story i s to enable a coherence of social and personal time. It makes i t possible to recover a l i v i n g past, to believe again i n the future, to perform acts that are meaningful for the person who acts. By doing so i t restores a human form of experience. Basic Assumptions 1. Experience i s i t s e l f an incipient story. 2. There are sacred stories and mundane stories. Sacred stories are causal to l i f e and unconscious, while mundane stories are conscious and articulate one's sense of l i f e . 3. Our personal identity depends on the continuity of experience through time. This becomes "our story". 4. The narrative quality of experience has three parallel dimensions. The sacred story, the mundane story and the temporal form of experience. 5. When the three dimensions coincide and unite, a person experiences a second awakening of consciousness called conversion. 6. This produces an experience in which the person i s able to l i v e with more meaning in l i f e . - 12 -Related Research Study . The study by Colaizzi (1978) i s the most relevant research to this investigation. I w i l l review Colaizzi's study in depth in order to familiarize the reader with the model of investigation that this study i s predicated on. Colaizzi (1978) studied a phenomenon which he called reading-change structure. He did a phenomenological investigation of existential change due to reading. In keeping with the phenomenological approach, the study began by f i r s t making e x p l i c i t presuppositions about the topic of reading-change structure. The goal was to discover certain beliefs, hypotheses, attitudes and hunches concerning i t . Colaizzi then stated what his presuppositions were. Next, pil o t co-researchers were interviewed about their experiences of reading books that deeply affected them. As a result of integrating his presuppositional statements and the p i l o t co-researchers' responses, Colaizzi generated research questions (see Appendix A). Using the research questions, Colaizzi obtained his descriptions by means of written reports from 12 people who had experienced existential change due to reading. After collecting the co-researcher's descriptive responses, the data were analyzed phenomenologically by means of a protocol analysis. The steps involved in the protocol analysis are as follows. F i r s t , a l l the co-researcher's descriptions, or as they are conventionally termed, protocols, were read i n order to acquire a feeling for them. Next, each protocol had significant statements extracted from i t . Repetitions were eliminated. Following this, meanings were formulated - 13 -from the significant statements. This involved creative insight in which Colaizzi leapt from what the co-researchers said to what they meant. The goal was to do this and s t i l l remain true to the data. This was repeated for each protocol. Then, the meanings were organized into clusters of themes. In order to ensure that the clusters of themes remained true to the data, they were referred back to the original protocols (descriptions) in order to validate them. At this point Colaizzi states that discrepancies noted among and/or between the various clusters were accepted on the conviction that what i s log i c a l l y inexplicable may be existentially real and valid. Next, the results of everything to this point were integrated into an exhaustive description of the investigated topic. The exhaustive description defined, i s that i t i s a complete and accurate written reflection of the experience of the co-researchers' reading experience, based on the previous protocol analysis. Next, Colaizzi presented a condensed description i n order to succinctly state the fundamental structure of the experience. A f i n a l validating step was to take the exhaustive description to each co-researcher in order to validate i t for accuracy or any omissions. Any relevant new data were then worked into the f i n a l results. Colaizzi found several ways i n which people were able to gain more meaning and were changed by the reading experience. It was found that i t was not a new world that i s created by the reading, but rather a new aspect of one's own world i s newly demonstrated as livable. The already known becomes seen in a new l i g h t . This may be likened to the releasing of one's actualization tendencies as discussed by Maslow. The person i s - 14 -somehow freed and able to recognize a more imaginative se l f . New l i f e modalities are provided by imagination. One's normal physical and temporal bonds become significantly loosened. Actual past things or fantasized new things a l l can be vividly present imaginatively. This i s very consistent with and similar to both the views of Crites and May as discussed. There i s also the recognition that every single moment can reveal the inexhaustible richness of l i f e and existence. The meaning in the book also points back toward oneself. Each and every of the world-thing illuminations, illuminate oneself also. There i s a recognition of the constantly emerging meanings of the book. The book seems to be a dynamic process of creating, signifying a sort of i n f i n i t y of meaning. There i s a questioning of and struggling with ideas, attitudes, feelings, expectations, etc. which i s powerful and compelling. Eventually, the person feels that the author has established some truth. The meaning of the book can be extended through discussion with others. The content of the book can be highlighted as well as oneself as the interpreter of the book by means of conversation. In summary, Colaizzi (1978) believes that we have access to the experience of such men as Christ, Blake and Freud through books. Literature serves as the intermediary for encountering and expanding ourselves. We should neither side step books, nor become entangled in them, but rather pass through and beyond them. Summary of Assumptions In the presentation of the ideas of Frankl, Maslow, May, Crites and Colaizzi, many concepts which are interconnected with and crucial to one - 15 -another have been presented. I am sympathetic-with the ideas presented. They make explicit my own assumptions concerning the nature of the experience to be investigated. These ideas form the meaning of l i f e both temporally and l i f e eternally. To summarize, my view is closely aligned with Frankl's in that I think that we have inversed the true importance of l i f e ; that of l i f e as a grand whole, rather than each of our fragmented lives holding the ultimate experience. Dickens in A Tale  of Two Cities speaks of Sydney Carton identifying with an eddy that turned and turned purposelessly until the stream absorbed i t , and carried i t on to the sea. Both Frankl and Maslow reflect my view of man's nature and task of l i f e . It involves the evolution of one's own l i f e , and paradoxically, a concern for the evolution of a l l eternal l i f e . Man has both his own l i f e and eternal l i f e to contend with simultaneously. As May suggests, this must be faced with commitment and courage. Both May and Colaizzi directly address my viewpoint concerning literature in the lives of people. The experience of reading literature is the mirror and thus the reflection of life's meaning. It is the legacy of universal l i f e metaphorically portrayed in print. The concepts of fate, truth, love, courage and infinity for example, are a l l vitally and powerfully addressed in novels written by such authors as Hugo, Dickens, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. The universal legacy is the continuing struggle for, search for and ultimate commitment to the realization of truth and experiences of the paradoxes of l i f e . Paradoxically, eternal truth can be experienced in every right action. - 16 -The p a r a d o x e s o f l i f e a r e t h e e x p e r i e n c e s o f b o t h s e l f and n o n - s e l f , t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f f i n i t u d e and i n f i n i t u d e and t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f God i n s e l f and God beyond s e l f i n t h e f o r m o f a l l b e i n g . The p u r p o s e o f l i t e r a t u r e i s n o t t o h i d e i n b o o k s , bu t r a t h e r t o e x p e r i e n c e l i f e and i t s p a r a d o x e s more f u l l y b e cau se o f b o o k s . We have much t o l e a r n f r o m t h e s t r u g g l e s o f o t h e r s t o g a i n a k e e n a w a r e n e s s o f human m o t i v a t i o n and t h e c o m p l e x i t i e s o f l i f e ' s demands t o f o r m an u l t i m a t e commitment t o a f u l l e r e x p e r i e n c e o f l i f e . To s u m m a r i z e , t h e n a t u r e o f t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f r e a d i n g a p o w e r f u l n o v e l , b a sed on my own e x p e r i e n c e , i s t h a t t h e book i s n o t s e e n a s a f a n t a s y o r an e s c a p e , b u t r a t h e r a r e a l i t y o f l i f e r e a c h i n g o u t , i n v i t i n g , and c o m p e l l i n g one t o f u l l y e x p e r i e n c e and i n t e g r a t e what i s b e i n g s t a t e d . The r e a d e r p a r a d o x i c a l l y l e t s go o f h i m s e l f , w h i l e s i m u l t a n e o u s l y e x p e r i e n c i n g h i m s e l f more f u l l y t h a n e v e r . The m e a n i n g o f t h e book i s v e r y c l e a r , a s w e l l a s how i t r e l a t e s t o o n e s e l f i s v e r y c l e a r . The r e a d e r i s e n r i c h e d c o n c e r n i n g t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f a l l l i f e . The r e a d i n g e x p e r i e n c e c h a n g e s t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g , t h i n k i n g , f e e l i n g and a c t i n g o f t h e r e a d e r . The e x p e r i e n c e i s v e r y e m o t i o n a l and y e t v e r y i n s i g h t f u l a t t h e same t i m e . The e x p e r i e n c e p e r m a n e n t l y r e s t r u c t u r e s t h e r e a d e r , l i k e n i n g i t t o t h e b l i n d i n g and t h e n i l l u m i n a t i n g e x p l o s i o n o f a w a r e n e s s t h a t was s poken o f e a r l i e r . I have now p r e s e n t e d a r e v i e w w h i c h ha s drawn o u t a s s u m p t i o n s a b o u t t h e n a t u r e o f t h e e x p e r i e n c e t h a t was i n v e s t i g a t e d . I have a l s o p r e s e n t e d C o l a i z z i ' s s t u d y f r o m w h i c h my s t u d y was m o d e l l e d . I have made e x p l i c i t my p r e s u p p o s i t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g t h e e x p e r i e n c e unde r - 17 -investigation in order to r i d myself of my biases. My presuppositions are an integration of the ideas of the authors presented and my own viewpoint. There i s much similarity of opinion. The major differences are my emphasis of the paradoxical nature of l i f e and on the universal experience of man. To conclude my review, I w i l l now present a description of my own powerful reading experience. As stated, this was the motivation and inspiration behind my study of the phenomenological investigation of a powerful reading experience. My Experience I chose to read A Tale of Two Cities because I was told that the essence of the central theme revolved around the idea of acting for the good of others as one's main motive. I was interested in reading about this topic, so I read the book as i t was highly recommended to me. I had no idea that this book was to be so crucial and far-reaching in i t s effect on me. I was total l y surprised by i t s impact. I was at a point i n my l i f e where I was very aware of wanting to be honest, committed and courageous concerning my values and the way I wanted to l i v e my l i f e . I despised my weakness when I at times compromised or I doubted my belief and commitment to what I sensed as truth, or desperately hoped to be true. I was unsure of and unclear of exactly how to l i v e this truth. I also thought and feared that I was being told by others that what I wanted in l i f e did not exist and that I was i d e a l i s t i c i n my search and I would never attain my ideals because they were unattainable and fantastical. I f e l t caught and frustrated - 18 -knowing that I could not l i v e in ray present denial of and cowardice regarding what I really wanted in ray l i f e , and yet I feared there was no way to actualize my strong sense of and need for l i v i n g a meaningful l i f e . In my reading of A Tale of Two Citi e s , this struggle and search was hit head on with a world of wisdom and truth, and this blew the trap I f e l t I was i n wide open with a profound explosion of experience. After reading the f i r s t few pages of the book, I was fascinated and compelled. The beauty, dignity, humanity and truth conveyed to me l e f t me incredulous, overwhelmed, delighted and f u l f i l l e d . I was at different times stunned with feelings of humility, s p i r i t u a l i t y and realization. Even one metaphor, or one sentence spoke of an i n f i n i t e amount of wisdom to me. I f e l t , at least for a time, that I understood everything about myself and a l l l i f e at several points in the book. I remember constantly switching back and forth to how this wisdom applied to me and how i t also applied to the rest of l i f e . I was aware of the paradoxical quality of meaning by means of my reading. I also f e l t strongly my universal connection and eternal connection to l i f e . This book was set at the time of the French Revolution and yet I was identifying so perfectly and absolutely with i t s characters and the truth of which the book spoke. I f e l t eternally in touch with universal human nature and truth. This book also spoke loudly to me about fate, destiny and God. Many of the metaphors and passages became part of my. being and allowed me to feel my connection and part in i n f i n i t e l i f e . I was again paradoxically aware, but this time of the meaning of l i f e beyond myself and a wisdom and perfection much greater than myself, and - 19 -yet the meaning in my sensitivity to truth in l i f e and my part i n l i v i n g my own l i f e truthfully. I think that many of the feelings and thoughts that I had unconsciously or preconsciously experienced became vividly and powerfully clear to me as real, true and viable. I knew that what I had sensed and hoped was true was being written as truth, and more clearly than I had been able to consciously conceptualize. This had an incredible strengthening and inspiring effect on me. Throughout my reading of the book, I could not stop thinking about what i t was saying to me. Everything I did i n my i i f e at that time was somehow influenced by, or experienced from the perspective of the book. I constantly compared and tried to integrate my reading of the book with my l i f e experience. The connections and perfection of correspondence amazed me. I talked about the book during my reading of i t and after my reading of i t constantly to friends. To this day, I often discuss the wisdom i n the book. The ending of the book had a particularly incredible effect on me. Reading the book had been powerful, revealing, beautiful and phenomenal in the many ways that I have stated. The end of the book not only intensified those feelings sharply, but i t also shocked me so deeply and exploded in me so expansively that I s t i l l marvel at that experience. I was so emotionally overwhelmed at f i r s t . I f e l t a l l my cowardly defenses torn away by the truth, perfection, dignity and beauty before me. I f e l t both stripped naked and t e r r i f i e d for a time. I cried uncontrollably because I f e l t so much. I was forced to face some very beautiful feelings and some very terrifying feelings simultaneously. - 20 -Time was at that moment past, present and future for me. I l i v e d my own past, present and future i n those moments. I remember being shocked at the depth of my own f e e l i n g s . I was struggling with the serious implications and meaning i n Sydney Carton, a powerful character i n the book, choosing to die for his love of a woman. He was f i n d i n g eternal meaning i n the squandered l i f e he had l i v e d . His i n t e g r i t y and courage i n doing the absolute r i g h t act, which was to choose to die, t e r r i f i e d me, but also struck me so hard with t r u t h , perfection and Tightness. I f e l t so small and s e l f i s h next to him. His act pierced my being so cleanly and thoroughly. It so powerfully spoke to me about the meaning I wanted i n my own l i f e and my own death. I f e l t pinned against a hard, cold wall of absolute t r u t h . His character demanded and challenged me to do what was r i g h t under a l l circumstances, no matter how t r y i n g they be. Carton faced t r u t h and God and he died with peace i n his heart and soul. I wanted to l i v e and die with the certainty and peace that are i m p l i c i t i n t r u t h f u l acts. I then f e l t a demand, a, desire and a glowing knowledge come to me that I would s t r i v e for absolute t r u t h and that I had to l i v e my l i f e with commitment to t r u t h , d i g n i t y , s p i r i t u a l i t y and courage. I knew something profound had happened within me. I was both fascinated and i n awe of the r e a l i z a t i o n that I had had no control over t h i s powerful experience. I f e l t stronger, more knowledgeable, i n s p i r e d , humble and more r e a l . I knew that l i f e had meaning and I had meaning as part of l i f e . . I also knew that there was a wisdom and meaning beyond human - 21 -l i f e . This did not diminish my own existence, but demanded everything of me and yet offered everything to me. After the intense emotion, I f e l t an intense realization and commitment to l i v e i n my own l i f e the vast wisdom and experience gained from the book. I knew that what I had doubted as real, was actually real and i t was up to me to be sensitive, courageous and willing to l i v e this truth. Reading A Tale of Two Cities has been an important contribution to my search for understanding and to a f u l l e r experience of l i f e . - 22 -CHAPTER III METHOD Co-researchers Seven people were interviewed. The co-researchers were acquired by personal contact. Five of the co-researchers were colleagues, and the other two were family members. They were chosen on the basis that they had experienced the powerful reading phenomenon. The c r i t e r i a for an acceptable interview were f i r s t to be personally effected by the reading, experience; then the reader must have been changed by the power of the experience of reading the book. Another criterion was that there was sufficient time lapse, or distance from the experience. This i s necessary because i t enables the person to integrate and make sense out of the experience. If there i s not enough time lapse or distance, then articulation of the experience i n a clear manner i s impossible. The last criterion was the a b i l i t y to articulate the description of the experience i n sufficient d e t a i l . In order to study the experience i n depth, i t must be described in enough d e t a i l . Two of the interviews were excluded because they did not meet the c r i t e r i a of this study. One of the co-researchers had_ not had sufficient time to understand and thus articulate the experience. This person had only finished reading the book a few days before the interview and was s t i l l trying to sort out i t s effect. The interview was marked by co-researcher's confusion. Another co-researcher was off the topic of this study. This person had not been personally effected by the book, but rather was i n admiration of i t s l i t e r a r y and academic prowess. Therefore, the interview was not - 23 -included. The other five co-researchers met the c r i t e r i a of this study very well. Phenomenological Interview The co-researchers were interviewed and the interviews were taperecorded. A transcript of each interview was typed. The interview questions were those used by Colaizzi and a set of questions written by myself to further investigate my own assumptions (see Appendix A and B). In the interview care was taken to be attentive to the co-researchers' manner of speech, gestures, and nuances. This i s imaginative listening, which i s a process of being present to the t o t a l i t y of the person by being total l y present oneself. This information i s added to the actual transcript data. The co-researchers were open and honest concerning their experience, after the i n i t i a l tension in the beginning of the interview. They took the interview seriously and involved themselves in the interview speaking powerfully and freely. They stated that they had enjoyed the interview. Validation of Structure After the completion of the protocol analysis, the exhaustive description of the universal structure of the powerful reading experience was taken to the co-researchers for validation of accuracy and possible additions. The co-researchers were told that the exhaustive description of their experience was aimed at reflecting their exact experience of reading the powerful novel. They were told that the goal was to articulate their experience as perfectly as possible. They were then asked to read the description in f u l l with this aim i n mind. - 24 -Afterward, they were asked to make any changes, additions or any comments at a l l . The co-researchers were very interested and helpful in this interview. Notes were taken on what they said and the appropriate changes incorporated in the f i n a l universal description of experience. Procedure The co-researchers were i n i t i a l l y contacted by letter, which was followed by a phone c a l l within one week. The interviews were arranged at the co-researchers' convenience. This was either in their own home or o f f i c e . Both verbally and by means of written consent, the co-researchers were made aware that they would be asked to describe i n detail their powerful reading experience. This involved asking two sets of interview questions. One set was that used by Colaizzi and the other set was created by myself to further investigate my own assumptions concerning the reading experience (see Appendix A and B). The interviewer restricted the responses mostly to reflection of the co-researchers' statements and feelings, i n order to get a detailed description. The interviewer was aware of the whole person both verbally and non-verbally. The time period of the interviews was between 45 minutes and one hour. The interviews were taperecorded and then transcribed. The analysis of the data was done by means of a protocol analysis. The f i n a l description of the experience was taken to co-researchers for validation of experience. Any necessary changes were made. - 25 -Analysis of Protocols The data i n the form of typed transcripts were analyzed phenomenologically. This involved a protocol analysis using the steps that Colaizzi used. F i r s t , the protocols were read in order to acquire a general feeling and sense of them. Then, significant statements were extracted eliminating any repetitions. Statements were considered to be significant on the basis that they were directly related to the reading experience and i t s effect on the co-researcher. A table was then formulated composed of such statements (see Table 1 ) . Next, meanings were formulated from these statements. This involved a process of creative insight in which a leap from what the co-researchers said to what they meant was made. The intent here was to go beyond what was given in the original data and at the same time, stay true to the data. This process was repeated for each protocol. Next, the meanings for each of the protocols were then organized and formulated into clusters of themes. Again, this involved a leap that must stay true to the data. A way to achieve this was to refer the clusters of themes back to the original protocols in order to validate them. At this point, ; I discrepancies were noted among and/or between the various clusters, but ambiguity was accepted as the data must remain true. Colaizzi suggests that this procedure i s based on the solid conviction that what i s logi c a l l y inexplicable may be existentially real and valid. This i s consistent with the paradoxical perspective that has been presented. After the cluster of themes had been formed, a table was created (see results Chapter IV). Following this, an exhaustive description was then - 26 -written on the basis of the themes in an attempt to capture the flow and feeling of the experience. The exhaustive description was then condensed to as clear and as true a statement of identification of i t s fundamental structure as possible (see results Chapter IV). The f i n a l validating step, as discussed, was to return to each co-researcher the findings so far. As stated, they were asked to compare the description with their own experience and asked for any possible omissions. Any new data were incorporated into the f i n a l research results (see Chapter IV). - 27 -CHAPTER IV RESULTS The original protocols are presented in Appendix C. The under-lining in each of the protocols i s representative of statements that are considered significant concerning the powerful reading experience. Table 1 was generated from the significant statements of each protocol that were common to a l l of the protocols. The common significant statements were then given a theme label. For example, number one i s labelled hope. Each of the co-researchers in their own way, had spoken of the hope that they had f e l t after reading their novel. The significant statements in Table 1 show the actual sentences that repre-sented hope for each co-researcher. Another example i s that of number 21 which reflects the theme of inspiration and striving. Insert Table 1 about here SEE LEAVES 55-64. The themes from Table 1 were then organized such that they repre-sented the flow of the powerful reading experience i n both an ordered and interconnected/interdependent fashion. For example, the reader must f i r s t be ready in order to experience the involvement that the novel can offer him/her. Or, one must be validated before one feels affirmed and thus released from one's previous doubts. Care was taken to organize the themes such that they reflected the cumulative interdependence implicit in the experience. For example, i t i s important to reflect the - 28 -deepening of the intensity of experience in order to make clear the change that results within the reader. Following is' the organized l i s t of the clusters of themes. Clusters of Themes 1. stuck confused doubting 2. searching struggling ready 3. enthusiasm excitement incredulity involvement 4. identification with characters and experience realness of characters and experience of l i f e validation of experience, feelings and thought struggle with qualities revealed and learning questioning 5. worlds fitting/meshing recognition of matching truths affirmation release j u s t i f i c a t i o n hope 6. humility eternity s p i r i t u a l i t y universality inspiration courage freedom 7. growth maturity new perspective insight integration of ideas change i n thinking, feeling and acting strive for more, ideals feel more part of l i f e - 29 -The exhaustive description of the universal structure of the phenomenological nature of a powerful reading experience was written on the basis of the above organized clusters of themes. The exhaustive description to follow i s the attempt to depict the universal structure of the reader's experience based on the protocol analysis as discussed. Exhaustive Universal Structure The person i s experiencing doubt of one's own inner feelings and the vali d i t y of those feelings. There has been nothing or very l i t t l e previously in one's l i f e experience"to encourage or consolidate those feelings. This results in a sense of being stuck or trapped. The person i s aware of a lack of satisfaction and an incompleteness which prevents one from feeling that one i s l i v i n g as f u l l y as one aspires to regarding one's values and vision of truth i n l i f e . The person has a strong desire, but as yet the realness of one's existence and the meaning of one's l i f e i s not clear enough such that one can l i v e with commitment and be both guided and propelled only by one's own vision. The person i s both struggling and searching for the correct and f u l f i l l i n g way to l i v e l i f e . One has a strong desire to be free of doubt and confusion and to feel the truth, realness and meaning of one's existence. Therefore, the reader i s predisposed, i n a state of hungry readiness to l i v e one's vision and to be effected by the wisdom contained within the book. The reading of the powerful story i s l i k e a missing piece of a puzzle. The reading contributes something very necessary to the - 30 -person's search for understanding. The person experiences intense involvement while reading the book. It i s the prime focus of consciousness at that time. One feels an added c l a r i t y and substance of the vision which was previously dimmer fluctuating glimpses. Feelings of enthusiasm, excitement and incredulity at the br i l l i a n c e of the wisdom in the book are experienced by the reader as the vision of how to l i v e l i f e more meaningfully becomes brighter, stronger, clearer and more consistent. The reader identifies with the characters and experience of l i f e in the book. The characters and the l i f e in the book are experienced as real and lived by the reader and they validate the person's experience, feelings and thoughts exactly. What was previously doubted i s now consolidated, encouraged and confirmed. The person feels stronger as the truth of the vision i s validated, and with added understanding one feels a deepening of commitment to one's vision. The strength of vision and the commitment to the vision are however, challenged and tested by questioning which i s brought on by the reading. Qualities that are being revealed to the person about himself/herself by the book cause the reader to question himself/herself as well as question the ideas presented in the book. This i s experienced as d i f f i c u l t at times but most necessary and ultimately worthwhile. Paradoxically, the questioning has strengthened and encouraged growth in the reader. The person's commitment to his/her vision deepens further s t i l l and the understanding of l i f e becomes s t i l l more vivid as the person feels that the world portrayed in the book agrees perfectly with his/her own - 31 -experience. This i s a recognition of matching truths. The- power and excellence of the author's writing opens the person to the realization of the matching. The author's vision both matches the reader's vision and helps to expand and c l a r i f y the reader's vision. The person's inner experience of truth matches the truth presented in the book absolutely. Through this matching of truths, one i s released from previous doubts. One feels hopeful that one w i l l l i v e the truth of one's vision and find this vision affirmed in l i f e as i t has been affirmed in the book. One feels j u s t i f i e d to continue pursuing the vision of truth in l i f e which one had once f e l t was threatened or i l l u s o r y . The match allows the person to feel stronger, and encouraged to continue with the pursuit of his/her vision. The knowledge gained from the matching visions and the identification with the characters and l i f e experience in the book leads the reader to feel the deepening of his/her understanding of truth and vision with one's own l i f e and the understanding of truth and vision in other l i f e . The reader experiences feelings of humility, eternity, s p i r i t u a l i t y and universality from these understandings. The person feels the universal connectiop with a l l l i f e , knowing that one i s part of the eternal; that one i s sharing l i f e i n a non-temporal and i n f i n i t e way. The experience of identifying with the characters and l i f e experience in the book allows one to feel that others have, at different times and places, experienced exactly what one i s profoundly and absolutely experiencing now. With this knowledge one simultaneously becomes aware of the i n f i n i t e , feeling that l i f e i s vast and boundless. - 32 -Humility, the feeling that one i s a small part of the miracle of eternal l i f e , i s also experienced. Paradoxically, the self i s experienced as more real and meaningful while the i n f i n i t y of universal truth and eternal truth are also experienced as real and absolute. The experience of eternity, universality and i n f i n i t y lead to feelings of inspiration, courage and freedom. The person i s energized, encouraged, inspired and freed to continue to pursue one's ideals, truth and the realness of one's l i f e experience and one's meaning because of the connection to grand l i f e and i t s meaning. The hunger and desire for l i f e within the person has merged with the wisdom in the book to produce the fr u i t i o n of growth and change. The person has merged with and integrated himself/herself with the book. There i s a change in the thinking, feeling and acting of the person. The person i s aware of a new perspective. The feelings of doubt are resolved and one i s more able to pursue the truth of one's vision of l i f e . Many insights and extensions of thought have allowed the person to mature and grow, to become firmly rooted in commitment to one's vision, strong with truth, t a l l with s p i r i t u a l i t y and vibrant with the feeling of eternal, universal l i f e . One's own meaning of l i f e i s also more vivid, substantial and real . The person i s inspired to strive for more, to l i v e one's l i f e more f u l l y and to be more sensitive to other l i f e beyond oneself. In doing so, one feels both more a part of l i f e and a greater sense of s p i r i t u a l i t y . - 33 -Presented next, i s the condensed description which i s based on the exhaustive description and which attempts to reflect the fundamental structure of the powerful reading experience as succinctly as possible. Condensed Universal Structure The person i s experiencing doubt of one's own inner feelings and the validity of those feelings. The person has a strong desire, but as yet the realness of one's existence and the meaning of one's l i f e i s not clear enough such that one can l i v e with commitment and be both guided and propelled only by one's own vision. The person i s both struggling and searching for the correct and f u l f i l l i n g way to l i v e . Therefore, the reader i s predisposed, in a state of hungry readiness to l i v e one's vision and to be effected by the wisdom contained within the book. The reading contributes something very necessary to the person's search for understanding. The person experiences intense involvement while reading the book. Feelings of enthusiasm, excitement and incredulity at the br i l l i a n c e of the wisdom in the book are experienced by the reader as the vision of how to l i v e l i f e more meaningfully becomes brighter, stronger, clearer and more consistent. The reader both identifies with the characters and experience of l i f e in the book and lives them as real. This validates the person's experience, feelings and thoughts and allows the person to feel stronger and a deepening of commitment to one's vision. - 34 -The strength of vision and the commitment to the vision are challenged and tested by questioning of qualities that are being revealed to the person about himself/herself as well as questioning of the ideas presented in the book. This i s experienced as d i f f i c u l t at times but necessary and worthwhile. The person's inner experience of truth matches the truth presented in the book absolutely. One feels hopeful that one w i l l l i v e the truth of one's vision and find this vision affirmed in l i f e as i t has been affirmed in the book. The reader experiences feelings of humility, eternity, s p i r i t u a l i t y and universality. The experience of identifying with the characters and l i f e experience i n the book allows one to feel that others have experienced exactly what i s profoundly and absolutely experiencing now. One feels one i s sharing l i f e i n a non-temporal and i n f i n i t e way and this leads to feelings of humility. The person i s energized, encouraged, inspired and freed to continue to pursue one's ideals, truth and realness of one's l i f e experience and one's l i f e meaning because of the connection to grand l i f e and i t s meaning. | The hunger and desire for l i f e within the person has merged with the wisdom i n the book to produce the f r u i t i o n of growth and.change i n the thinking, feeling and acting of the person. Many extensions of thought and insights have allowed the person to mature and grow; to become firmly rooted in commitment to. one's vision, strong with truth, t a l l with s p i r i t u a l i t y and vibrant with the feeling of eternal, universal l i f e . The person i s inspired to strive for more, to l i v e - 35 -one's l i f e more f u l l y and to be more s e n s i t i v e to other l i f e beyond o n e s e l f . In doing so, one a l s o f e e l s more s u b s t a n t i a l and r e a l . Summary of R e s u l t s The r e s u l t s have been presented i n f u l l . To summarize, I w i l l h i g h l i g h t some s a l i e n t p o i n t s which strengthen the u n i v e r s a l q u a l i t y of the d e s c r i p t i o n . An important p o i n t i s t h a t the exhaustive d e s c r i p t i o n when returned to the co-researchers met w i t h very l i t t l e a l t e r a t i o n . A l l of the co-researchers wanted one statement d e l e t e d . T h i s was a s p e c i f i c r e f e r e n c e to God. The l i n e read "With t h i s knowledge one simu l t a n e o u s l y becomes aware of God, the designer behind the vast d e s i g n . " T h i s i s a powerful statement of the u n i v e r s a l s t r u c t u r e . because each of the co-researchers independent of the othe r s chose the exact same statement as not f i t t i n g i n t o t h e i r experience. The co-re s e a r c h e r s s t a t e d t h a t they objected to the s p e c i f i c r e f e r e n c e to God because i t connoted a figurehead of God worship. They a l s o found the sentence to be a mechanistic and r i g i d c o n n o tation of God. They s t a t e d t h a t t h e i r experience was a s p i r i t u a l experience and not a God worship experience. Other than t h i s unanimous change, one co-researcher suggested the a d d i t i o n concerning the power of the w r i t e r and h i s / h e r c o n t r i b u t i o n to the v i s i o n of l i f e and one's own v i s i o n . When I r e f e r r e d back t o the p r o t o c o l s , i t was c l e a r t h a t t h i s p o i n t had been overlooked. I t was i n c o r p o r a t e d i n the f i n a l r e s u l t s . The other a l t e r a t i o n suggested was t o change only one other phrase. The pervading r e a c t i o n of the co-rese a r c h e r s t o the exhaustive d e s c r i p t i o n was th a t i t - 36 -was very accurate and complete. This reinforces the consistency and the universality of the experience of reading a powerful novel. A further reinforcement of the consistency between co-researchers' experience and thus the universal structure of the powerful reading experience i s the lack of variance between the protocols. Table 1 clearly shows that each theme i s represented by significant statements from each protocol. There was no d i f f i c u l t y in finding significant statements to represent each theme for each protocol. For example, each co-researcher experienced the recognition of matching truths. Each person was reading a different book and experiencing different phenomena in one's own l i f e but through their book, each person experienced a matching of one's own truth to that of the truth in the book. The recognition of matching truths then led each of the co-researchers on to similar feelings, which were experienced in different, yet individual ways. For example, feelings of release and freedom. Table 1 provides concrete examples in the form of significant statements that refl e c t an experience that i s exactly common to a l l of the co-researchers, yet s t i l l experienced i n unique and individual ways. Following directly from the statement above, i s the last important point. This i s the paradoxical nature of these findings. The nature of the powerful reading experience i s a paradoxically complex phenomenon. It i s constituted by interconnections and interdependencies of components, yet there i s also an uniqueness to the experience. In other words, the individual threads of experience of each person i s woven together to create a common tapestry of experience. The co-researchers' - 37 -individual experience i s like the threads, while the universal structure i s l i k e the tapestry. For example, this can be related back to each co-researcher's individual experience before reading the powerful novel. Each person was searching for understanding in one's l i f e , but this search was manifested in different l i f e experiences. Thus, the search was the same, yet different. The sameness was in the search for understanding, while the difference was each person's l i f e situation surrounding the search. For example, one co-researcher was experiencing a marriage break-up, another a readjustment after finishing school and moving back home, and a third co-researcher was involved in a search for philosophical, s p i r i t u a l realization of l i f e . Thus, each person was at an individual, specific point in one's own l i f e before one read the book, but each was s t i l l searching. Another example i s the experience of growth and maturity i n which each co-researcher spoke of being influenced to grow, or feeling that one had grown and matured from the reading experience. Each person was spurred on to change one's l i f e which i s a common experience, yet each person acts somewhat differently in one's own unique l i f e and thus the changes brought about are enacted differently by each person. One i s able to experience something very specific and individual, yet simultaneously experience something exactly the same and common to .others in l i f e . The complex interdependence and connectedness of the experience can be exemplified by further discussing the theme of change. The co-researchers experienced common feelings which led to the common desire - 38 -to change, which was i n an unique way. Each co-researcher was i n s p i r e d to change. Again, the i n s p i r a t i o n i s common to a l l , but the source of i n s p i r a t i o n and the outcome of the i n s p i r a t i o n are somewhat d i f f e r e n t . The one theme of change i s i n v o l v e d w i t h and connected to d i f f e r e n t aspects of the experience. For example, change only can occur when other f e e l i n g s are experienced f i r s t . Change i s dependent on the f e e l i n g s of i n s p i r a t i o n and freedom. Change i s a l s o an i n d i v i d u a l experience as w e l l as a common experience. Change i s a l s o experienced i n the dimensions of t h i n k i n g , f e e l i n g and a c t i n g . Therefore, one theme such as change i s complex and does hot stand d i s c r e t e l y on i t s own. In summary, the u n i v e r s a l exhaustive d e s c r i p t i o n when viewed from a d i s t a n c e i s l i k e a t i g h t l y woven t a p e s t r y of experience. The threads are i n t e r l a c e d i n a complex, i n t e r c o n n e c t e d , interdependent f a s h i o n . However, p a r a d o x i c a l l y when s t u d i e d c l o s e l y , one can a l s o see the i n d i v i d u a l , m u l t i c o l o r e d , m u l t i t e x t u r e d threads t h a t are so necessary to g i v e l i f e to the whole. - 39 -CHAPTER V DISCUSSION The investigation of the phenomenological experience of reading a powerful novel has produced an universal structure with several powerful implications. This experience i s the same for each individual, yet i t i s experienced in an unique way. The paradoxical nature of this experience i s an important consideration, as discussed in the results chapter. Each individual has an experience that can be exactly described and validated by others, yet one can experience one's own uniqueness more clearly and vividly from this experience. The results clearly show that there i s an unanimous consensus between co-researchers regarding the nature of the powerful reading experience. Both the consistency in the protocol analysis and the validation by the co-researchers of the exhaustive description support th i s . There are no variations or blank spots in the tapestry of the experience. The results clearly show a complex, paradoxically interdependent, interconnected but universal experience for each of the co-researchers. The importance of the universality of the reading experience i s that i t i s exactly the same for each person who has experienced the powerful reading phenomenon. That i s , an unanimous consensus of description of the experience which i s common to each person. The value of stating these results of unanimous consensus as unequivocally as possible i s that i t allows other researchers to dialogue, check and - 40 -expand these results. This w i l l enable others to further increase the confidence in these findings. Theoretical Implications The theoretical implications of this study are extremely consistent with the review presented i n Chapter II. As suggested by Frankl, the co-researchers in this study were concerned with taking responsibility to find the right answers to l i f e ' s problems and f u l f i l l the tasks which l i f e had set out for them. Each co-researcher was searching and struggling for this Tightness and understanding of vision in one's l i f e . This also relates to Maslow's assertion that i f encouraged, positive inner nature can grow and prosper in the form of self-actualization. The powerful reading experience had a freeing and inspiring effect on the co-researchers which then encouraged them to strive for their ideals in l i f e . Frankl and May both discuss spiritualism in human l i f e and the powerful reading experience" as discussed contained a strong s p i r i t u a l quality of experience. The exhaustive description included i n f i n i t y , eternity and humility as part of the reading experience. Maslow discussed the concept of the universal person. Each co-researcher was in touch with the commonness of a l l human l i f e and identified with people and l i f e experiences of different times and places that were written of in the books. This added to the understanding and self-actualization tendencies, in that one learned about oneself through the experience of other l i v e s . - 41 -May's discussion of the desire to l i v e around self-chosen goals and values and the attainment of self-awareness i s reflected by the findings of this study. The co-researchers were much concerned with l i v i n g their vision of l i f e and l i v i n g by their own values. The reading experience served to validate their values and this encouraged and inspired them to strive to attain this i n l i f e . May also discussed the concept of eternity and truth both in people's lives and in reading literature. The co-researchers both personally and through their reading experienced the phenomena of eternity and the essence of truth. The reader was freed of the time dimension by reading. One was encouraged to pursue the truth i n one's own l i f e after the experience of recognition of matching truths from the reading. The co-researchers in this study experienced what May suggests i s the essence of humanness, as i f a profound depth had spoken to them on an universal plane as the voice of their own experience by means of the reading experience. This allowed the reader to experience greater l i f e and self more vividly and truthfully. The co-researchers experienced the phenomenon of conversion as suggested by Crites. They spoke of a new perspective or as Crites views this, a second awakening of consciousness, an explosion of awareness and understanding which was experienced by each of the readers. As suggested by Crites, this has allowed them to l i v e with more meaning in l i f e . The paradoxes of experience as discussed in this study are addressed by Crites. This was the feeling of consciousness yet unconsciousness, self yet other l i f e and temporalness yet timelessness - 42 -in their experience of reading which then led to the change in their thinking, feeling and acting. Each co-fesearcher spoke of these paradoxical experiences in the interview. The findings of this study are similar to those of Colaizzi, yet they add other dimensions. There i s a sameness regarding what Colaizzi found concerning the finding that the already known becomes seen in a new l i g h t . The parallel in this study i s the co-researcher's experience of c l a r i f i c a t i o n and strengthening of one's vision in l i f e by means of the reading experience. Colaizzi found that there was a freeing of the person to recognize a more imaginative self and this study found the same. Another similarity i s that Colaizzi speaks of the loosening of the physical and temporal bonds. This i s similar to the experience of eternity in this study. The concepts found by Colaizzi of the i n f i n i t y of meanings and the struggling with the ideas presented in the book are s t i l l other s i m i l a r i t i e s between this study and Colaiz z i . The major findings of this study which go beyond, or add to Colaizzi's study are the findings of universality and the complexity of interconnected, interdependent paradoxical nature of the experience of reading a powerful novel and l i v i n g l i f e . Colaizzi focuses only on the individual experience and the resultant implications apply only to the individual. His findings seem to be less connected and interdependent and void of the paradoxical quality of experience. The findings of this study in contrast to Colaizzi's both show the power of the individual experience but also equally the power of the individual experiencing the other. A central and crucial component of these findings i s that - 43 -paradoxically one cannot experience the self clearly without the experience of the other. One needs the characters and l i f e experience in the book to identify with and experience the universal quality of l i f e in order to more powerfully understand the se l f . Also missing i n Colaizzi's study i s the paradox of i n f i n i t y and finiteness. One's f i n i t e l i f e has meaning when paradoxically one i s aware of i n f i n i t e l i f e . The paradox of temporalness i s not highlighted s u f f i c i e n t l y by . Colaizz i . He does not mention clearly enough that one's l i f e i s experienced more meaningfully when the connection to eternal l i f e i s realized. When contrasted with the findings of this study, Colaizzi's description of the reading experience lacks a unified, flowing depth of experience. His findings are strung together i n a discrete and linear fashion. The findings of this study as discussed are of a deep, complex and interrelated nature. The findings of this study are lik e a gestalt, the whole i s much greater than the sum of i t s parts. A possible explanation for these differences in findings may be that Colaizzi obtained his information from his analysis of written j responses to his questions, while this study obtained information by means of the phenomenological interview. Also, this study was only concerned with f i c t i o n a l literature while Colaizzi studied non-fiction. Counselling Implications , The investigation of the phenomenological nature of reading a powerful novel has produced relevant-and convincing information - 44 -concerning both the specific individual experience as well as the commonness between individual experiences. This study clearly shows that the reading experience can be very powerful in an individual's l i f e , and that this i s directly connected to the commonness of the experience and validation from other sources, such as the novel. Central and crucial to one's own validation i s that others in l i f e have the same experience or feelings too. It i s important to consider these findings in application to Counselling. When integrating these results into Counselling practice, i t i s necessary to keep in mind the paradoxical balance between the individual's understanding of self and the understanding that one has of other l i f e . The goal of Counselling i s to enable one to l i v e one's l i f e effectively and f u l l y both individually and socially. I have concluded this on the basis of my review. In Counselling practice the under-standing of the paradoxes of l i f e should be incorporated. This i s achieved in Bibliotherapy by means of the discussion of the meaning of and implications of the feelings produced in the reader caused by identification with the l i f e and characters in the reading experience, and how they relate to the reader. This can involve such specific areas of focus such as attitude change concerning oneself or one's view of l i f e , a c l a r i f i c a t i o n of self-understanding and other l i f e under-standing, as well as problem-solving a c t i v i t i e s of how to l i v e more effectively in l i f e . The counsellor and the client can continue the process of awareness which was catalyzed by the powerful reading experience. i - 45 -Another powerful outcome regarding Counselling practice i s the cathartic or extremely emotional experience of reading a powerful novel. This may be discussed on varying levels of intensity. For example, the novel although a powerful medium, may i n i t i a l l y offer a somewhat safer point of reference because the client can focus on something other than the s e l f . The client may i n i t i a l l y t e l l the story of the novel without directly commenting on the implications for oneself i f he/she chooses to do so. This may be a valuable comfortable starting point of focus, and as the discussion develops, the counsellor can shift the focus of the meaning from the book directly to the client's own l i f e meaning and ways to l i v e effectively. The discussion can also provide an opportunity to define and c l a r i f y the client's needs, values and aspirations or goals in l i f e . Another consideration concerning the findings of this study i s that of which books to use in Bibliotherapy and Counselling. This study has been concerned with only literature i n the form of powerful stories or novels. The nature of the experience which has been revealed in this study i s not meant to be applied to the popularized Self-Help books or How-To books. The paradoxical and complex findings of this study cannot be assumed to be experienced in books other than literature or powerful stories. The new perspective and depth of understanding of self and other l i f e can most l i k e l y only be experienced through a powerful experience as presented in literature. A consideration for the counsellor i s the complexity of the experience for the c l i e n t . The counsellor must be aware of the power - 46 -and depth of the experience for the c l i e n t . This i s important con-cerning recommendations of books for the client to read as well as the discussion of the experience. F i r s t , concerning recommendations, the counsellor must be knowledgeable and sensitive concerning which books would be useful for which clients. The counsellor must be.sensitive to which issues the clients are struggling with and which books would most effectively address that struggle. Another consideration i s the readiness of the c l i e n t . The results of this study have indicated that the client must be ready for searching. Therefore, the timing i n the recommendation of the book i s important. The counsellor must be sensitive to the client's readiness i n order for the client to gain the most benefit from the experience. In this way, the book i s an aid to the counsellor, not the solution, or vehicle of responsibility. Second, in discussing the powerful nature of the experience, the counsellor must be aware that the experience may in some ways overwhelm the c l i e n t . The counsellor should be sensitive to the mixed emotions and even i n i t i a l confusion or fear of the c l i e n t . It i s important to discuss the fears, questions and struggles of the cl i e n t as part of the experience. The insights and attitude changes and problem-solving results from facing some of the more d i f f i c u l t aspects of the experience f i r s t . It i s important to thoroughly discuss the experience and i t s implications for the client and the client's functioning in l i f e . It may be necessary to reframe or c l a r i f y certain conclusions that the client has gotten from the reading experience. - 4 7 -The timing of the discussion of the reading experience i s important also. As mentioned, one interview was not acceptable for this study on the basis that the person was unable to clearly discuss the experience because the time period after reading the book was too small. The sample questions in Appendix D show clearly the co-researcher's confusion and i n a b i l i t y to articulate the experience (see Appendix D). This person's interview consisted of personal thoughts and feelings, not a description of the powerful reading experience i t s e l f . The clients may need varying amounts of time to come to terms with their experience, before discussion can take place. Again, the counsellor must be sensitive to the right time to discuss the experience. Different types of clients may benefit most from this experience. Verbal clients who themselves state an interest in reading may be potentially the most l i k e l y to gain the most from Bibliotherapy. As stated earlier, the articulation and desire to read are important factors. If appropriate, the counsellor may discuss attitudes or interest toward reading with a cl i e n t . It i s possible that clients who may think that they could not benefit from reading could actually gain valuable benefits. Or, i t i s possible that some clients are not aware of the potential gains from reading. The p o s s i b i l i t y of group.Bibliotherapy can be considered in addition to or in place of individual counselling. As stated, the experience i s an individual experience, but i t i s also experienced commonly by others. The validation of one's experience and feelings i s a key aspect, and this can be effectively highlighted by membership i n a - 48 -group. The group members could powerfully validate one's feelings on a more intense level because of the numbers of people with the same experience. The benefits of group membership such as greater generation of ideas for problem-solving as well as contribution from varying l i f e experiences may add to the benefits of Bibliotherapy in a group situation. This could be achieved with a focus on one book, or several books, depending on the goals of the group and the needs of the group members. For example, i f one specific book was discussed, then each person could contribute one's own experience and understanding of the book to other members. Or, i f discussion of the experience and applications to l i v i n g differently was the goal, then different books could be discussed at one time. Benefits could be derived from either approach because ultimately the end i s to l i v e more f u l l y and effectively from the experience and resultant consequences. Another possible outcome i s that one powerful reading experience may open the client to other experiences of the same kind. The co-researchers spoke of more than one book effecting them strongly when I f i r s t approached them about my study. They had to choose which experience to focus on. Possibly once one has had this powerful experience, i t may motivate one to search for more knowledge and experience of the same calibre. This way the client and the counsellor can work together to choose other books for discussion. In summary, the implications for Counselling application of the phenomenological nature of a powerful reading experience are both expansive and deep in scope. The client and the counsellor have much to - 49 -learn about concerning a better quality of l i f e and an understanding of the vast paradoxes of one's own l i f e and that of l i f e beyond oneself. This w i l l contribute to a personal evolution as well as evolution for mankind. Analogue to Counselling The powerful reading experience can be compared to counselling i t s e l f . Or more directly, a powerful reading experience can be viewed as an analogue to counselling. From this perspective, what does the reading experience offer as a model of counselling? The powerful reading experience was found to be a complex, paradoxically meaningful, interdependent and interconnected phenomenon. The counselling experience seems effective, powerful and constituted by very much the same tapestry of experience as woven by the powerful reading experience. In both cases, the reader and the client can be considered the antithesis of the Lady of Shalot. The Lady longed to be free of her confined, isolated state and to experience l i f e directly and v i t a l l y . Her weaving of a tapestry was a substitute for the river of l i f e . When the Lady l e f t her weaving, she forfeited her l i f e . In contrast, the tapestry of experience woven by both the powerful reading experience and the counselling experience i s directed at a f u l l e r , more real experience of l i f e as i t s outcome. As the tapestry of experience i s woven to achieve wholeness, the reader and the client become more real and more v i t a l i n l i v i n g l i f e . I n i t i a l l y , for the reading experience to hold any power or potentiality for growth and change, the person must f i r s t be searching, - 50 -and ready for the wisdom and vision offered by the book. The same readiness must also be in the client when the client i s in a counselling relationship. The cli e n t , l i k e the reader, must be ready and searching for ways to resolve the confusion, doubt and trap that he/she may feel he/she i s i n . The client and the counsellor as a consequence may discuss such questions as What i s the client searching and struggling for? What i s the vision of l i f e that the client has, or would like c l a r i f i e d ? What are the self-chosen values the client wants to l i v e by? What i s the trap the client feels he/she i s in? What i s the client confused about or doubting? and f i n a l l y , How does the client/mankind gain meaning in l i f e ? As happens with the book when the reader becomes involved and enthusiastic when a validation and sense of matching truth occurs, so does the client when he/she feels that a connection i s taking place in the counselling relationship. The counsellor i s able through discussion to validate the experience and thought of the cli e n t , as well as the writer who helps to match the truth of vision of the reader as well as expand this vision of truth for the client and to help c l a r i f y the vision for the cl i e n t . The counsellor c l a r i f i e s and expands the vision of truth in l i f e for the client while also matching the truth of vision for the cl i e n t . As happens with the reader, the client feels hopeful, inspired, affirmed and more courageous. \ The counsellor also helps the client to work through the s e l f -questioning and qualities that are being revealed to the client about oneself by means of involvement in the counselling relationship. As the - 51 -reader experiences, this i s often d i f f i c u l t , but ultimately worthwhile. The counselling relationship i s likened to the experience that the reader gains through the book from the characters and l i f e experience presented in the book. The counselling relationship focuses on both the l i f e experience of the client and the dynamics of the counselling relationship. While the reader integrates what i s learned from the book to oneself and one's l i v i n g of l i f e , so does the client integrate what i s learned from the counselling relationship to oneself and one's l i v i n g of l i f e . The concept of temporality i s crucial i n the reading experience. The reader experiences tenses of past, present and future. The counsellor and client may also discuss past, present and future l i f e experiences of the client in order to gain an understanding of one's vision of l i f e . This understanding i s achieved as stated in the reading experience by way of an understanding of the paradoxical nature of l i f e . The client becomes in touch with self-understanding i n the face of the realization of the connection to other l i f e and i t s meaning. The paradox of temporalness in reference to eternal meaning and temporal meaning i s important as i s the paradox of s p i r i t u a l i t y in reference to finiteness and infiniteness and the paradox of self and non-self in reference to universality and uniqueness are both also important. The vision of counselling that I have i s not one of a narrow, imbalanced emphasis on the self and the self's temporal, unique and f i n i t e existence, but rather a deep knowledge and integration of the self with eternal, universal human nature and the meaning of l i f e in a s p i r i t u a l , - 52 -i n f i n i t e sense. T h i s does not d e t r a c t from one's temporal, unique e x i s t e n c e ; i t only e n r i c h e s and expands i t . With the experience of s p i r i t u a l i t y , u n i v e r s a l i t y , and e t e r n i t y and the r e a l i z a t i o n of l i f e other than o n e s e l f , one i s a b l e to f e e l both f r e e and humble. One f e e l s l e s s burdened and r e s p o n s i b l e i n a negative sense f o r a l l t h a t happens i n l i f e . In some senses i t i s a freedom t o r e a l i z e t h a t one i s not prime cause f o r a l l t h a t happens i n l i f e , nor i s one the s o l e d e f i n i t i o n of l i f e . However, p a r a d o x i c a l l y , one a l s o r e a l i z e s what meaning the s e l f can have i n l i f e both i n an unique sense as w e l l as an u n i v e r s a l sense. At t h i s p o i n t , the s e n s i t i v i t y to and awareness of the f i n e -tuned i n t e g r a t e d balance of the paradox of s e l f and other and the f i n e -tuned i n t e g r a t e d balance of the other paradoxes of l i f e can be s t r i v e d f o r and sought a f t e r . In the c o u n s e l l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p , t h i s f i n e - t u n e d balance can be dis c u s s e d by the c l i e n t and c o u n s e l l o r working together to understand the i s s u e s of meaning i n l i f e , values and a v i s i o n of t r u t h i n l i f e and l i v i n g t r u t h f u l l y i n l i f e . The c o u n s e l l o r s t r i v e s to f a c i l i t a t e the matching of t r u t h s between the c l i e n t ' s v i s i o n of l i f e and the l i f e experience a v a i l a b l e t o the c l i e n t . ; The goal of c o u n s e l l i n g i s t o enable the c l i e n t t o achieve a new p e r s p e c t i v e , a c l a r i t y and depth to one's v i s i o n of l i f e and one's p a r t i n l i f e by means of a growth and m a t u r i t y i n the c o u n s e l l i n g r e l a t i o n -s h i p . The growth and m a t u r i t y reaches f r u i t i o n by sea r c h i n g f o r meaning and understanding of the complex, interdependent and i n t e r c o n n e c t e d q u a l i t i e s of the c o u n s e l l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p and i t s i n t e g r a t i o n w i t h ongoing l i f e e x p e r i e n c e . T h i s i n v o l v e s a change i n the t h i n k i n g , - 53 -f e e l i n g and a c t i n g of the c l i e n t , the c o u n s e l l o r and the r e l a t i o n s h i p . The c o u n s e l l i n g experience, l i k e the powerful r e a d i n g experience, i s one t h a t i n v o l v e s immense emotion and i n s i g h t s w i t h a meaningful, v i t a l l i f e e xperience as i t s p o t e n t i a l outcome. Fur t h e r Research A wider range of i n t e r v i e w would be worthwhile t o i n v e s t i g a t e . Co-researchers of v a r i e d ages, v a r i e d l i f e experiences and d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e s would be v a l u a b l e t o i n t e r v i e w . T h i s would enforce the u n i v e r s a l i t y of the experience f u r t h e r . The phenomenological experience of reading a powerful s t o r y once c l e a r l y and e x h a u s t i v e l y d e s c r i b e d can l e a d to other more s p e c i f i c q uestions f o r r e s e a r c h . The next q u e s t i o n t h a t I would l i k e t o -i n v e s t i g a t e would be I s a p a r t i c u l a r book, or a r t i n the form of l i t e r a t u r e , a b l e to e f f e c t a l l people as p o w e r f u l l y and e q u a l l y ? For example, I would l i k e t o i n t e r v i e w s e v e r a l co-researchers on t h e i r experience of reading A Tale of Two C i t i e s . The i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r B i b l i o t h e r a p y would be t h a t i f l i t e r a t u r e as an a r t form i s a b l e to e f f e c t a l l people w i t h equal power and depth of experience, then the s e l e c t i o n of books f o r d i s c u s s i o n may be narrowed down to the h i g h e s t form of a r t which i s then the most e f f i c i e n t way of l e a r n i n g about the experience of l i v i n g one's own l i f e f u l l y i n r e l a t i o n to other l i f e . As T o l s t o y suggests i n the quote t h a t f o l l o w s : And u n i v e r s a l a r t , by u n i t i n g the most d i f f e r e n t people i n one common f e e l i n g by d e s t r o y i n g s e p a r a t i o n , w i l l educate people t o union, w i l l show them, not by reason but by l i f e i t s e l f , the joy of u n i v e r s a l union r e a c h i n g beyond the bounds set by l i f e . (p. 190-191) - 54 -REFERENCES Association of Hospital and Institutional Libraries. Bibliotherapy, Methods and Materials. American Library Association. Chicago, 1971. Beattie, 0. V. & Csikszentimihalyi, M. "Life Themes: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration of Their Origins and Effects". Journal  of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 19, No. 1, Winter 1979. Crites, S. "The Narrative Quality of Experience". Journal of Academy  of Religion, Vol. 39, September, 1971. Dickens, C. A Tale of Two C i t i e s . New American Library, Scarborough, Ontario, 1960. Frankl, V. E. Man's Search For Meaning. Pocket Books, New York, 1963. Lester, D. The Use of Alternative Modes for Communication in Psycho- therapy. Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, I l l i n o i s , 1977. Maslow, A. H. Toward A Psychology of Being. D. VanNostrand Company, Inc., Princeton, New Jersey, 1962. May, R. Man's Search for Himself. New American Library, New York, 1967. Tolstoy, L. N. What i s Art? Bobb-Merrills Educational Publishing, Indianapolis, 1960. Valle & King. Existential-Phenomenological Alternatives for Psychology. Oxford University Press, New York, 1978. TABLE 1 S i g n i f i c a n t Statements CR 1 CR 2 CR 3 CR, 4 CR 5 THEME 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. I t seemed to I t i s my hope f o r There i s always There was a sense I t f i l l s you with Hope hold hope that old age. hope f o r change. of hope because an i n c r e d i b l e they embodied Hope f o r humanity he made i t very sense of hope and and the energy generally and c l e a r how clo s e community that they embodied i n d i v i d u a l . he had come you didn't have was very himself to . . . before you read important. i t . 2. 2. 2. 2. 2. 2. I read i t a t a I was aiming at I was ready to be I was experien- I came to the Searching, very c r u c i a l f i n d i n g myself e f f e c t e d , the cin g a l o t of book a f t e r years S t r u g g l i n g time of my l i f e . j u s t i n terms of book came at a t u r m o i l , inde- of deep inner (readiness) I f e l t very who I was and low p o i n t , t u r n i n g c i s i o n about what s t r u g g l e and stuck i n terms what I wanted i n point i n my l i f e , I was doing w i t h deep phil o s o p h -of proceeding l i f e . I was wanting something my l i f e , i t was i c a l and s p i r i t u a l along conven- experiencing a that needed to be a period of s p e c u l a t i o n . t i o n a l paths at f e e l i n g of being known, searching, change and read- Things I was that p o i n t . trapped and wanting a new justment - a searching f o r Trying to f i n d worrying and d i r e c t i o n . crossroads. I were being t a l k e d new ways, so fe a r i n g what was s t r u g g l i n g . about as i f they i t ' s continued would happen were r e a l . to speak power- to me i f I got f u l l y to that out of i t . I freedom and un- read i t around conventionalism. the time of d i s -i l l u s i o n m e n t with my marriage. Table 1 Cont'd CR 1 CR 2 CR 3 CR. 4 CR 5 THEME 3. The book acted as a kind of v a l i d a t i o n f o r an i n t e n s i t y of f e e l i n g which wasn't v a l i d a t e d by my s o c i a l environment. 3. I t was c e r t a i n l y underlined i n the t h i n k i n g that I had already had. 3. He v a l i d a t e d f o r me my own upbringing, he v a l i d a t e d s o r t of t r a d i t i o n a l C h r i s t i a n values, he v a l i d a t e d that experience f o r me. My own l i f e was something v a l i d . 3. Taking what I'd suspected to be t r u e , and then reading i t as w r i t t e n and seeing that the v i s i o n that he had was so much greater . . . 3. The major worth and purpose of the book was the v a l i d a t i o n of what was pre-v i o u s l y thought to be nonapplic-able f e e l i n g and thought, hadn't had any t a n g i b l e evidence i n the e x t e r n a l e n v i r o n -ment that they were r e a l . I t confirmed deep inner f e e l i n g s I've had. 3. V a l i d a t i o n of - f e e l i n g - experience - thoughts 4. A number of th i n g s about the book e x c i t e d me. 4. I was enthused about what I saw as a d i f f e r e n t way to remove oneself. I was e n t h u s i a s t i c about the book. 4. There was a sense of e l a t i o n . 4. I couldn't stop t a l k i n g about i t because i t was so i n c r e d i b l e . 4. I t became the most immediately p o s i t i v e t h i n g I could d i s c u s s i n my day. At times reading i t was a joy that I almost couldn't stand, i t was i n c r e d i b l e . 4. Enthusiasm excitement i n c r e d i b l e Table 1 Cont'd CRj CR 2 CR 3 CR 4 CR 5 THEME 5. While i d e n t i -f y i n g myself with the type of energy, characters and s i t u a t i o n s that were portrayed i n the book, i t enabled me to make sense of a d i f f e r e n t range of experience. 5. I was suddenly aware of i d e n t i -f y i n g with the bag l a d i e s down-town. Eve who l o s t everything . . . and I remember i d e n t i -f y i n g with her at that time. 5. I found part of myself i n a l l the characters. They drew out f e e l i n g s and emotions and corresponded to t r u t h s i n myself. 5. I t h i t me very hard because I could see as I read through a l l the s i n s how they a l l a p p l i e d to me. Dante was at a crossroads when he wrote the book and I i d e n t i f i e d w i t h that because I was at a c r o s s -roads i n my l i f e a t the time I was reading i t . 5. I r e l a t e d or was a f r a i d I was l i k e Marius, so I went through some t r y i n g times while reading the book. Hugo has a tendency towards . . . which embarrassed me because I f e e l t h a t ' s a tendency I a l s o have. 5. I d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h charac-t e r s and experience. 6. I'm r e a l l y touched again by that sense of r e a l resonances w i t h i n me, r e a l connection. The book affirmed a sense of . . . i n a way that I didn't f i n d affirmed i n the world i n which I was l i v i n g . 6. I t was a very emphasized v i s i o n that when we t r u l y take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . . . I t was c e r t a i n l y under-l i n e d i n the t h i n k i n g that I had already had. 6. I l i s t e n e d to i t and i t s a i d the things I needed f o r i t to say. There was a t r u t h to the way they were and who they were which c o r r e -sponded to t r u t h s i n myself and who I was. 6. Dante puts i t and I agree with him, I see i t as being true that people choose t h e i r own H e l l . 6. Reading the book was joyous l y easy because i t f e l t l i k e what I was reading was r i g h t , what happened i n the book was r i g h t and what I was doing was r i g h t . Comments of things that Hugo had s a i d were e x a c t l y t h i n g s I be l i e v e d and knew. 6. Recognition of t r u t h -matching t r u t h . Table 1 Cont'd CRX • CR2 CR3 CR. 4 CR5 THEME 7. You could actually l i v e your l i f e i n such a way that t h i s made sense and you embodied some of t h i s . 7. The characters seemed r e a l . Her husband seemed to epitomize an enormous number of people that I know i n my l i f e and everyone's l i f e . 7. They were real people, were everybody who has ever l i v e d , each person had v a l i d -i t y , they belonged too. 7. His He l l i s so e x p l i c i t and gory i n parts. Some-times you learn by knowing what you don't want and a l o t of the experiences of the characters were that. 7. The characters are as r e a l to me as any of the people I know. I was i n awe of the beauty and of the r e a l i t y with which he dealt with ideas I was constantly trying to keep a l i v e . 7. Realness of characters and l i f e . 8. I t f i t i n that i t didn't f i t . I t provided a framework I could relate to that was 8. The world presented i n the book f i t with my perception of the world, a very r e a l i s t i c 8. The structure that he created meshed with my own inner sense of what the world i s , and I could 8. I know that i t i s the sense of l i f e that I want to understand and I think i t i s the only sense of 8. Hugo presents a far different world, a world which I believe i s far realer and far more t r u t h f u l 8. Worlds f i t t i n g / meshing. different from my s o c i a l milieu and family. I could see another p o s s i b i l i t y , as affirmed i n a way that I didn't find affirmed i n any way i n the world I l i v e d i n . presentation of the world. f i t into i t . l i f e ultimately. So i t just f i t perfectly. and one which I believe deeply. T a b l e 1 Cont'd CR, CR, CR. CR, CR r THEME I t moved me away from my s o c i a l m i l i e u q u i t e r a d i c a l l y and p r o p e l l e d me i n t o a new one. I t e n a b l e d me t o make sense o f a d i f f e r e n t range o f e x p e r i e n c e . 10. There was meaning and t h e book communi-c a t e d draw and energy t h a t was embodied i n t h e book. The i d e a s p r e s e n t e d i n t h e book became i m p o r t a n t t o me i n terms o f d i s -c o v e r i n g my own meaning. 9. I mean I am r e a l l y l o o k i n g a t t h o s e p e o p l e w i t h a much d i f f e r e n t p e r s p e c t i v e . I have a d i f f e r e n t a t t i t u d e about m y s e l f and o t h e r p e o p l e i n g e n e r a l . 10. Someone i s s t i l l l i k e l y t o be around and f i n d me a t t r a c t i v e i f I'm i n v o l v e d w i t h l i f e . I l e a r n e d change can happen a t any t i m e , s e x u a l i t y goes on and e v e r y t h i n g has a c o s t , some-t i m e s c o s t s a r e 9. The o r i e n t a t i o n was t o see m y s e l f , my w o r l d and my e v e r y t h i n g t h r o u g h a d i f f e r e n t s e t of e y e s , a changed p e r s p e c t i v e . 10. I wasn't a i m i n g a t a n y t h i n g , wasn't l o o k i n g f o r a s p e c i f i c t h i n g , I m erely found i t as I went a l o n g . Gained a renewed r e s p e c t f o r t h e i n t e r w o v e n n e s s o f a l l l i f e . Good/ E v i l - c h o i c e s D i g n i t y o f human s p i r i t . 9. And t h a t ' s what r e a d i n g t h a t d i d , i t made t h o s e words w h i c h were j u s t words b e f o r e mean so much more. I t broke up t h e c l o u d and made me see t h i n g s more c l e a r l y . 10. I was e x p e r i e n c i n g a sense o f humi-l i t y and a g r e a t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f m y s e l f and p e o p l e a f t e r w a r d s . F o r t h e f i r s t t i m e i n my l i f e I had a r e a l l y t r u e sense o f h u m i l i t y and what God i s . 9. I went t o t h e book w i t h a deep hunger f o r s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t y and I came out o f t h e book w i t h a deep a p p r e c i a t i o n o f s o c i a l r e a l i t y . Hugo has managed t o show me. 10. Hugo's b e l i e f t h a t t h e epitome o f l i f e was the r e a l i z a t i o n o f t h e i n f i n i t e dove-t a i l e d a b s o l u t e l y p e r f e c t l y w i t h my own hungers and b e l i e f s . The book was a g r e a t a i d t o u n d e r s t a n d i n g h i s t o r y , s o c i a l , e t c . New perspec-t i v e . 10. Meaning i n l i f e . T a b l e 1 Cont'd CR 2 CR 3 CR. 4 CR 5 THEME 11. 11. 11. 11. 11. 11. I t d i d i n f l u e n c e I f you t r u s t I had a sense o f To know t h a t A f t e r t h e book, Growth/ me t h r o u g h 10 people t o grow growing up, of t h e r e a r e t h i n g s I b e l i e v e I m a t u r i t y / y e a r s o r so o f they w i l l grow, m a t u r i t y , of g r e a t e r t h a n y o u r - matured, I b e l i e v e o p e n i n g up. my l i f e , i n but i f you keep h a v i n g come a s e l f and t h a t you I l e a r n e d i n c r e -p o i n t i n g c e r t a i n p r o t e c t i n g them l i t t l e d i s t a n c e . a r e p a r t o f t h e d i b l e t h i n g s . And d i r e c t i o n s out . . . I n a sense g r e a t e r w hole, t o so r e a d i n g t h e t h a t I had t o I f e e l l i k e I'm put i n t o p e r s p e c - book was a good them s o r t of k i n d of growing t i v e , a g r o w i n g e x p e r i e n c e . deepen and move w i t h t h a t n o v e l up. on. The book was . . . v e r y c a t a l y t i c f o r a l o t o f t h i n g s . 12. 12. 12. 12. 12. 12. I t i n some ways I f e e l more I became more as I t made me want I e xtended Change i n formed a g r e a t courage i n terms a p e r s o n . I t d i d t o go on w i t h my p o s i t i v e l y t h e l i f e / d e a l o f who I of how I l i v e my remove me a l i t t l e l i f e i n a d i f f e r - s p i r i t u a l u n d e r - i n f l u e n c e . became f o l l o w i n g l i f e . I have a from t r y i n g t o e n t way. So t h a t • s t a n d i n g s and I t h a t . I can d i f f e r e n t a t t i - work out the l e d t o a l o t o f g o t r i d of some r e f l e c t back and tude about m y s e l f t e n s i o n s and j u s t s e l f - a n a l y s i s , o f t h e w o r s t see how much o f and o t h e r p e o p l e . a l l o w i n g i t t o be, s e l f - d i s c u s s i o n p a r t s o f t h e an i m p a ct i t had I have an a c c e p - not f e e l i n g so and s e l f - d e p r e s s i o n . So because o f what tance and deeper caught and spun u n d e r s t a n d i n g . t h e book began I have done w i t h r e s p e c t f o r . . . around. A sense t o make me f e e l my l i f e s i n c e o f d i s c o v e r y , new s o c i a l l y v a l i d t h e n . . . b e g i n n i n g s . I t and j u s t i f i e d . opened t h e d oors I t made me aware t o a b i g g e r w o r l d . o f . . . I t made me r e a l i z e . . . T a b l e 1 Cont'd CR 2 CR 3 CR 4 CR 5 THEME 13. 13. 13. 13. 13. 13. I t ' s v e r y k i n d I t h i n k I p r o b a b l y I was v e r y I t made a v e r y I s a v o r e d t h e In v o l v e m e n t . o f raw and rough r e a d i t i n one i n v o l v e d , j u s t s t r o n g i m p r e s s i o n book. I t was the . . . and t h a t s i t t i n g . I t was s a v o r i n g e v e r y because I c o u l d n ' t most d e l i c i o u s a p p e a l e d t o me easy t o r e a d , v e r y word, p h r a s e , s t o p t a l k i n g o r p l a c e I c o u l d go and made i t c a p t i v a t i n g and e x p r e s s i o n . I t h i n k i n g about i t . t o and a t t i m e s p o w e r f u l a t t h e p l e a s u r a b l e , i t c o u l d h a r d l y w a i t I t was j u s t so i t was a j o y t h a t t i m e . d i d n ot l a g a t t o g e t back t o i n c r e d i b l e . I a l m o s t c o u l d n ' t a l l . t h e book. s t a n d . I t was i n c r e d i b l e . 14. 14. 14. 14. 14. 14. The c h a r a c t e r s I f e e l more Sense o f b e i n g I t made me t h i n k I t wasn't s h e e r l y Courage. a r e c o n t i n u a l l y courageous as a s t r e t c h e d o r about what I p l e a s u r a b l e , i t f i g h t i n g a r e s u l t o f t h a t p u l l e d , i t l e a d s s h o u l d do, what was h a r d work t o b a t t l e a g a i n s t n o v e l , I f e e l you t o a b e t t e r I c o u l d do and f a c e t h e s e i n c r e d i b l e odds more courage i n p l a c e and you a r e what I had t o p o s s i b i l i t i e s and do i t terms o f how I w i l l i n g t o go f a c e . B e t t e r g et . . . I g o t a r e g a r d l e s s o f l i v e my l i f e . even i f i t s c a r e s on w i t h l i v i n g w i l l i n g n e s s t o consequences you. your l i f e . l i v e l i f e . because i t seems t o be t h e o n l y -t h i n g w i t h any r e a l meaning. You c o u l d a c t u a l l y l i v e y our l i f e i n such a way t h a t t h i s made sense and you embodied i t . T a b l e 1 Cont'd CR1 CR 2 CR 3 CR, 4 CR5 THEME 15. 15. 15. 15. 15. 15. There was a I am aware of The o t h e r change I t j u s t made so The e f f e c t was Freedom/ sense o f r e a l f e e l i n g a r e l e a s e was f e e l i n g a much s e n s e . I one o f j u s t i f i - r e l e a s e freedom, b o i s t e r - t h a t came a f t e r - freedom t o c u t t a l k e d about i t t o c a t i o n , i n s i g h t , j u s t i f i c a t i o n / o u sness and un- ward, from t h e the t i e s o f home anybody and e v e r y - freedom and a f f i r m a t i o n . c o n v e n t i o n a l i s m . n o v e l . The book and c h i l d h o o d . I body I c o u l d . A r e l e a s e . I t c o n -I t a f f i r m e d o r a f f i r m e d f o r me c o u l d s u r v i v e on t r u e u n d e r s t a n d i n g f i r m e d deep i n n e r encouraged some t h a t i t i s f i n e my own because i n and b e l i e f and f e e l i n g s I've q u a l i t i e s i n t o be . . . my s p i r i t t h e r e commitment w i l l been h a v i n g . p a r t i c u l a r and was l i f e . l e a d t o a l o t o f t h e i r e x p r e s s i o n . growth, i t ' s n o t a b l i n d b e l i e f . 16. 16. 16. 16. 16. 16. I t i n some ways I see them as Maybe t h a t i s one I was t r y i n g t o I r e a d t h e l a s t I n t e g r a t i o n . formed a g r e a t p a r t o f me, of t h e ways i n u n d e r s t a n d what t h i r d q u i c k l y d e a l o f who I whereas b e f o r e w hich I am he'd had t o say because t h e r e became f o l l o w i n g I j u s t saw them becoming now. and how i t a p p l i e d was no need t o t h a t . I can see r e a l l y as k i n d Maybe t h a t was t o me and t o l i f e hang on t o t h e how much o f an of o b j e c t s o f a h i d d e n g o a l o r i n g e n e r a l . a c t u a l t e x t , I im p a c t i t had o b s e r v a t i o n . I n aim t h a t came out T r y i n g t o remember c o u l d l e t go because o f what a sense I f e e l o f the book. ( I what I had l e a r n t because t h e book I have done w i t h l i k e I'm growing saw t h a t would be w h i l e r e a d i n g i t had a l r e a d y p e r -my l i f e s i n c e w i t h t h a t n o v e l . a good way t o be.) and t o keep u s i n g meated my b e i n g t h e n . i t . enough. 17. 17. 17. 17. 17. 17. . . . v e r y I have a I t s t e m p o r a l i t y I had a r e a l l y I t made me aware H u m i l i t y . f l e e t i n g , t o l e r a n c e and makes i t so much t r u e sense o f o f my own l a c k impermanent, r e s p e c t f o r o t h e r more p r e c i o u s , h u m i l i t y and what o f development, s a d , s o r t o f peo p l e t h a t I you a r e more God i s r e a l l y t h e book had a n a t u r e v e r y would have v u l n e r a b l e , about. h u m b l i n g e x p e r -p o i g n a n t sense e i t h e r d i s m i s s e d i m p o r t a n t and i e n c e f o r me. b e i n g . . . or d i s t a n c e d i n s i g n i f i c a n t . m y s e l f from. T a b l e 1 Cont'd CR 2 CR 3 CR. 4 CR 5 THEME 18. 18. 18. 18. 18. 18. The book power- . . . but r e a l l y I f e l t i n v o l v e d I t i s a s t o r y He t o u c h e s so much E t e r n a l n e s s / f u l l y r e i n t r o - had a sense o f i n c r e a t i o n i n about God, l o v e o f what I b e l i e v e s p i r i t u a l n e s s . duced i n t o my b e i n g v e r y w e a l t h y some way. The and humanity. t o be s p i r i t u a l l i f e e t e r n i t y o r of s p i r i t . I r e - o v e r a l l i m p r e s s i o n There i s t h e d i - t r u t h . Hugo God, t h e whole member i d e n t i f y i n g was m a g n i f i c e n c e v i n e i n i t . The c l e a r l y shows t h a t n o t i o n o f s p i r i - w i t h her a t t h a t and g l o r y o f t h e t o p i c i t ' s about m o r t a l l i f e i s t u a l r e a l i t y . t i m e . Yes, I got human s p i r i t . s t a y s w i t h you e x p e r i e n c e d by an e t e r n a l sense f o r e v e r and i t ap- i n f i n i t e r e a l i t y . o f l i f e . p l i e s c o n t i n u a l l y . 19. 19. 19. 19. 19. 19. Whole range o f And t h i n k i n g , my I t a l l o w e d me t o I t h i t me v e r y The book reminded S t r u g g l e w i t h new c o n c e p t s God . . . b e f o r e l o o k a t q u a l i t i e s h a r d because I me o f my own s e l f - s e l f - l e a r n i n g s t h a t I had t o I had always i n m y s e l f t h a t I c o u l d see as I do u b t s and my own q u a l i t i e s come t o terms seen i t as not d i d n ' t p a r t i c - r e a d t h r o u g h a l l n e g a t i v e d i s p o - o f s e l f w i t h . . . a c h o i c e , but u l a r l y want t o the s i n s , how s i t i o n s t owards r e v e a l e d . G r a p p l i n g a l l i n e v i t a b l e , l o o k a t . th e y a l l a p p l i e d m y s e l f , w h i c h made th e t i m e w i t h i t had never t o me. Led t o i t d i f f i c u l t b u t t h a t sense o f o c c u r r e d t o me a l o t o f s e l f - w o r t h w h i l e . meaning . . . d i s c u s s i o n and a n a l y s i s . 20. 20. 20. 20. 20. 20. I t p o i n t e d I n a sense I f e e l I t opened t h e A t r u e u n d e r - I e x t e n d e d p o s i - Q u e s t i o n i n g / o u t c e r t a i n l i k e I'm growing doors t o a b i g g e r s t a n d i n g , b e l i e f t i v e l y . . . I gr o w t h -d i r e c t i o n s w i t h t h a t n o v e l . w o r l d , u n i v e r s e . and commitment d i s a g r e e . . . i n s p r i n g b o a r d t h a t I had B e g i n n i n g t o There i s j o y and w i l l l e a d t o a t h a t sense my own f o r more t o t h e n s o r t q u e s t i o n t h a t . . . d i g n i t y t o be l o t o f growth d i v e r s i o n b e g i n s , t h o u g h t s / of deepen and e x p e r i e n c e d . and u n d e r s t a n d i n g . but t h a t i s w o r t h - i n s i g h t . move on. No need t o f o r c e w h i l e because i t l i f e , i t ' s here e n c o u r a g e s new and I'm i n i t . i d e a and t h o u g h t . And so even i n t h a t Hugo has a c h i e v e d a m a s t e r p i e c e . Table 1 Cont'd CR X CR 2 CR 3 CR 4 CR 5 THEME 21. 21. 21. 21. 21. 21. You could That being down A r e v i t a l i z a t i o n , I t made me want I t i n s p i r e d me to I n s p i r a t i o n / a c t u a l l y l i v e at the bottom a sense of how to go on with broaden my choice s t r i v i n g f o r your l i f e i n p a r a d o x i c a l l y can wonderful i s l i f e , my l i f e i n a of . . . more. such a way that be being at the how proper i s d i f f e r e n t way. t h i s made sense top. I t was death. There i s I t deals so and you embodied r e a l l y okay. I joy and d i g n i t y . grandly w i t h God i t . The book f e e l more courage I became more as and what l i f e was very c a t a - i n terms of how I a person. A could be. l y t i c f o r a l o t l i v e my l i f e . sense of having of t h i n g s . a chance. I could f i n d my way. 22. 22. 22. 22. 22. 22. R e l a t i n g to I'm so impressed They were r e a l Not j u s t one One has to l e a r n U n i v e r s a l . nature, a sense with how many people, were person w r i t i n g , to be w i t h l i f e of other types people read that everybody who i t ' s from a and not disagree of wisdom and book and so much has ever l i v e d , greater whole. w i t h l i f e , there a sense of a i d e n t i f y with her. each person had In Heaven there i s t hat i n the broader commu- - A u n i v e r s a l i t y . v a l i d i t y , they i s no h i e r a r c h y book. I got a n i t y . Tender- belonged too. between people. w i l l i n g n e s s to ness, compassion, They are f i l l e d l i v e i t , a l i f e l o v e , care and to the u l t i m a t e of q u a l i t y and a concern. The joy they can f e e l . l i f e of i n t i n i t e very p o s s i b l e There are things worth . . . The very f u l l e t e r n a l greater than i n t a n g i b i l i t y of on the other y o u r s e l f and that our s o u l becomes s i d e . you are part of something we can the greater whole. share through t a n g i b l e matter. - 65 -APPENDIX A INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 1. Please try to r e c a l l a novel which you read that made an impression on you, or which in some way strongly affected or influenced you; try to describe the impressions that i t made on you. 2. What i s i t that allows you to feel sure that i t made a strong impression on you? 3. Is there anything in particular that you were aiming at when you f i r s t began to read i t ? What? And during your reading of i t ? 4. What were you experiencing before you were reading i t ? During? Afterwards? 5. Did you discuss i t either with yourself or someone else before, during and/or after reading i t ? If not, would you lik e to have discussed i t ? 6. What difference(s) can you detect within yourself after reading i t ? 7. What made the whole reading experience easy or d i f f i c u l t for you? Enjoyable or disagreeable? 8. Is there anything you wish to add? \ - 66 -APPENDIX B INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 1. What was so important about this book for your sense of meaning in l i f e ? 2. Did this book reveal any new qualities to you about yourself? What are they? 3. How did the "world" presented i n the book, f i t with the way you see the "world"? 4. What did the characters in this book mean to you? 5. Did you get a quickened sense of the meaning of your own l i f e and i t s temporariness? 6. Did you get a sense of the eternal nature of your own l i f e and i t s commonality with others across history? 7. Were you in a state of l i f e transition - was there something important in your l i f e ? - 67 -APPENDIX C CO-RESEARCHER 1 I - Please try to r e c a l l a novel which you read that made an impression on you, or which in some way strongly affected or influenced you; try to describe the impressions that i t made on you. CR - Okay, describe the strong impression. Okay, the book that I decided to t e l l you about i s the Parma Bums by Jack Karouack. And I read that i t was a very crucial time of my l i f e . It was like post adolescence, early adulthood. And i t uh, i t in some  ways formed a great deal of who I became following that. Uh, there was a number of things about the book that excited me. I guess that main thing about i t was i t provided some kind of  framework that I could relate to that was different from my  social milieu, my family and a l l of that kind of environment. That I f e l t very dissatisfied with at the time. And there were a_ number of elements in the book that were very exciting. Which were a specific way of using language in the book, the way i t  was written. The uh, sense of real freedom and kind of  boisterousness of unconventional, somewhat anti or asocial, unconventional. Uh, and a sense of relating to nature. A sense of other types of wisdom, other types of knowledge that weren't readily available in the culture. And the book l a i d i t out in such a sense that I could get a feel for ascribing to these  values and principles that I could see as another p o s s i b i l i t y ,  another way of moving with my l i f e . I - What I got i s that i t came at an important point in your l i f e , so that was involved. You were also thinking of reaching out and broadening out from your family and the societal ways that you found to be limiting. The impression, or the influence i s that i t gave you somewhere to expand i t sounds like and to follow different paths and understandings and to just grow. Is there anything else you want to add? CR - (CR agrees) (pause) Nothing comes to mind immediately. There was a l l , I just l i k e , one of the c r i t i c a l things there i s a sense of of community of a broader broader sense of community. That there were people out there that um provided a whole new dimension. I - What i s i t that allows you to feel that i t had a strong impression on you? CR - That allows me to think, well at this point see i t ' s that many years ago, but I return to the book now and then and I recognize - 68 -again and again how many ideas, how much of i t I can reflect  back quite clearly, and quite readily and see how much of an  impact i t had because of what I have done with my l i f e since then. Because of A) both the a c t i v i t i e s I have involved myself with, very physically and concretely and the ideas that are contained  within. As the years have gone by too there has been other dimensions that have been added, a deepening of the experience of, but I don't know that i s particularly relevant. Because i t follows on other information and, for example, urn, i n case i t ' s relevant, uh, Jack Karouack his, who he was a lot of that entered into i t . When I read the book, he was s t i l l a live. And he died about five years I guess, maybe four years after I read the book. I got into him. And knowing about his death and the way he died and a l l that gives me a different view of what was happening with him writing the book. And that's deepened my connection with i t . Uh, I'm also, I just looked at i t again, and I'm really touched  again by that sense of real resonances within me, real  connection. It emphasizes a real kind of tenderness and a lot  of compassion, a lot of love and care and concern. Sort of that i s groping i t s way through a very confusing world. A confusing world at that time of the mid nineteen f i f t i e s . Trying to find new ways. So i t ' s continued to speak very powerfully to that. I - One of the things I got i s that i t has had an enduring quality. That even now you say that when you look at i t again, i t s t i l l brings up those feelings for you. And also the idea that you say that i t actually shaped some of your behavior or the way you have become. So when you reflect back, you see the connection of having read that and who you are now. (CR agrees) Even the idea, you have connected what has happened in the author's l i f e and what you learned about that back to the experience that you had in reading the book. And i t sounds l i k e i t was consistent, l i k e i t made sense what happened? CR - Yeah, i t does. Another thing about that, lik e looking at i t again I see in some ways, the book appears at this point, I wouldn't say shallow, but i t doesn't catch l i k e some of the depth of what he was attempting to write about. What was going on then. And that i s something that appealed to me and made i t  powerful at the time. Because i t i t ' s very kind of raw and  rough and straight forward. It doesn't go into very abstract, i t ' s not abstract writing at a l l , i t ' s very concrete. The, um, most of the, any inte l l e c t u a l speculation i s comes down•in dialogue, that i s very immediate and sort of rough, sort of intimate dialogue between a few main characters. Um, but on the whole i t ' s l i k e the way the language moves i s very kind of direct  and very clear. Well, some of that and along with the whole  kind of underlying rebelliousness, no longer makes as much sense  to me. But and i t ' s in that context too that I can see li k e his disappointment i n his last years before he died, um, you know - 69 -l i k e some of the idealism of that book isn't truly appropriate. And i f one was to, i f I was to stay with i t , i t wouldn't make sense at that point. But i t did very much influence me through  ten years or so of my l i f e , in pointing certain directions out  that I had to then sort of deepen and move on. I - You use the word deepen, and also I get the feeling that there was that power there but i t was timing. As you say, well given a ten year period, that's quite an extended period. I also get the feeling that you have matured. The deepening i s that that may have started something but other things are continuing the deepening or the seeds that that might have been planted. (CR says right) But yet those seeds are s t i l l valid. (CR says for sure) Do you feel that you have said a l l that you wanted? (CR says I think so) Is there anything in particular that you were aiming at when you were f i r s t reading i t ? And then during your reading and after i t ? CR - Hard to r e c a l l for sure. My aim, I came to the book because I read another one that he had written ea r l i e r . Um, I don't think I had any particular idea of what I was going to find other than just a continuing kind of affirmation or sense of this unconven- tional p o s s i b i l i t y . Because I f e l t very stuck in terms of  proceeding along conventional paths at that point. And I knew  him to be someone, Karouack to be someone who was speaking for a  different way of being. I - There was a further development of an exciting alternative, (CR agrees) That somehow in another book an alternative had been presented, an unconventionality, and you wanted to further pursue that? So that was your aim you might say? CR - I think so. I - How about during your reading of the book? CR - Okay, during i t , this i s somewhat speculative, but I would say that uh, i t increased my distance from a number, most of my peers. Barring one or two. Okay, the book i s to some extent built around the relationship of two men, that i s quite ideal i n some terms. And so i t gave me a a sense of, a signpost in some  sense about relationship bonding with another man. Uh, so even , at that point, okay, there were one or two other people I could relate to, in some depth, but i t moved me away from my social  milieu quite radically. And propelled me into a new one in  which I started sort of feeling my way, while identifying myself-. with the type of energy and characters and situations that were  portrayed in the book. It enabled me to make sense of a  different range of experience I guess. - 70 -I - It sounds, too l i k e , okay your dissatisfaction with some of the ways you were l i v i n g I guess was clear. And then in the reading of the book, i t gave you I don't know i f the word i s impetus to actually try out something new. (CR agrees) And you seemed to leave behind that which was dissatisfying and try out something that was hopefully what you were looking for. (CR agrees) Would you say that would be your aim, that you were actually trying to l i v e out part the l i f e that was portrayed or the relationship -CR - Yeah, I would say so. And also, the l i f e and relationships and those things on a f a i r l y external level, but also the kind of  intensity of l i f e that was portrayed. Drive after that because the book does, i t ' s generally a f a i r l y up, well i t ' s interesting because i t goes up and down. It follows very clearly um, the kind of impermanent flow of thoughts and emotions that arise. So i t ' s not entirely exhilaration and up, i t ' s also down. But there i s continually a real intensity of feeling that I related to very  strongly at the time. And i t ' s to some extent I guess the book  acted as a kind of validation for that intensity of feeling which  wasn't validated by my social environment, by my family. I - I get this image of a real give and take in that you were wanting to take something from the book, which was the offer of seeking out that more unconventional alternative. But also you had already had an intensity of feeling and you put that into the book and recognized i t i n the book of yourself. Do you follow my image? (CR says yes, that makes sense) Did you have an aim after finishing the book? CR - Well, upon finishing, I don't know how immediate i t was, but JE did start enacting more of the book. Like i t deals in part with a relationship with the wilderness, with mountains. I remember at that point hitch-hiking through B.C. and climbing in the Rockies. And just very much involving myself in the whole, that type of experience. And also moved me into a different  reading in some sense. So there i s a lot of references i n the book to particularly Eastern sources of the Sutres and different Buddhist texts and Japanese Zen, a lot of Zen literature. And so i t led me into readings along those lines. It led me into reading more North American poets mainly the poets that were associated, were some of the characters in the book. And so, i t  had that immediate kind of effect. It's hard to untangle a lot of i t too, because I mean at that point, i t was very f e r t i l e and I did make this pretty big shift in my l i f e and part of that was then involvement with peace movement and a l o t of radical a c t i v i t y as a whole. I mean i t seems very interconnected. I - I think you have made yourself quite clear to me in that you physically started acting out some of the l i f e s t y l e alternatives. So there was that, and also the idea of being - 71 -referred to a lot of different people and their ideas. Your aim was to learn more about that. And you went out and did that. (CR agrees) Are you through there? CR - Yeah, I guess there i s also that element of of through l i v i n g through and enacting some of the relationship stuff, uh, particular to the extent that I was able I guess as a Canadian to model after American, Californian and New York mix styles, uh some of that in letter writing and such and Karouack and that whole style that book and I guess the preceding one too. That  style influenced lik e my letter writing, my communication and  interaction with other people to some extent. I - What were you experiencing before you were reading i t ? During? and After? You partly addressed that, i s there anything more you want to add? CR - (pause) I can't really get in touch. I think i t ' s too long ago partly. To get into, I mean any further. I - I ' l l just repeat i t again to see i f you do want to add anything further. (CR says yeah, sure) I got the. idea that your experience was a developmental point that you were at. A dis-satisfaction of your current family l i f e s t y l e , the societal things and even your relationships. Also I got the feeling that you had this intensity of feeling that wasn't being answered. So that was the precursor experience. When you read the book, i t gave you alternatives and i t tapped into what was already there for you. So that was during, and during you started acting out some of the things and seeking more knowledge. And after, you followed through with that by actually travelling. Your experience you were saying about writing differently, reading more and that i s most of what I got. Is that what? CR - Yeah. I guess one other thing comes to mind. I'm not sure i f i t f i t s quite to that question to some extent. There i s also as I mentioned that sense of compassion and caring in there. And i t was interesting to me I guess the experience of that being a pos-s i b i l i t y of having some kind of place in the world other than sort of straight social morality, and being a good boy. Urn, there was a space opened up where you could kind of experience spontaneity and unconventional, free-wheeling a c t i v i t y . And at the same time that somehow be rooted in a caring. So again that i s connected also with intensity of feeling and having some place for that. That caring and feeling can manifest. I - It sounds like afterwards you were able to experience that kind of community more too. Is that what you were getting at? - 72 -CR - Yeah, i t moved into a whole new type of community because there were other people around at that time who were moving in the same sort of direction. I - In reading the book, did you discuss i t with somebody else, or yourself while you were reading i t and afterwards? CR - Yeah. I don't think I ever, okay well there i s internal dialogue, yeah. That sort of excitement and uh, questioning  like uh, whether this i s real . Whether this i s straight biographical or how much was made up. Questioning where are these people now that I have discovered them. How can I connect with them etc., etc. Because i t ' s l i k e basically a fictionalized account of real situations, real people. And then, I think with others, there was some kind of exploration, but not I mean mainly in terms of the content rather than anything underlying, or anything thematic. It was just l i k e um material that provided a framework for what a number of us were sort of looking at. I - If you were in a group of people would you say I'm thinking about , this idea or concept, what do you think about i t ? Is that how you would do i t ? Or would you actually say I read this book, have you read i t ? Or, this i s what the book i s about, what do you think about i t ? How would i t have gone? CR - Both ways I think to a closer c i r c l e of people who may have also read the book, or other books by the same, by Karouack, or that other range, there would be assumed some of that common range of experience. It wouldn't be referred to as I read and this book, but i t would be just already assumed. But i f i t were other people, that were perhaps people I was moving away from, or didn't know, then I would talk about i t as this book, yeah i t ' s really exciting. And I would present i t and I did, I have over  the years off and on to people. It has been very kind of  exhilarating and expansive. Which also contains um, a good deal of North American approach to the East and Religion and to that range of thought. Um, to some extent I can only speculate how often, or how much I would have done that. I know that I would have. I - What differences can you detect within yourself, after having read the book? CR - There was a range of differences. There was a whole range of  new concepts that were presented that I had to start working  with, trying to come to terms with. The Eastern concepts of i n that case, Zen Buddhism, the Buddhist thought, Eastern thought generally, that I started looking at. It also crystallized a  break with the way I had been l i v i n g my l i f e . As part of my family and being sort of directed to a certain type of future, - 73 -through university and into job, blah, blah, blah. And I guess so i t influenced to some extent the fact that I involved myself  with studying English L i t , as opposed to going into Marine Biology or a science kind of. It seems i t came more at a time you know i t crystallized and focused other things that were happening. It enhanced commitment to work with sort of personal  growth in some way as opposed to the technical, s c i e n t i f i c world which was also open, accessible at one point. This was one of the elements that made me lean towards, you know, well I'd rather  just find out who I am rather than follow this predetermined  path. So. I - The big difference i s that i t allowed you to consider more alternatives, and to make some choices based on that. Because i t sounds l i k e you f e l t you were being funneled into something. (CR agrees) And having read i t , you, there was the ideas and the concepts that you had to learn more about, and to integrate into your way of thinking. But i t sounds like the big difference was that you stopped and thought about what you actually wanted to do and made some choices that were quite contrary to what might have been predicted before that. CR - Yeah, i t was definitely an aid in that process. I - As far as the changes too, I got that you maybe allowed yourself to l i v e those feelings more freely. When you said about the compassion and the recognition of community experience, to me I got that and also l i v i n g your l i f e differently, making actual behavioral changes, you wanted. And to leave behind some of the things that were dissatisfying. CR - Yeah, and very much a part of that I think i s that I identified this other range of things with my parents' world. And this was a broader world of community that I could establish. Because and there was my parents' world, the specific family world, and then beyond that there was a world composed of what looked again l i k e my family, only broader. And yet, okay, here was another  pos s i b i l i t y that may have been small i n some senses, but was  much more meaningful to me at that time. And this whole element of rebellion, was in that and the affirmation that the book gave  of rebellion. At least i t seemed like I wasn't, wouldn't be  to t a l l y isolated i f I was to rebel. There was some context into  which I could move with that rebellion. I - So there i t wasn't l i k e a kind of floundering. It was a viable alternative. CR - Yeah, i t seemed to hold some hope. Something other than just a really s t e r i l i t y and a deadend that I saw around me. -Ik -I - So the change was maybe you were feeling in a sense that low energy, oppressed feeling and hopelessness. And the change was that here was something that made you hopeful, and made you act towards something that was in you that you wanted to recognize. (CR agrees) What made the reading experience easy or d i f f i c u l t , enjoyable or disagreeable? CR - One of the things that made i t easy was the style. It really, as I mentioned, i t ' s very direct, very straight forward, has humor, i t ' s not at a l l convoluted, i t ' s just li k e straight, very, very direct. So that made i t very approachable, and easy to read a l l the way through. What else was there? (I say was there anything d i f f i c u l t ? ) Some of the ideas were new to me, unusual at f i r s t greeting, but that didn't make i t particularly d i f f i c u l t because i t wasn't necessary really to understand the ideas to stay with the narrative l i n e . Which i s a very, very simple narrative l i n e . Yeah that's - (pause) I - You found i t quite enjoyable, was there anything disagreeable? CR - No, I don't think so. I - What was so important about this book for your sense of meaning in l i f e ? CR - It's hard to say you know. In retrospect (long pause) One of the things that was important, that I haven't really mentioned yet was that i t did open up as I say Eastern thought. And i t did that i n a very, i t seemed l i k e there was something in that that would be interesting to explore, and perhaps provide some kind of underlying meaning. There was meaning kind of just in the book  communicated a draw and energy that was embodied in the book. The ideas that i t presented in the book cross very interestingly in the dialogue the interaction between the two main characters, Jack Karouack and Jerry Snyder. And they uh, Karouack was a Catholic, he was raised as a Catholic. And 'he i s continually trying to bring together the sense of Catholicism and Buddhism as his basic structure. And a lot of that as I mentioned, i s connected with compassion. Where he talks about Christ's compassion and love for the world as being Buddha's love for the world. And he i s constantly sort of bringing stuff together. Very and then Snyder, he doesn't, he i s not a l l interested in Christianity. He i s sort of into a very s t r i c t form of Buddhism, coupled with a kind of radicalism, social radicalism and humanism. So i t was quite strange in the book and they I guess they come together somehow i n the dialogue. And both kind of sides were attractive to me. And whether they find embodiment in some of the ac t i v i t y that was undertaken by the characters, that l i v i n g in "a" community, l i v i n g with friends, partying and just hanging out in the city and then the whole community from the - 75 -wilderness and in the wilderness would be kind of odd. So a lot of those ideas then became important to me in terms of  discovering my own meaning. And will have been as I say for a  long time, the book was very catalytic for a lot of things. But for a long time my l i f e continued to revolve around bringing  together religious, sense of religious and contemplation, on the  one hand and social reform and radicalism on the other which was  very much prefigured in the book. So, a lot of those concepts  then became underpinnings for study that I could follow up on, that would flesh out a sense of meaning that is given to some  extent during the book. The concept of emptiness and compassion and love and social justice. So those were a l l from and they  were affirmed, and they were affirmed in a way that I didn't  find affirmed in any way in the real world in which I was living. And interestingly in the book, like Karouack, who was the narrator, he was coming down and recorded this by head. He very well not very frequently, but three or four times in the book, he talks about he is also on this sort of journey through l i f e . And he doesn't talk too much about what's gone before necessarily, but he keeps referring to Snyder as Jackie Rider and the other people he's coming in contact with as the" Darma Bums who are going to, are teaching him the meaning of l i f e . He has a real sense that he is constantly learning from the- new context that he is making. So that kind of mirrors my experience, and learning  a lot from the book. But he is always in the role of of the learner. So I guess grappling a l l the time with that sense of meaning. In opposition for example, to his family, who he revisits back in Northeast U.S. And has to sort of justify the weirdness of what he seems to be doing. And so in the book i t kind of mirrors the same situation that I would find myself in  taking on these ideas in the context of my social background. I - You have said a lot there. I got this feeling of like in your maturity now, what you know now you put articulately what you were experiencing probably just as deeply back then, but you can articulate i t so much more clearly now. (CR agrees) There was that hopelessness back then, like that hopelessness was what is my meaning in life? The feeling I got is that what I'm at is quite meaningless. That entrapped feeling of I am destined for this boring thing that I don't want anyway. And then you found the alternative for some meaningfulness. (CR agrees) You have made i t clear in some maturity and distance travelled and a lot of knowledge taken in. You alluded to a lot of important concepts, like a philosophy of l i f e . CR - Yeah, that's right. A different sense of what I was involved with in, more reflective given that distance, that time between. I - Did this book reveal any new qualities to you about yourself? If so, what? - 76 -CR - I don't know that i t revealed any new qualities particularly. You know affirmed or encouraged some in particular and their  expression. I - How did the world presented in the book, f i t with the way that you see the world? CR - The way I see i t . I - Or saw i t . I guess i t would have to be saw i t given back then. CR - It didn't f i t . That's how i t f i t , (laugh) In that i t provided a different way, world view. And i t was a world view that was set up in opposition to the prevailing North American Cultural scene. Analogous to ? set something up for me, i t ' s different. I - It f i t in that i t didn't f i t . It was another alternative to what you didn't want. CR - Right. Yeah, with a sense of some kind of heroic sense to i t too. That would be possible to actually do something other than what I was doing. I - How does heroic f i t in? I am not clear. CR - It's that well the characters in there are are continually in senses fighting a battle against incredible odds. And yet do i t regardless of consequences. Just because i t seems to be the only thing with any real meaning to them. So they go out and do i t . I - It's l i k e that persevering because of the commitment. And desire, and you f e l t that yourself? CR - Ya, Ya that's i t ' s worthwhile. That there i s actually something worthwhile and you don't need to continue just out of  habit or out of convention. I - So the heroic too i s that even though the struggle isn't easy, i t ' s worthwhile. (CR agrees) It's worthwhile because that i s what you have to do. CR - Ya, Ya li k e the book as I said i t ' s not always entirely up, but i t always moves up and down. It has that sort of intensity that l i f e i s really being f u l l y lived, and experienced. I - What did the characters in this book mean to you? You commented on the relationship, i s there anything more? - 77 -CR - There i s the two main characters and then there i s the whole c i r c l e of people that hung out together. In San Francisco and in that whole scene. And then there i s a lot of you know, secondary characters that Karouack meets on the road and the forest rangers that he runs into. A lot of l i t t l e vignettes about this person, that person. And they are a l l lik e really sharp and clear. And then there i s also a bit about his family. And his v i s i t with family, his brother-in-law and sister and bits about his mother. Then there are the two main characters. I think I have mentioned, touched on a good part of what they mean or represent including the kind of heroic stature. The type of hope they  they embodied and the energy they embodied was very important. I - Did you actually feel that you somehow mirrored or were able to get that important relationship with another fellow in your travels? Did you experience something similar i n your travels? CR - Yeah, I did. But i t ' s lik e part of the book now, I guess partly in retrospect, in that i t ' s somewhat shallow, doesn't go into depth i n any of those kind of things. It tends, in some ways, again, along with the heroic kind of thing, very very clear characters, without a lot of subtlety in their relationships. But I found the time there was one guy i n particular with that I hitch-hiked with and we hung out together and went hiking with him. You know did, anchored into some of that. So I did find to some extent, people to work sort of through some of those same spaces, um physically in the world and also through talking and relating to ideas. That was with some other people. There were always maybe two or three guys that I could relate to on that l e v e l . In which case to some extent the book was modelled  for being. I - I am curious, when you went out to travel, were you hoping to get that? Or when i t was happening, did you actually say in your mind oh, this i s similar to - ? CR - Not so much directly, no. The nearest lik e to a direct relation-ship would just be a sense of well here I am, I'm out hitch-hiking and I am open to whatever experience comes along. And that's the way i t i s . (I say just that openness) Ya, just whatever i s going on. And the more experience, the more intense, l i k e that, (laugh) I - Did you get a quickened sense of the meaning of your own l i f e and i t s temporariness from reading the book? And did you get a sense of the eternal nature of your own l i f e and i t s commonality with others across time and history? CR - It's very those are both two conceptually, but i n terms of actually experiencing. Like I say a large part of the book uh, - 78 -K a r o u a c k i n h i s mu s i n g s and a l o t o f what he w r i t e s i s a need f o r c a r e f o r e a c h o t h e r and g i v e n t h a t e v e r y o n e i s d y i n g , t h a t e v e r y t h i n g i s empty , e v e r y t h i n g i s v e r y impermanent and f i l l e d w i t h a l o t o f s a d n e s s a b o u t t h a t . And t h e i d e a t h a t u n d e r l y i n g a l l t h i s i s t h e s e n s e o f God o r - e m p t i n e s s . So t h o s e a r e v e r y s t r o n g c o n c e p t u a l l y so I d i d r e l a t e t o t h a t b u t , s ee I am l o o k i n g a t i t i n r e t r o s p e c t when my e x p e r i e n c e o f t h o s e t h i n g s i s so much d e e p e r . And so i t ' s you know I know t h a t i t was p r e s e n t . And I know t h a t t h e book p r o b a b l y b r o u g h t some o f t h o s e t h i n g s o u t . I g ue s s t h a t b e i n g i n t h e m o u n t a i n s and r e f l e c t i n g o f t h e b o o k , g o i n g t h r o u g h some o f t h o s e t h i n g s , k i n d o f h e i g h t e n e d my s e n s e o f b e i n g . B u t , a s I s a y , i t ' s h a r d f r o m t h i s p o i n t where I f e e l l i k e I f e e l t h o s e t h i n g s so much more now, a t t h e same t i m e t h e book d i d s o r t o f e n t e r me on a p a t h where t h o s e two a r e a s have c o n t i n u e d t o d e e p e n , b e c a u s e t h e book was a v e r y b i g p a r t o f me t u r n i n g t o E a s t e r n s o u r c e s o f w i s d o m . And t h a t ' s where I s a y e ven c o n c e p t u a l l y , t h o s e a r e v e r y s t r o n g , i n t h e book and d i d c a u s e me t o s t a r t l o o k i n g a t t h a t much more c l e a r l y . ( I a s k t h e two a r e a s , y o u mean?) I mean s o r t o f w h a t , t e m p o r a l i t y and e t e r n i t y , y e a h , b o t h o f t h o s e . I - As i n e t e r n i t y c o u l d be c l o s e t o t h e God I d e a , i s t h a t what you mean? CR - Y e a h , i n t h a t , okay l e t ' s s e e . ( p a u s e ) I - I was c o n f u s e d a b o u t what t h e two a r e a s you were CR - Y e a h , t h o s e t w o , i n t h e q u e s t i o n . I - You have a l o t more d e f i n i t i o n and e x p e r i e n c e ' . (CR s a y s y e a h ) A f t e r h a v i n g r e a d t h e book y o u r e x p e r i e n c e o f b e i n g , I g u e s s w o r l d t e m p o r a l l i f e and t h e g r e a t e r t o o , you c a n r e c a l l h a v i n g e x p e r i e n c e d t h a t t o o b u t n o t a s c l e a r l y a s y ou u n d e r s t a n d i t now. CR - Y e a h , i n t h i n k i n g a b o u t i t now I a l s o am t h i n k i n g t h a t t h e book  k i n d o f opened up t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t o e x p e r i e n c e s a y e t e r n i t y o r  God o r w h a t e v e r , i n a d i f f e r e n t way. L i k e i t k i n d o f r e i n t r o - duced t h e w h o l e n o t i o n t o me, o f s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t y . I t ' s a v e r y  b i g p a r t i n r e i n t r o d u c i n g t h a t i n a way t h a t was v e r y a c c e s s i b l e . I t was o t h e r t h a n j u s t t h e o r i z i n g a b o u t i t , e i t h e r l o g i c a l o r s e r m o n i z i n g . I t was a s e n s e t h a t o kay w e l l , you c o u l d a c t u a l l y  l i v e y o u r l i f e i n s u c h a way you know t h a t t h i s made s e n s e and  you embod ied some o f t h i s . And so t h a t was a c t u a l l y q u i t e  p o w e r f u l , t h a t k i n d o f r e i n t r o d u c t i o n i n t o my l i f e . B e c a u s e I a s a c h i l d , I had gone t o c h u r c h and Sunday S c h o o l a l i t t l e b i t . B u t my f a m i l y was on t h e w h o l e you know t h e y w o u l d say t h e y were-. A n g l i c a n , b u t t h e y w e r e n ' t r e a l l y p r a c t i c i n g . And I d i d n ' t e v e r have much r e l i g i o n , a s a c h i l d o r a s an a d o l e s c e n t , v e r y l i t t l e . - 79 -So the book kind of opened up a way to experience those things  that f i t , the stuff we have been talking about. I - Not only did you get a sense of i t , you also began to act on that again, and l i v e i t . (CR agrees) And now you are much more involved in i t too. (CR agrees) That i s the end of the questions. Is there anything you want to add? CR - The only thing immediately, in the book there i s a couple of times, Karouack meets these old bums. One in the gondola car and both and then another one later in Los Angeles. And both of them have these l i t t l e pieces of paper prayers written on them, that they pull out in times of need and read. And Karouack i s always sort of to t a l l y blown away by these sort of very Saint lik e hobos who he finds wandering around. The book i s very much permeated with that whole experience of s p i r i t u a l i t y . And i t does embody  both those, the f l i p side there, and the very fleeting,  impermanent, sad, sort of nature very poignant sense being and  yet you know very possible very f u l l on the other side. I - Another word, I don't know i f you mentioned this yet, but you used the idea of here I am and an openness, sounds like a point i s freedom too. It's not so narrow and confining l i k e the other world. There i s a f a i r bit of freedom that i s possible to be experienced. Like you say there i s a bit of both. There i s the fleeting and then that incredible enduringness and the freedom involved in that too. CR - Some of things too that change over time i s li k e that sense of freedom which i s l a i d out i n a large part physically, by the characters becomes in i t s e l f quite poignant because i t isn't ultimate freedom. And i s partly the reason why Karouack died the death that he did. Which i s li k e there i s so much hope and pos s i b i l i t y but i t never kind of deepens for Karouack. He got really lost and really confused and his whole vision collapsed and he died a very unpleasant alcoholic sort of death. Thirteen years after the events that took place in the book he was dead. Because of certain misconceptions and that you can see in retro-spect in the book. I - When you were reading the book at that time, were you able to see some of the, lik e you used the word, shallowness, lack of depth, misconceptions. Do you r e c a l l reacting to oh there i s a lot in here, I am going to make some changes because of i t BUT, there i s something that i s not. CR - No, I don't think I did. That has come i n retrospect. Snyder too, he has recently written a foreword to a book by Aiken Roshi (?) he i s an American Zen teacher. Snyder wrote this foreword, Snyder i s into this stuff. He i s sort of the f i r s t - 80 -North American to really immerse himself. He! went and studied in a Zen monastery for seven years. But u n t i l he said i n 75 and he hooked up with Aiken Roshi, and he said that Aiken Roshi and this i s 25 years after what happens in The Parma Bums, that Aiken Roshi sort of convinced him and showed him that i t was necessary to give up a lot of his Bohemianism, kind of radicalism and become more responsible. And drop a lot of the i n i t i a l romanticism that he had had. So again, the whole past, the journey continues to unfold, for everyone involved in i t . It's really interesting. In the foreword he kind of thanks Aiken Roshi for grounding his practice i n a different way. I - It's interesting about the journey. That's so true that there i s obvious travelling points to be gotten through i n that journey. Especially i f you take them only at one point and you don't carry on down the road, they are incomplete (CR agrees), they are not the total picture (CR agrees), they can be faulty and cause a lot of dissatisfaction and problems too. But i t i s that journey quality in that you have to go through certain points to get where you are going. CR - That's right. Ya and hopefully you make i t . It's interesting just looking over that book again in the last few days, i t ' s so poignant some of what Karouack i s saying well we were there and we did i t and we just experienced the best that there possibly was and nothing could ever interfere with that experience that we had. And even though as i t turns out he died miserable, discontent, he s t i l l l i k e put that out at that time and i t ' s s t i l l has that incredibly reverberatory quality. And i t ' s true at that point that i t doesn't matter what came of him because the experience what he opened up and did was so powerful. Same with Neil Cassidy, know who he is? (I say no) He i s another of the same bunch. He comes into the.book with a different name too. But he drove for awhile Ken Kesey's bus with The Merry Pranksters. But he was one of the main inspirations for both Karouack and Ginsberg very close to both of them. And he died similarly, drugged out and drunk in Mexico or something after some of the Merry Prankster stuff. Again, these guys just that had a real vision of what was happening, the rebelliousness and longing for freedom, pursued that path but blew i t i n the end. Went off the deep end for one reason or another. I - In me i t answers I think and partly for you too, I hear you saying that you want that f u l l experience, you want a really deep rich l i f e , but i t has to move forward and I don't, I ' l l speak for myself, I don't want the end to become ugly or wipe away. I always see more peace and fullness at the end. It won't be a f a l l i n g off the deep end as you say, but a realization. That's what I hope. And I hear you saying that too. They had a l o t , - 81 -but they were missing something. You are not intending to f a l l into the same thing. CR - Yes. Yeah, Snyder made i t through and Ginsberg too. They also just continued. Basically because they were able to hook up with teachers. They were able to I think that's the c r i t i c a l difference. Between say Karouack and Cassidy, and Snyder and Ginsberg. They were able to acknowledge they're not knowing and submit to teachings, submit to a teacher, an established situation. Say okay, I'm willing to learn. And I don't know that the others could do that. I - It makes me think about when we were on that walk, about that idea of hearing what i s being said. In that others have things to say and our a b i l i t y to hear them and li s t e n and take them In, i t ' s important too. Again too that idea of community, a community of ideas i s important. Because I don't think, again I speak for myself that I could come to know a l l alone. CR - Yeah, yeah, the c i r c l e increasingly important. Sharing. I - Okay, that's i t ? - 82 -CO-RESEARCHER 2 I - Please try to r e c a l l a novel that you read that made an impression on you, or which in some way strongly affected or influenced you; try to describe the impressions that i t made on you. CR - Okay, I was thinking of the Book of Eve by Constance Barisford Howe. And some of the impressions that i t made on me were, uh,  a deeper understanding of the trapped position women feel caught  in sometimes through marriage. And uh, I was enthused about  what I saw as a different way to remove oneself. And i t said a  lot to me about responsibility, and responsibility to others versus self-responsibility. I - Do you want to elaborate what you mean by that? Responsibility to self and to others, which one was the new perspective? CR - The new perspective. Mmeh. I don't know i f i t was a new per-spective as much as i t was a very emphasized vision that when we  truly take care of ourselves, take responsibility for our own happiness, that somehow other people don't f a l l apart. That they w i l l then, i t allows other people to take responsibility for  themselves, in an adult fashion, i f we are taking care of  ourselves. So I don't know i f i t was exactly a new perspective, but i t certainly was underlined in the thinking that I had  already had. I - I see, that's clear, so you are saying that i f i n i t i a l l y , you answer for yourself, and i f you are true to yourself, then that in a sense puts that responsibility on others to do the same. But i f your behavior i s guided by concern for other people and so on, and you are not answering to yourself then i t seems to get a l l confused. CR - Right. Exactly. Yeah. I - So that was, the impression was that the strong commitment to self and following that was that i t would follow. CR - Right. And also, i t was an interesting novel in terms of agism. Because the thesis of the novel was that you really are not ever  too old for change. So, I also liked that perspective of i t . And I liked the perspective of, that everything costs us some- thing, but that sometimes, the things that look lik e we are given  for free, cost us more than what society says. I I realize that I am not sounding at a l l clear. But Eve, in this novel, gave up, um, a middle class l i f e to become a bag lady. And as a bag lady, - 83 -the cost involved for her to do that, to become a bag lady, was much less than the cost of being a middle class housewife, i n a comfortable home. I - This book was described to me a l i t t l e , and the feeling I got from that was that in her supposed material environment, or whatever, she was actually a prisoner (CR agrees) but when she l e f t that, she actually had more freedom. So the freedom was the cost in the supposed comfortable surrounding. (CR says right, right) Whereas she may not have had a l l the clothing and so on, she had something more valuable. (CR agrees) That's how I related to what you were saying. (CR says yeah) Does that f i n i s h your impressions that you want to share? CR - I think so. I - This i s a delving in deeper. What i s i t that allows you to be sure that i t made a strong impression on you? CR - Um (pause) I think, you know when I was trying to think about i t , I was trying to think clearly had I read this book in a period of deciding whether or not to come out of my marriage. Or had I read i t very shortly afterwards. And I am not quite sure now, because this i s some time ago. But, I have the sense of i t connecting to that time. That somehow Eve's courage in throwing  up the societal encumbrances of comfort, somehow i s connected in  my mind with leaving my marriage. So, I don't know i f i t was  immediately before, or immediately after that I read i t . But, whatever, I, in times around the disillusionment of my marriage, I f e l t , um, a kind of comfort and connecting with her. That,  things, when things get very bad, that in fact are better very  often. So there was a strong sense of encouragement that  came out of that novel. I - Yes, i t and sounds also l i k e there was a confirmation, that whether you were just deciding to make that decision, or you had just decided i t , even though there was a lot of pain, there was a confirmation that whatever you have done you have done for good reason.. (CR agrees) (pause) Also, the time factor allows me to think that, that stayed with you. (CR says oh yes) That you can feel that strength of commitment and facing up to that situation. CR - Yeah, and i t was very strongly taken with the commonality of a l l  women's experience. I gave that novel around to so many  different women to read, including women li k e my mother, who have grade five education, and could identify with her to t a l l y . And you know other women with very different educational backgrounds  and different um, socioeconomic backgrounds, a l l find i t very  relevant. When I came to work in this o f f i c e , I had only been here a few days when I found out that the counsellor who shares - 8 4 -the office next to me, said she used to buy that novel by the dozens, and give i t away to students as they came i n . And then I discovered that another counsellor in the office also considered i t one of her very favorite novels. And I'm so  impressed with how many people read that book and so much  identify with her. I - You are saying that i t has like the specific impact for an individual, but yet i t seems to hit CR - A l l women I - across any category (CR agrees) so i t has that enduring uh CR - Yeah, a right a universality. And my aunt who barely speaks English, struggled through i t , and has made references to Eve. You know (laugh) several times after that. Just uh (pause) I - I think you started to allude to this, or you have already, in that i s there anything in particular that you were aiming at when you were f i r s t reading the book? And then during reading the book and after? CR - Yeah, I guess finding myself to use a potential (laugh) phrase. Um, just in terms of who I was, and what I wanted in l i f e . Um, and whether or not I could in fact survive on my own. And I do, you know, I certainly remember that period of finding myself in the world with a son to support and thirty dollars in the bank and nothing else at a l l . And feeling somehow okay and recognizing that, that, that i t was okay. That I knew that somehow, or other that I could scrounge together enough to l i v e on. That, that wasn't a problem. Whereas when I had had a husband, who was professional, but made a very average (laugh) kind of salary, I was always fearful of landing in the poorhouse. I would say, "Now what do you think, do you think we are going to land in the poorhouse, whatever that i s ? " And I would say "Yeah, I'm t e r r i f i e d of i t . " And somehow, you know like Eve, who lost  everything, she didn't have a sense of being poor. But really  had a sense of of being very wealthy of s p i r i t , and i t was okay.  And I remember identifying with her at that time. And i t really  was okay to only have thirty dollars in the world. I - Because you had a sel f - d e f i n i t i o n type thing. (CR agrees) I may be putting some words in your mouth, but I also get the feeling that um with the definition of who you are and knowing yourself, and you had a fa i t h in yourself, and knowing that whatever you were going to do in the future would be founded on a solid feeling of who you were. (CR agrees) And you would move on. (CR says exactly) There was that hope. So that would be also then during reading the book and afterwards? (CR says - 85 -right) That kind of feeling? (CR says yes) You weren't clear on whether your marriage break up was just prior to reading the book, or after. (CR says right) But, I'm asking, What were you experiencing before you were reading this book and then during and after? So i t could be that, and then just generally? CR - Well, I guess I was experiencing a feeling of being trapped in a  situation that I didn't feel a hundred percent happy. And"  worrying and fearing what would happen to me i f I got out of i t . Um, and that just brought to mind something else that certainly at that time I was also experiencing, beforehand. Uh, a need to  f i t into society in terms of appearance. Not in terms of actions, because I think I've always been quite um, nonconven-tional. But nonconventional in a "groovy" way. (laugh) But certainly in terms of the way I looked and the way I decorated my place and so on. It was always with, conformity to societal standards. And there were passages, the passage where Eve found herself suddenly wearing boys' running shoes, and her clothes were tattered. And she ran across a granddaughter who was so shocked to see her in that condition. And I (pause) don't know why that was so important to me, but i t was like the last hold out that anyone should see her i n such reduced circumstances. So I guess that's what, uh, uh, I am aware of something very, very hazy here. But I am aware of that feeling of somehow a  release that came afterwards, after reading that novel. After  getting out of my marriage. That I was being seen at my very worst, when I had nothing to put on my back. And uh, somehow  the worst that could happen to a person of my cultural upbringing  would be to be l e f t on my own as a woman of the world. And i t would seem l i k e I was cast out and nobody wanted me and that kind of thing. And there I was in that kind of embarrassing position, and i t wasn't embarrassing once I was there. But i t also was  less embarrassing because I was aware suddenly of identifying  with those women who were (laugh) bag ladies downtown. And  thinking, my God, these are women with a real history behind  them, and maybe their l i f e was a choice. Before, I had always  seen i t as somehow not a choice, but inevitable. It had never  occurred to me that some of them might have thrown aside other  things to get there. I - I get the reaction that people draw conclusions from for example your position, and they infer things about you which could be quite negative. Same thing l i k e you see a bag lady on the street and because of her appearance you infer many things about her, but both in Eve you are saying and yourself there was a well thought out and firmly committed to point of view. And that was what was important. Is that what you are saying? - 86 -CR - Yeah, I am. Yeah. I guess and also, I mean she, that also connects with another novel, Aborah, by Joan Barfoot, but which I have read more recently, but where the heroine i s seen as as highly eccentric, nobody could imagine what she would be doing l i v i n g a l l alone in the woods. You know, just as Eve would be seen as highly eccentric. But in fact, those women were very middle class women. The same as me, the same as most of the  people I'm around, under the skin. But they were choosing to do something that seemed eccentric. And I like that. I mean  i t has given me a different vision of eccentric people. Truly eccentric not just groovily eccentric. But people that we really kind of finger as odd. But maybe ultra sane. I - So, in your afterwards, you seem to have a different attitude, about these women and also CR - Yeah, about myself. But also just about other other people in general. I mean I really am looking at those people with a much  different perspective, (pause) I - Yeah, I see your, i f I can put i t into words, uh, just more, there i s more depth and you are not as categorized. (CR agrees) There i s that common feeling. Again i t brought me back to what you were saying about they are middle class women even though how they appear. So i t ' s l i k e women are women and people are people, even beyond those eccentricities. CR - Yeah, exactly. Because, I mean I've always lik e eccentric • people, but I've always seen them from kind of a distance vision. Like, interesting. And I've always been the kind of person who likes to find out everything about them. You know that's why I'm in Psychology because I l i k e to know what happens inside people. But now I don't see them from a distance point of view. But they are interesting, they're interesting l i k e I am. I see them as part of me. Whereas before I just saw them really as  kind of objects. Of observation. I - That's really clear, (pause) Do you feel that you have answered the before, during and afterwards? (CR says yes) This book, did you discuss i t with yourself while you were reading i t , and/or with other people while you were reading i t ? Before, during and after? CR - I ran across i t i n a discount book store, and I liked the cover. A woman in a rocking chair with a cat beside her. I just liked „ the cover and i t was Canadian, and I li k e Canadian stuff and I had never heard of i t so I picked i t up. Um, I think I probably  read i t in one s i t t i n g . Because i t ' s a small novel. But I had  certainly no sooner put i t down than I was buying i t for  everyone. I mean I do remember going out and buying a dozen - 87 -copies and just sending them around to everyone. I was that  enthusiastic about i t . And I've done a lot of talking about i t  since. In fact, I have developed a group around the novel. I - That actually ties into the strong effect, in that you read i t in one s i t t i n g , you went out and bought a bunch of copies and then, as far as discussing i t , you discussed i t in a group situation. And with individuals too? CR - Oh yeah, with lots of friends, with lots of individuals. 1_ recommend i t a lot to students who are coming in here. " Sometimes for their mothers, sometimes as an understanding of their mothers, i f they are young students. I - Okay, that's pretty definite! (laugh) How about with yourself, while you were reading i t ? I guess because i t was in one s i t t i n g -CR - Yeah, I mean I'm assuming i t was in one s i t t i n g . I don't actually remember s i t t i n g down with i t , but I I most often read for long periods when I'm reading. And I assume i t was in one s i t t i n g . And i f i t was not, then i t was one night and then the next morning, you know, something l i k e that. And I think the whole time I was reading i t , I was thinking what i t would be lik e  to be in her shoes and to be identifying with her. I - So there was in a sense getting into her experience, and wondering what her experience would be lik e for you. (CR says very much so) That idea of going in and out of yourself and her. (CR agrees) (pause) In having read this book, what differences do you detect i n yourself? You have mentioned an attitude change. CR - Yeah, certainly an attitude change. Um, a tolerance and respect  for other people that I would either dismiss or distance myself  from. Uh, I have more of a sense that things w i l l work out okay I feel more courageous, as a result of that novel, oddly enough. Yeah, I do. I feel courageous. I - I'm smiling because that's been said to me a few times. That seems to be a common thing, that there i s more hope, or there i s more motivation and courage too. Is a difference also that you feel more part of people? You were saying that they were more objects and,now that you feel they are part of you. Do you feel that i s a difference? CR - Yeah, I feel part of a group of people that I didn't feel part ~. of before. Yeah, and also, I feel more courage in terms of how.  I l i v e my l i f e . I feel more courage also in terms of agism. I think when I f i r s t read the novel, I mean so that must have been - 88 -maybe, seven years ago, now at this stage, six or seven years ago, I wasn't thinking in terms so much of sexuality and aging. But now that I'm 41, I am now um, I'm more aware of my myself and my my, I was going to say my position in society, my my value, that's what the word I was searching for i s . My value i n society as a woman diminishing because of my sexual attractiveness diminishing. I mean that i s something that has certainly come right into the forefront i n the last three years of my l i f e . Which wasn't there at a l l before, I took i t for granted. That I would always have a number of men around me, seeking me out. Now, I don't feel that at a l l . I am certainly not aware of i t and I don't feel i t . I feel that i s a part of my l i f e that i s over. And when I reflect on Eve, and the fact that there she was s t i l l being sexual when she was seventy. Again, I feel that courage. Well maybe that isn't over for me. Maybe I can get fat, or maybe I can be a bag woman, maybe I can not wash my hair for three months and someone i s s t i l l l i k e l y to be around and find me attractive, i f I'm involved with l i f e . So that has become more important to me now out of that novel than i t did at the time. But c e r t a i n l y . i t was always there in back, in the back of my head too. I mean, because I guess i t was coming. I'm just at the right age for i t . I - You were saying that the worst possible thing was for a relative of hers to see her in that condition, but yet, there was that strong inner beauty, I guess you could say that was emanating out. So there i s that issue of external beauty, but also, l i k e you say that being involved with l i f e and that energy and care being projected out. So even given her appearance, that sexuality was (CR says s t i l l there, yeah) So given even the most adverse conditions, you could recognize there was that in her. (CR agrees) CR - It i s my hope for old age. I - The fact that growth and change, and hope, as you say i s enduring. CR - Yeah, because I very quickly get into that. I mean certainly at 41, I often now can get into that feeling of "Oh my God, my l i f e i s over!" You know, where do I go from here? I really am trapped and so on. And i t does help me to reflect on that. That maybe i t ' s not. That in fact Eve was awakening at 65 when she got her f i r s t old age pension cheque. And i t was really fine. So maybe i t w i l l be fine for me too. I - A thought that went through my mind i s that you, that awakening, made me think this. That often people don't l i v e l i f e f u l l y (CR agrees) u n t i l they do awaken. And that can happen at whatever age. But at least she did awaken, even i f i t was at 65. So that - 89 -i s where the courage and inspiration come from. That i t did happen, and for you too. (CR says yes) (pause) What made this reading experience easy or d i f f i c u l t , enjoyable or disagreeable? CR - I guess the fact that made i t easy i f this i s what you are asking, i s that i t was a well written novel, without being literature. I don't think i t , I mean,I wduld never recommend i t as a fine piece of literature. And yet, i t was very captivating and very pleasurable to read. That novel did not lag at a l l , anywhere. Um, I guess what made i t pleasurable was that I had the luxury also the time to read i t . I - It compelled you too, you were saying. You read i t i n one si t t i n g . (CR agrees) I guess that made i t easy. Like you say i t didn't lag so you were compelled and i t was over and done with. (CR agrees) Was there anything disagreeable or d i f f i c u l t for you? CR - No, I don't remember anything. I - What was so important about this book for your sense of meaning of l i f e ? CR - Change can happen at any time. Um, that sexuality goes on even  when we are older and not attractive. Um, that everything has a cost, but sometimes the costs are hidden. And when the costs are right out in the open and then things are easier to deal with. That being down at the bottom paradoxically can be being at  the top. I - Did this book reveal any new qualities to you about yourself? CR - Maybe (pause) maybe a kind of a, I don't know i f , a new kind, well, I'm very impulsive, and certainly Eve did what she did changed her l i f e in i t s entire direction on an impulse. She didn't plan her move out. She got her cheque, she picked up her radio, put i t under her arm and l e f t her husband within the opening paragraph. But i t was not premeditated. And I think that I also make major decisions very impulsively, by gut reaction. And so I don't know, i t ' s certainly not a new quality I recognize in myself. But a kind of a, an acceptance of of a  spunky impulsiveness that. A deeper respect for my gut feeling. I - Right l i k e a trust. CR - A trust in my gut feeling. Right. - 90 -I - You are really answering what i s calling out to you. (CR agrees and says yeah, I do) You respect that in her and now in yourself more. CR - And while I recognize that i n myself more, that I am very impulsive somehow this affirmed for me that i t i s fine to be  impulsive. I - How did the world presented in the book f i t with the way you see the world? CR - The world presented in the book f i t with my perception of the  world. It seemed to me li k e a very r e a l i s t i c presentation of  the world. Um, the characters seemed real, the um fact that there are feels l i k e there are always people around to help us out and there are always people to c r i t i c i z e us. And that people in the world in general seem to be conservative and emphatic around responsibility. People really l i k e order i n the world, and do not l i k e impulsivity. And that i s how I see the world. That impulsivity and trusting a gut reaction i s something that our world would deny us. And i t certainly was that way in the novel, for Eve, and I think i t i s that way in the world generally. That there i s a real drive to maintaining the status quo and to reminding people what their responsibility i s . And i t ' s always to everyone else, very seldom to themselves, (laugh) I - So that was the perception, but this book showed the other side. That indeed i f you didn't go for the status quo, but did go for the gut feelings and recognize them, that's where the true freedom and comfort and satisfaction l i e s . (CR says for sure) What did the characters in this book mean to you? You have discussed you and Eve, i s there any other characters you want to discuss, or more about that? CR - No, I guess, I guess her husband, who was an invalid, not able to take care of himself. Seems to me to epitomize an enormous  number of people that I know. Not my husband because my husband was very encouraging of the break up of our marriage. But, i t seems to me that in my l i f e and everyone's l i f e there are always  people l i k e Eve's husband whom we cannot hurt, whom we feel we  cannot hurt, whom we feel we must protect. And I did think a lot  about him at that time, and how in fact his l i f e improved when i t looked for a l l the world l i k e this person was just going to drown. Things really did work out well for him. And uh, so I thought quite a bit about him. And I thought quite a bit about  her son who was devastated at her leaving. And yet too, once given time, and once given the trust that he could adjust to i t , did adjust to i t , very well, and also came to see the situation. And he grew, i t was li k e i f she, I'm off on a tangent here, but i f you trust people to grow, they w i l l grow. But i f you keep - 91 -protecting them, they never do 'cause you don't give them the chance to grow as long as you are protecting people. I - It's l i k e the idea of symbiotic relationship in that you both need each other, there i s no freedom on either side. But i f you answer to the freedom, then you yourself are more satisfied and the other person i s challenged to do their own also. (CR agrees) Is there anything else you wanted to say about Eve or? CR - I don't think so. (pause) I - The last two questions connect together, so I ' l l ask them together. Did you get a quickened sense of the meaning of your own l i f e , and i t s temporariness? The second, did you get a sense of the eternal nature of your own l i f e and i t s commonality across time and history? CR - Yeah, I don't think I got a quickened sense of my own l i f e , I mean I may have, but I don't remember that. But certainly, yes, to the latter part of that question. Yes. I - In your answer you used the word universality (CR says yes), between women. That connection that they could f e e l , these women no matter what CR - age, culture, right I - that they could feel CR - and identify with her, yes. I - Is there anything else that you would l i k e to add? CR - Read i t ! (laugh) No, I don't think that I have anything else to add except one of the interesting things i s that in a sense I feel l i k e I'm kind of growing with that novel. And i t was interesting because I, I probably have read i t six times at this  stage. I read i t you know, f a i r l y often, i t seems. Once a year, or once every couple of years. And when I used i t this past year in a group situation, and reread i t just ahead of the group, I found that that some of my perceptions had changed. And i t was, and another group leader who was co-leading with me also found the same thing. We were beginning to question that Eve could not have changed her l i f e within her relationship. And at the time I read i t I would have said that absolutely not, that she had to get out. Now I f e l t more i n tune with um, with responsibility to others as well as herself. And could she have changed i t without doing i t so drastically to other people? So - 92 -i t sounds like I'm countering everything I said, i t ' s not really,  i t ' s just/that I feel a l i t t l e more questioning of how she  did i t . (tape change missed a l i t t l e bit) I - The main idea of listening to your gut reaction and feelings, you are questioning whether that could have been done within that framework. I guess that point i s that owning up to that feeling, to what you really want out of l i f e and that's what's important. (CR says yes) And whether that be done really radically, in some cases i t may have to be, but maybe in other cases i t doesn't have to be. CR - Yeah, l i k e I think she could have done i t , I mean now, I think she could have done i t radically. She s t i l l could have maintained some contact with her son, for instance, you know. She cut everyone off t o t a l l y . And I think that in a sense, now I am aware that that, by doing that in a sense she denied her granddaughter who she was very attached to, the chance to relate to her. And she denied her son the right to have some contact with his mother. And so I think she s t i l l could have done i t in  a radical way, but modified, somewhat. Without break, because  in a way she also destroyed more for herself than she need have. I - Another way to look at i t i s that maybe she could have started off more tempered and i f that didn't work, then have gotten more radical. CR - Or been very radical, follow her gut feeling, but then allowed herself to go back somewhat. You know, i t ' s l i k e pulling an  elastic band far beyond where i t stretches, \so that i t relaxes  to a place not where i t was, but to somehere in between, so i t ' s enlarged. And I think that she might have once she had done that, then allowed herself to absorb some of;what she had had. She didn't. And I didn't see that at all,when I f i r s t read i t , but I do now. But not to deny her what she did. I - Is that everything then? CR - I believe so yeah. I - Okay, thank you very much. - 93 -CO-RESEARCHER 3 I - Please try to r e c a l l a novel that you read that made an impression on you, or which i n some way strongly affected or influenced you; try to describe the impression that i t made on you. CR - The novel I chose was East of Eden by John Steinbeck. And I read the novel shortly after I saw Cannery Row. I had read i t when I was young. About 16 or 17. I was affected by i t then, but didn't understand i t . And read i t again this year and understood i t . And the impressions i t made on me, very clearly and simply. The impression, the overall or overriding impression was that of  the magnificence of the human s p i r i t , the glory of the human  s p i r i t . Then there were many other impressions as well. But that's that overriding one. I - Could you mention some of the other impressions too? CR - Actually the word impressions i s d i f f i c u l t to work around because i t ' s the effect something has more than an impression. Unless you mean i t i t sort of imprints you with something, i t impresses i t s e l f on you. I - It could be the influence or affect too. Or. the feelings that you had. CR - Let's talk about the feelings that i t c a l l s up f i r s t of a l l . Um, I think one of the most significant ones was the power of e v i l and the power of good, that exist in a duality. And the choices  that one can make to go one way or the other. The fact that things are not always set from the beginning. That there i s room for change, that there i s hope. That even though there seem to be stone cold laws written into man's dealings with man or the universe's dealings with man, or God's dealings with man, these are not hard and set rules. They can change on man's own taking of the situation of himself in hand and making a change. So in a sense i t ' s renewal, a revival of the dignity of the human s p i r i t . That he wasn't l e f t alone to flap around i n the universe doing what he was programmed to do. And that there was hope for  humanity generally as well as with individuals. To take i t s e l f  in hand to change, from choosing death to choosing l i f e . Which i s a re v i t a l i z i n g idea. I - For you then there i s the idea of the choice, and i t ' s a dignified, positive choice, i n a growth sense in humanity and i n individuals. - 94 -CR - I would say i n a hope sense, rather than a growth sense. I - Hope meaning? CR - Meaning there i s always a chance, (pause) I feel like I could elaborate longer on that, but need more questions to draw out of me what i t i s . I - Do you feel finished with this one then? CR - Right now, yes. I - Okay, What i s i t that allows you to feel that i t had a strong effect on you? CR - I guess because I was ready to be affected. I think i t probably came, well I know that the book and i t s substance came at at a  low point in the sense of the turning about in my own l i f e and  wanting something. Wanting to know something that needed to be  known. To find a new direction. Sort of a searching about. And the book l i k e this sort of happened along. Well I chose i t . But in a way i t sort of came along, and I I listened to i t and i t  said the things that I needed for i t to say. But not simply  because of the ideas presented in the book, but because of the  way i t was done. And i t was done through the manoeverings of  of people. Through the relationships, through characters, through humans interacting and so on. And I find when I'm reading a book of any kind i f i t involves the unravelling of human nature, the searching of the human soul for why and reasons for what i t does and why i t i s the way i t i s . And I'm always, I'm always l i k e I'm always impressed. I'm always open and wanting to hear, wanting to interact with the author. How, what i s he doing, his people. And wanting to say yes that's valid, those are real people who have been understood in my l i f e . I I  was very impressed with the strength of the visual images that  this author created through landscape and character. And i t  drew me i n . I - You said you were searching and thinking of in a sense making or going to make some choices. And then the book, the idea of choices that you, that seemed to really connect with you. CR - That's right. The v a l i d i t y of making choices and determining  your own l i f e ' s pattern or flow of your l i f e . That somehow i t has an effect. Things are not totall y arbitrary. That and  also the sense of being somebody. Of having dignity as a human  being regardless of cultural standards as to status. Or what culture determines as being valuable. I think that I was looking for a mentor or someone to say, to t e l l me about the dignity of the human being, body soul and s p i r i t . And l i k e his vali d i t y of - 95 -e x i s t i n g here i n the world, i n the u n i v e r s e . That he has substance, s t a t u r e simply because he's a l i v e he can be. I - So as you mentioned, your main impression was the human s p i r i t . (CR says t h a t ' s r i g h t ) And t h a t as you say no matter what c u l t u r e , whatever you come from, i t ' s j u s t your humanness and your s p i r i t u a l i t y too. That meaning from t h a t . CR - That's r i g h t . I t h i n k the other aspect of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r book was t h a t he hung, the author hung h i s , he hung h i s v a l u e s , he communicated h i s h i s sense of the d u a l i t y of human nature, i t s e v i l and i t s goodness and t h i s t e n s i o n . He hung i t onto some t r a d i t i o n a l value t h a t I cou l d I myself h e l d . So he v a l i d a t e d  f o r me my my own u p b r i n g i n g . He v a l i d a t e d s o r t of t r a d i t i o n a l C h r i s t i a n v a l u e s . And because I understood them and the re f e r e n c e s t h a t he used t o s c r i p t u r e and so on. The ones t h a t I al r e a d y knew and understood, and he v a l i d a t e d t h a t experience  f o r me. I - Not only i s there t h a t connection t h a t you had, there i s t h a t a f f i r m a t i o n and v a l i d a t i o n . You s a i d t h a t what you f e l t , he was t a l k i n g about and r e i n f o r c i n g i n some sense I guess. CR - ' W e l l , perhaps not,the essence as much as the form. There are many I mean there are many modern f i c t i o n w r i t e r s who perhaps would be t r y i n g to communicate the same v a l u e s , but they would be hanging them on d i f f e r e n t forms. And I shy away from those forms because I don't understand I don't r e l a t e t o chaos. And he was  hanging them onto forms of t r a d i t i o n a l s t r u c t u r e . The values of f a m i l y of ge n e r a t i o n s , maybe g e n e r a t i o n a l i t y , whatever you want to c a l l i t , of f a t h e r s and sons, of the i n t e r f e r e n c e of God i n man's e x i s t e n c e . H i s meddling, h i s c o n t i n u a l meddling w i t h t h i n g s t h a t I wanted t o continue t o hear. Which a c t u a l l y r a i s e s the q u e s t i o n as t o whether whether, more an i n t e l l e c t u a l q u e s t i o n whether you read f i c t i o n to v a l i d a t e what we al r e a d y know, or do we read t o l e a r n and reach beyond? There must be a way t h a t i t works t o g e t h e r , but I'm not sure. I r e a l l y am not sure i f the a r t form i t s e l f h e lps t o keep us i n our s t r u c t u r e s and forms t h a t we a l r e a d y know and f e e l f a m i l i a r w i t h . Because I know t h a t I would r a t h e r read a t r a d i t i o n a l novel l i k e t h a t then having chosen something by James Joyce. I simply cannot r e l a t e t o the form, so t h a t the i d e a i s l o s t on me as w e l l . So th e r e i s th a t problem w i t h the a r t form i t s e l f . Whether or not we can r e a l l y l e a r n from f i c t i o n . I - W e l l a c t u a l l y there i s a qu e s t i o n I t h i n k t h a t might tap i n t o t h a t . I ' l l l e a v e i t a t t h a t f o r now, i f t h a t ' s okay. (CR says yes) I s there anything i n p a r t i c u l a r t h a t you were aiming a t when you f i r s t began t o read t h i s book? - 96 -CR - I wanted a good read. I wanted a good s t o r y , something w i t h a beginning, a middle and an end. That had c h a r a c t e r and p l o t and landscape and l o t s of d e t a i l . And I got i t . (laugh) I - Okay? (CR says yes) And during your reading of the book, what were you aiming at? CR - I wasn't aiming at anything . I wasn't l o o k i n g f o r a s p e c i f i c  t h i n g . I merely found i t as I went along. I - And afterwards d i d you have an aim a f t e r reading the book? CR - No. I had an o r i e n t a t i o n , but not an aim. In a sense of a g o a l . I - Do you want to mention your o r i e n t a t i o n ? CR - W e l l I t h i n k simply the o r i e n t a t i o n was to see myself, my world  and my e v e r y t h i n g through a d i f f e r e n t set of eyes. I - Set of eyes. How were they d i f f e r e n t ? CR - Um w e l l r e f e r r i n g back t o the e f f e c t t h a t the book had on me. The d i f f e r e n t set of eyes were a changed p e r s p e c t i v e . Um l o o k i n g l o o k i n g at t h i n g s from a greater sense of s t a t u r e , substance and because I was because I became more as a person, everybody around  me a l s o d i d . And I t h i n k I was happier to l e t them be d u a l i t i e s . To l e t them t o l e t myself and the world and everybody t h a t I knew r o l l around i n those goodnesses and badnesses t h a t t h a t we a l l have. Without f l a i l i n g a g a i n s t i t , without saying t h i s can't be. You can't have, you can't be bad, we're a l l so good and so on and so f o r t h . But um maybe the sense t h a t i t d i d was remove me a  l i t t l e from a t r y i n g to work out the t e n s i o n s and j u s t a l l o w i n g  i t to be. And uh f e e l i n g not q u i t e so caught between and spun  around. I - In a sense I'm g e t t i n g the i d e a t h a t there was more t o l e r a n c e or acceptance f o r those q u a l i t i e s . ' CR - That's probably one word to use. I - What were you e x p e r i e n c i n g before you read t h i s book? CR - A c t u a l l y what I t h i n k I had experienced f o r about the s i x months befor e , about Christmas or so when I read t h i s book, was a l o s s of a sense of p l a c e . And i t had to do a c t u a l l y i n some degree w i t h moving away from a childhood o r i e n t a t i o n i n a r e l i g i o u s c o n t e x t . And I grew up as, being brought up i n an E v a n g e l i c a l C h r i s t i a n home and had implanted i n me many s o r t of t r a d i t i o n a l . C h r i s t i a n v a l u e s . And had k i n d of pursued t h a t . And my married l i f e as w e l l and having l e f t home always f e e l i n g t h a t I had t o i n - 97 -some way hone i n on a community where t h o s e v a l u e s were r e s p e c t e d . B u t i n t h e l a s t y e a r , I f e l t an i n c r e a s i n g d i s t a n c i n g f r o m f r o m many o f t h e e x p r e s s i o n s t h a t t h e s e v a l u e s were t a k i n g . Among f r i e n d s , among c h u r c h community and so on. And do what I was d o i n g was c u t t i n g a l l c u t t i n g away my t i e s and l e a v i n g home, r e a l l y f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e . And i n t h e p r o c e s s o f l e a v i n g home I was madly l o o k i n g a r o u n d f o r m e n t o r s , o r p e o p l e who s a i d y e s , t h i s i s a good t h i n g t o do. T h i s i s a good t h i s i s a h e a l t h y d i r e c t i o n , you won't d i e i f you c u t y o u r s e l f o f f . Y o u ' l l f i n d y o u r way, o r t h e r e i s a way. And you don't need t o know e v e r y t h i n g r i g h t away. And I a l w a y s t u r n t o books f o r my m e n t o r s because I d o n ' t j u s t f i n d many p e o p l e i n my l i f e who p r o v i d e t h a t . I - What were you e x p e r i e n c i n g d u r i n g y o u r r e a d i n g o f t h e book? CR - W e l l a g r e a t s e n s e o f i n v o l v e m e n t f o r one t h i n g . I was v e r y i n v o l v e d w i t h t h e uh, I r e a d s l o w l y , j u s t s a v o r i n g e v e r y word, e v e r y p h r a s e , e v e r y e x p r e s s i o n . E v e r y t i m e I came back t o t h e book and uh r e a d a n o t h e r c h a p t e r i t was l i k e r e t u r n i n g t o a s t r e a m o f w a t e r . I I c o u l d h a r d l y w a i t t o g e t t h r o u g h t h e day  o r t h e b u s i n e s s o r w h a t e v e r had t o come f i r s t , t o g e t back t o  t h e book. I t was l i k e I d i d n ' t want i t t o end and I wanted i t  t o go on and on. I wanted t h e a u t h o r t o be my f a t h e r , t o be t o t e l l me more, t o t e l l me e v e r y t h i n g t h a t he knew. I wanted t o f o l l o w t h r o u g h t h e l i v e s o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s . And i n t h a t book you c a n b e c a u s e he b r i n g s you t h r o u g h b i r t h t o d e a t h i n many o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s . And what was t h e q u e s t i o n ? ( I r e p e a t i t ) W e l l I g u e s s t h a t was t h e e x p e r i e n c e d u r i n g t h e r e a d i n g . Was t h a t t h i s  was s o m e t h i n g t h a t you c o u l d n ' t g e t enough o f . I - Then a f t e r w a r d s , what were you e x p e r i e n c i n g ? CR - W e l l i m m e d i a t e l y a f t e r w a r d s was I t h i n k a s e n s e o f c o m p l e t i o n o f  h a v i n g gone away and come ba c k , h a v i n g been somewhere. H a v i n g s e e n t h e w o r l d , f r o m b e g i n n i n g t o end. Of h a v i n g i n a s e n s e b e i n g i n v o l v e d , I g u e s s I f e l t I had been i n v o l v e d i n c r e a t i o n  i n some way. T h a t r e m i n d s me t h a t someone once s a i d t h r o u g h t h e book t h a t p e o p l e who r e a d f i c t i o n a r e p e o p l e who a r e a f r a i d o f d e a t h . They need t o know a b e g i n n i n g , a m i d d l e and an end. I g u e s s t h a t ' s e x a c t l y , i n y e s , i n my r e a d i n g I am a l w a y s f a c i n g my  own d e a t h and h a v i n g t o d e a l w i t h t h e i n e v i t a b i l i t y o f i t because  i t i s s o m e t h i n g t h a t I f i n d so t e r r i f y i n g . T h a t t h i s s h o u l d a l l end. So t h a t i s p a r t o f t h e p r o c e s s a s w e l l . And t h e r e was a  s e n s e o f e l a t i o n . Of h a v i n g d i s c o v e r e d , o f h a v i n g new  b e g i n n i n g s , o f h a v i n g a c h a n c e , o f f e e l i n g t h a t one c o u l d s u r v i v e  on one's own b e c a u s e i n one's own s p i r i t t h e r e was t h e r e was  l i f e . And I d o n ' t want t o use t h e word s u b s t a n c e a g a i n . The  e x p e r i e n c e o f my own l i f e was s o m e t h i n g v a l i d . T h a t was  s o m e t h i n g t h a t was needed o r wanted by o t h e r s and i n r e l a t i o n s h i p - 98 -with others I could find my way. And i t didn !t mean going back  home. There was a new look. I - Did you discuss this book with either yourself or someone else before reading and then during and after? CR - Not before. Probably not during. But after. With -. And I did, I did talk about i t to a few people but there was no one particularly interested. So no. I - Would you l i k e to have talked about i t more? CR - Oh yes. If I could have found someone who had also read the book, I was keen on talking about i t . I would love to talk about i t . (laugh) That's me that's part of the experience of reading  the book, i s to validate i t with someone else's understanding of  the book. That seems to be so important. But i n this case, i t wasn't possible. I - And then did you have like an internal dialogue within yourself? CR - Oh yes. Ongoing throughout. I - Regarding some of the things that you have mentioned? (CR says yes) What differences can you detect within yourself after having read this book? CR - I think probably greater acceptance of a necessity of e v i l and  for death. Now those are in t e l l e c t u a l ideas, but they're also  emotional ideas. That they uh emotional in the sense that they they color how you see things. The other thing that was happening, or what came out of this. See this, I should mention, I should have mentioned to begin with that that I didn't read this book in isolation. I read i t together with other books because I'm always reading about four or five at a time. 'So the process of a book changing perspective always has to be i n context with everything else that i s also coming in and going out. So i t ' s hard to narrow i t down and say this book did exactly this thing. I can really only say this i s what happened while I was reading that book. This i s what happened afterward. To actually narrow i t down, I think i s a bit presumptuous on my part. The other change that came out of i t and the other influences during that time was feeling a freedom to cut the  ties of home and childhood. The emotional ties which said that this i s as far as you can go and no further. And opened the  doors actually to a bigger universe and ai bigger world. And i t  involved the change of religious orientation and the moving away  to a different s p i r i t u a l community. And a sense of growing up. Of maturing of having come a l i t t l e distance. - 99 -I - What made the whole reading experience easy or d i f f i c u l t for you? Or enjoyable or disagreeable? CR - Oh i t was a totally enjoyable experience. Because of the style of the writer. Because he knew how to draw you in and not l e t you. go t i l l he had finished with you. And so I would put the responsibility for that his doing. That the whole experience  even when i t was horrifying was uh was good. Because i t was so well done. And I just revelled in a well done book. Plus I guess I made space for myself to enjoy i t . And i t was important enough to make time for. Which meant putting aside other things in order to pursue. Did that answer the question? I - Yes. I got that i t was mainly enjoyable because of the author, that even though you were struggling with some of the ideas which might have been d i f f i c u l t for you, i t was s t i l l an enjoyable experience. CR - Oh yes. Because i t was um there was a sense of being stretched  or pulled. Which feels good. Like pulling tired muscles and they hurt but i t feels good too. And I think that would probably aptly describe i t . Was the expansion which you know i s good which leads you to a better place. And so you are quite willing  to go even i f i t scares you. I - What was so important about this book for your sense of meaning in l i f e ? CR - I guess I can reiterate some of the points I already thought I was making before. That there was a renewed respect for dignity, individuality of a human being as he confronts his world he i s  substantial. He i s something. That he has an enormous capacity. And by he I mean me included, has an enormous capacity to do good  or bad, to choose good or to choose e v i l , to choose l i f e , to  choose death. But that his choices are not as a robot would choose i f programmed. That there because of the function of freedom in the world as a principle there i s always hope for  change. Of the turning away of the turning to. Which i s good to know. What was the question again? (I repeat) Right. Okay. Then the other aspect, I think maybe one thing I haven't mentioned that I should, i s the interaction of man with the  natural world. The way he coexists and works upon and lives well on i t or poorly on i t but somehow never lives apart from i t . And that what man does with his natural environment or how he lives  in i t i s integral to who he i s , and to what we become. So land-scape and natural world are an important function and I probably  gained a renewed respect for the interwovenness of a l l l i f e . Of man with the s o i l and the water and the a i r . Because Steinbeck  does such a good job of making man part of his earth. Of showing  him as an earthly creature and a heavenly creature. Of really - 100 -putting him in that tension between earth and sky, where he s i t s . And I've always I've always uh believed that in an inte l l e c t u a l  way but along came this to really to validate that sense for me. That i t i s okay to liv e in that tension because that's where  we are. I - Did this book reveal any new qualities to you about yourself? CR - No. It probably allowed me to look at some qualities in myself  that I did not particularly want to look at. Then I found part  of myself in a l l the characters, whether they were good or e v i l , whether they were mediocre, painted black or white, or red or brown, I saw myself in a l l of them. But some of the characters  gave me longings, in the sense of wanting to be more like them. To see through their eyes, to have their sense of belonging in the world. Or their particular grasp of a situation. And I  wanted to be like the Chinese laundryman in the worst way. Because he was able to remove himself from the immediacy of everything around him and to see everyone with a kind of laughter and I wanted to have that. I saw that that would be a good way  to be. And maybe that was one of the maybe that i s one of the ways in which I am becoming now. Or maybe that was uh kind of  a hidden goal or a hidden aim that did come out of that book, which I hadn't really focused on before. I - How did the world presented i n the book f i t with the way you see the world? CR - It meshed. It had a beginning and an end. It had order and structure. It had good and bad. It had movement. In a sense the reason why I enjoyed the book so much was because the  structure that he created, meshed with my own inner sense of what  the world i s . And I could f i t into i t . Whereas there are many modern novelists that I can't f i t into i t i f i t doesn't have anything to do with the way I see the world. I - You partly got into this, but I w i l l ask again. What did the characters i n this book mean to you? Is there anything you want to add? CR - What they meant to me. Well for one thing, they were real people. They were everybody who has ever lived. And they were people I could have lived with or have lived with. The way they were, the way he portrayed them in the book, painted them, l i k e I mentioned before, I saw myself i n a l l of them. There was a truth  to the way they were and who they were which corresponded to  truths in myself and who I was. They drew out feelings and  emotions which plot and landscape don't do themselves. You suffered with them. Some you f e l t you didn't understand in the same way that you were limited i n understanding of people around - 101 -you. But that each person had val i d i t y . Even the characters who were so infused with e v i l intentions that you were repulsed by their interaction with the world around them, other people. You had a sense that they too belonged. That the shadow side had to be there so that the light could show i t s e l f . And I guess i n a  way you f e l t a kind of love for them as well. Does that, am I answering? I - Yes. From what you have said i t ' s your own feelings as far as you as an individual related to those characters. But then also you are speaking of that human s p i r i t , that your connection with each of those people maybe in different ways. (CR says yes) Did you get a quickened sense of the meaning of your own l i f e and i t s temporariness? CR - Yes. (pause) I - Do you want to add anything? CR - I think I have already probably mentioned that. A sense of how  wonderful i s l i f e , how proper i s death, how you can't have the one without paying the dues. But that there i s joy and dignity  to be experienced, that i t i s not a waste. Suffering isn't  wasted, pain isn't wasted. That there isn't the need to force  l i f e to go in search of i t or to say "If only I have time I w i l l  grapple with i t . " But that i t i s here, and this i s i t and I'm  in i t . And soon i t w i l l be over. And i t ' s sort of i t s temporality makes i t so much more precious and makes you so much  more vulnerable and important in a sense and yet so insignificant  in another sense. That generations r o l l on top of you. You are not lost in that, you have been something and that i s imparted  through your children and carries on. There i s no waste. That nature. I - Did you get a sense of the eternal nature of <your own l i f e and i t s commonality? ' CR - Yes! As I just said. The continuity of l i f e , the proceeding of  generations. I - Is there anything in general that you want to add? CR - I don't think so. - 102 -CO-RESEARCHER 4 I - Please try to r e c a l l a novel that you read that made an impression on you, or which in some way strongly affected or influenced you; try to describe the impression that i t made on you. CR - Okay, the novel that comes to mind i s , i t ' s not really well i t ' s Dante's The Divine Comedy. It's actually i t ' s three volumes and uh, more an epic poem than a novel. But I guess i t f i t s the class of novel. When I read i t I was quite shaken by i t because  i t hit a great depth in me. It i s basically and once you get around the poetry side of i t , i t i s basically a story about God  and love and humanity. It's written on several levels. There i s several different ways that you can interpret i t . But the most  important thing, the reason why i t hit me so deeply i s just  because of what i t says about God, and i t just struck me. _I mean for the f i r s t time in my l i f e I had a really true sense of  humility. And what God i s really about. I - You said that you were shaken by i t . And i t also made you feel really humble. And you found that you got some sense of what God i s about from that. CR - Yes. Um what else can I say? It's just, l i k e I mean before things lik e that were words to me. After reading that, they had  meaning. I mean I always used to wonder what i s God and what i s God about. Reading that I just you know li k e i t just made so  much more sense. I mean, and how love f i t s into i t . Because the whole inspiration behind the book i s his love for Beatrice. And just the whole idea of the a person that you love, one special  person that you love, i s I don't know, this isn't the right way to express i t , but sort of l i k e God personified. That through  that person, you see divinity. And l i f e i s , I don't know, i t ' s really complicated, (laugh) I - What you said, two things. Before you had thought about i t . And now a l l of a sudden you feel that you have experienced i t yourself. You said i t had meaning and more experience. You are also saying that how this God comes clear to you i s through the way i t i s portrayed by means of love. And i t ' s the portrayal of love that makes you able to understand God more easier. CR - Not to me. It i s how Dante portrays i t , that's how he saw i t . (I say okay) Because he wrote the book, his inspiration for writing the book was his love for Beatrice. (I say I see) And I mean there i s lots more going on in i t . I mean i t ' s an allegory,  so i t ' s written on several different levels. And i t ' s sort of, - 103 -li k e there i s a basic story where he meets, he i s out walking one day, and he wakes up and i t happens to take place on the weekend, Easter weekend, so i t ' s the Resurrection idea i s in i t as well. And he meets with V i r g i l who i s lik e an old Roman poet, who i s often seen as the, you know like although he came before Christ, he had some sort of idea that Christ was coming. So he meets with V i r g i l and V i r g i l i s his guide for the f i r s t part. Like the book i s written, Do you want me to go in this sort of detail? (I say sure) The book i s written in three parts. There i s Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. And through the f i r s t two parts V i r g i l i s his guide. Through the last part through Heaven, Beatrice takes over. Because V i r g i l being a so-called heathen can't go into Heaven. It's sort of lik e because V i r g i l did not know Christ he came before Christ, he can't actually sort of cross the barrier into Heaven even though he isn't, he i s kind of lik e neither here nor there. Like his place sort of the system where he in his death where he i s , according to Dante, according to the way the book i s set out. It's sort of l i k e a nether region, i t ' s not in Hell because he didn't commit any great sin, but he isn't can't go through the rest of i t because, I mean i t i s a Christian, i t i s truly a Christian story. There are others that they weren't, I can't remember any of the names, they weren't e v i l , but they are i n this sort of nether region because they came before Christ. Simply that, through no doing of their own, they just came before Christ. And the whole thing, li k e the Heaven, the Hell and the Purgatory, the whole book l i k e Hell, the people that stay in Hell are there, I mean there i s no getting out of Hell  once you are in Hell. It's because they refuse to accept  responsibility for their sins. It has a lot to do with  responsibility. And admitting your sins. I was just looking at i t before I came over. Just to sort of refresh my mind about some of the details. It okay, there i s the people, i t ' s sort of like on one level, i t ' s the people that are i n Hell are there because they are so-called confirmed sinners. They see nothing wrong with what they are doing. They are e v i l , l i k e they don't see that there i s anything wrong with the way that they are. And then, i t ' s a l l based around okay, there i s what they c a l l the Seven Capital Sins. And a l l the rest of the sins that you can commit come from these Seven Capital Sins. They are things lik e pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, (pause) I - You said that they feel there i s nothing wrong with the way they are, you said, pride, gluttony, i t ' s lik e ultimate selfishness. CR - Yeah, yeah, exactly. Well, yeah, i t ' s l i k e he classes them into there i s , there are the sins that are ultimate selfishness, and then there are the ones. There i s , l i k e i t i s sort of l i k e there i s the seven sins and the f i r s t three, pride, envy and wrath, which i s sort of lik e vengeance, i s those are selfishness. Those are love that has turned bad, i t ' s you are actually going against - 104 -someone else, lik e you mean harm to another person. And there i s sloth, which i s sort of just laziness, l i k e you know, sort of not believing and not caring about anything else, anything. Like sort of, so you do more harm to yourself sort of. Because the ultimate thing i s God. And then the last three are sort of too much love because, gluttony i s what he classes as too much love, i t ' s overindulgence and lust i s too much love of people. Because God i s the ultimate, i s the supreme and nothing should be placed above God. So does that make any sense? (I say yes) So the  whole book i s based on that thing of, that the ultimate, that the  journey through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven and the f i n a l goal  i s God. And God i s lik e when he gets to God, i t ' s um, Beatrice i s tied up i n i t . And i t ' s l i k e , one thing that, i t ' s sort of l i k e , I don't know at the end of the book, there i s a l l the seats in Heaven, but there i s no hierarchy in Heaven. Or there i s no  hierarchy between people. It's each person does what they can do  their ultimate doing, whatever that i s . And when they get to  Heaven, i t ' s they, they are f i l l e d with joy to the ultimate joy  that they can f e e l . And some people feel more joy than other people f e e l . Or can do more than other people can do. And i t ' s l i k e , the thing about reading a book like that i s that you can't  get caught up in the traditional view of words l i k e God and  humility and pride and envy. Like I mean because there i s so  much more. I - So that you didn't have a stereotyped connotation of them, but in reading them, they seemed to make real sense to you? CR - Ya, I guess so, ya. But i t ' s more l i k e , I don't know, i t ' s kind of lik e sort of lik e taking what I'd suspected to be true, and  then reading i t as written and seeing that, well Dante was just  one other person, but the vision that he had was so much greater  than just coming from one person. It's more kind of lik e the idea of you know, that a l l great a r t i s t s have, that what they write, and what they do i s so much more than them, that there i s  the divine in i t . And i t ' s not just one person writing down  one, their thoughts. It's the that i t does come from a, a  greater whole. I - What i s that allows you to feel sure that i t made a strong impression on you? CR - Well, I know that at the time when I read i t , i t made a very strong impression on me, because I couldn't stop talking about  i t , I couldn't stop thinking about i t . And i t did change my  l i f e . It did point out, I mean i t hit me very hard because  I could see as I read through a l l the sins how they a l l applied  to me (laugh). And i t ' s sort of l i k e as the book was written, i t ' s not just when you die that you go to Hell or Heaven or you go through Purgatory. There i s the side of i t too, i t ' s what - 105 -you are doing now as you are l i v i n g that i s Hell or you know or  Purgatory or Heaven on earth. The idea of being, the grander  idea of the book being that to achieve Heaven on earth. In that there are people who l i v e i n Hell a l l their l i v e s . And people who are going through Purgatory. And to me what I f e l t , how,  I mean I f e l t l i k e I was okay, the f i r s t thing you have to admit  i s that you have sinned. I knew that I wasn't a confirmed sinner, that I didn't see that there was anything wrong because things were wrong. You know just because I wasn't happy with  the way things were. And reading that book how I knew that  i t really had affected me, was that i t made me think about what  I should do, what I could do and what I had to face. And the reason why I hesitate to say that i t definitely affected me i s because as time passed you sort of backslide (laugh) sometimes. And i t i s sort of the effect although i t never really truly  wears off, i t lessens with the distance sometimes. Until  something else happens that brings i t back. That way the effect  i s permanent. Does that make any sense? Did I answer the question? - . I - Yes, that makes sense. One thing you did say i s that i t brought i t immediately to your own l i f e . You were saying that not only did you understand what was going on, not only i s i t about death, but i t ' s about your own immediate l i f e and what i s happening there. But you are also saying yes i t had a really strong effect on you at that time, but that you have setbacks or whatever, and you are not always moving as fast ahead maybe as you would l i k e to be (CR agrees) but your want of i t i s s t i l l there and i t gets brought back by different things. CR - Yeah for sure. In other words, l i k e then although the f i r s t effect i s very strong. The there i s a lasting effect. Does that make any sense? I - Yes. Is there anything in particular that you were aiming at when you f i r s t began to read the book? During and Afterward? CR - A very superficial thing at f i r s t . It was just to see i f I could read a book i n poetry (laugh). I had never really attempted to read anything that sort of extensive i n poetry. And then also, I had always heard about Dante and that's one of the so-called classics. I don't know, there was something there that I wanted  to read that book. There was something there that made me want to read i t . „Partly because through a l l my reading, which I have done a lot of, i t Dante's The Divine Comedy was forever being  mentioned. So I thought that i t was time I read sort of the  origin a l . I - During your reading of i t what were you aiming at? - 106 -CR - Just understanding, trying to understand trying to see what he'd  had to say and how i t applied to me and to l i f e in general. I think that's. I - And then after your reading of i t ? CR - To try and remember what I had learnt while I was reading i t . And to keep using i t . I - What were you experiencing before you were reading the book? During and Afterwards? CR - What do you mean? Do you mean in my l i f e ? (I say yes) Two years ago. A f a i r bit of turmoil a sort of, a lot of indecision  about what I was doing with my l i f e . It was a period of change. Because I had just finished school and I had come back here, home, and being away. It was kind of period of adjustment. I guess that's I - How about during your reading of i t ? CR - A far greater need to talk to people about what I was reading than I had ever experienced before. A lot of what, a lot of the reading I did before, was more just for me. You know I just sort of just read i t and thought about i t myself and didn't really discuss i t that much except for other rare occasions and the books that effected me. But with this book i t was more, i t was  the f i r s t book that effected me so greatly that I had to talk  about i t . I - After your reading? CR - I guess i t just, what I was experiencing was the sense of  humility. And realizing that I had to think about myself  differently than I had thought about myself before. A sort of, you know l i k e the humility sort of hit at my arrogance and just my general view of myself. What I experienced after reading  that was a need to to go on, you know, in a different way. I - You were experiencing something quite different than you had before. But yet you f e l t a need to go on in a different way. (CR agrees) (pause) Did you discuss this book with either yourself or someone else, before your reading of i t ? During? and after? CR - Just yes. I - Before with somebody? - 107 -CR - With - mostly. Because as I said, i t kept coming up in other  stuff that I was reading and that other people such as - and -I guess, were reading and - at that time. It was, i t kept coming up, so i t was discussed a bit before i t . And that's part of what led me to read i t plus my own curiosity about reading i t . I - And then during, you were discussing i t ? CR - Ya, ya, because l i k e I said, I could not stop talking about i t . Because i t was just so incredible. So I talked about i t to anybody and everybody (laugh) I could you know talk to about i t . I - And then after too? CR - Well same thing. Just because of the great effect i t had i t was sort of, i t just kept coming up i n conversation. It's sort of the kind of book that does that. I mean the topic that i t ' s about, i t ' s something that stays with you forever. And i t applies continually. As you understand more, you can understand more of i t , more of what Dante was saying. It just keeps applying. I - And then how about with yourself? CR - Well l i k e I said, i t made me want to go on with my l i f e i n a different way. So that led to a lot of self-analysis, s e l f - discussion. And understanding. I - What differences can you detect within yourself after reading i t ? CR - Okay, primarily, as I said the humility. And just a greater  understanding df myself and people. And I forgot what I was going to say. I mean well that's basically i t because that was  so far reaching. I mean a true sense of humility i s something  that you've got to have before you can ever get anywhere. I mean  i f you are, you have to, a sense of humility i s a sense of God,  a sense of knowing that there are things that are greater than  yourself and that you are part of the greater whole. And just  sort of putting things in perspective. A growing up kind of  thing, I guess. I - What made the whole reading experience easy or d i f f i c u l t ? And then enjoyable or disagreeable for you? CR - Well, I'd say i t was easy because once I got over the the stumbling block of reading poetry, i t just flowed so easily that  i t was i t was just a joy to read i t . It was enjoyable, i t was  totall y enjoyable. There were some parts of i t that sort of got a l i t t l e bogged down because there i s a f a i r bit in the beginning of i t , and I guess a l l the way through i t where, 'cause on a - 108 -certain level what he was doing was writing a kind of a p o l i t i c a l satire at points too, where he was there was a lot of stuff about people who lived in his time, a lot of h i s t o r i c a l stuff. And a lot of that got a l i t t l e boring which made i t sort of d i f f i c u l t  to wade through but the general essence of what he was saying was  so phenomenal that i t was very, i t was easy to read, and i t was  very enjoyable. I - That covers everything? (CR says yes) What was so important about this book for your sense of meaning in l i f e ? CR - Well i t deals with the most crucial thing about meaning i n l i f e ,  i t deals with God. That's why i t ' s one of the you know, I'd say there are maybe, I don't know maybe three or four crucial books that have been written and Dante's The Divine Comedy i s one of them. Because i t deals so grandly with just with with God and  l i f e and what l i f e could be. Just I don't know, just everything, (laugh) I - So, for your sense of meaning i n l i f e , i t addressed i t in uh -CR - Well, I've always been greatly concerned as I said about God and you know, what i s God, what i s the idea of God. That has a great  deal to do with my sense of the meaning of l i f e . And uh, so i t just f i t perfectly, (pause) Is that? I - I'm just waiting for you to f i n i s h . (CR says ya, no that's a l l ) It feels finished? CR - Ya, I'm not sure, say the question again. (I say question) (I say So you have mentioned God and -) Well, I guess that's about i t . I mean i t sounds, i t sort of l i k e you could go on for days about i t , or you could just say that's. I mean i t i s i t ' s just that i t i s so so concerned with God and just Divinity. A Divine  sense of l i f e which i s , I mean my my sense of l i f e . Or what I  would l i k e to understand l i f e as being. It's not totally my sense of l i f e yet. But I think that i t i s THE sense of l i f e that  I want to understand. And I think i t i s the ONLY sense of l i f e  that there i s ultimately. I think that's i t . I - Did this book reveal any new qualities to you about yourself? CR - Like I said as I read i t (laugh) I became f a i r l y aware of being conversant with a l l seven sins. It did sort of did give me, I don't know i t was through the sense of humility and understanding, i t was like you know, I shouldn't, I make light of i t , but i t ' s l i k e i t did, I was very struck by i t . By the  qualities in me that were reflected in the book. I guess most people walk around in a sort self-deluded cloud a lot of the time. And reading something l i k e that, well li k e reading that - 109 -for me, sort of broke the cloud up and made me see things a  l i t t l e more clearly. I guess that's a l l . I - How did the world presented i n the book, f i t with the way you see the world? CR - It f i t perfectly. Because I mean i t was just tota l l y everything, like there are people who l i v e i n Hell a l l their lives through their own choice. See, like that's another thing, the way he presents i t , you hear that expression that people l i v e i n Hell. Now i t sounds l i k e they are being put there. And i t ' s not their own doing. That they are being punished for something. Whereas  Dante puts i t , and as I see, I agree with him, I see i t as being  true that people choose their own Hell. And so there was that, there was that part of i t . And there was the sense that people who were truly penitent about their sins and trying to l i v e a better l i f e , and understand and grow. Well there aren't too many of those around but there are some people who have achieved a sense of God and truth and beauty and love. Which i s what he saw as being the ultimate. Ultimate way people would l i v e l i f e i f they believed in God I guess. I - What did the characters in this book mean to you? CR - The main characters i n the book, there i s Dante himself, there i s Beatrice, there i s V i r g i l , those are the three main characters I guess. Then there i s the cast of thousands. Because there i s a l l these, l i k e I said, the h i s t o r i c a l figures, he mentions that are in Hell and Purgatory and Heaven. And Dante i s , i t i s him. The whole thing, on the one level, on the individual level, i t i s his story, i t i s him. At that point that he wrote the book, he was going through a c r i s i s in his own l i f e where he f e l t l i k e he was lost and not knowing where he was going, what was going on. And he was sort of at a crossroads. I guess that, I identified  with that. Because as I said, at the time I was reading that,  my l i f e was sort of at a crossroads too. It was kind of l i k e , I guess i t i s s t i l l at times, that way. But i t ' s kind of li k e , what the characters meant, what he meant was just the thing of  how a l l people have, I mean you've got choices to make. And you  either l i v e your l i f e for truth and beauty and love and God, or else you forsake a l l that and l i v e a Godless existence. The whole thing, and the other characters, the sort of minor characters, just show, I mean sometimes you learn things by  knowing what you don't want. Not necessarily knowing what you do want. And sometimes i t ' s a process of elimination. And a lot  of the experiences of the characters in the book sort of for me  i t was kind of that. I mean his Hell i s so ex p l i c i t (laugh) i t was pretty gory i n parts. It's l i k e , i t ' s hard to say what did the characters mean to me. The main characters, I'm just thinking about that for a second. The only one that I could - 110 -because i t a l l revolved around him, was Dante, himself, and what  he meant to me, was an example of someone who was struggling, as  I f e l t I was struggling, as I feel I am struggling. And just, he, there was also a sense of hope. Because of he made i t very  clear how close he had come himself to remaining in Hell and yet  here he had a l l this vision. And i t was sort of without sounding, I mean you know i t ' s not, you know how religious fanatics are always saying i f you believe in God a l l w i l l work out. It's not that simple, i t ' s definitely not that simple but there i s that in that character of Dante. A true, true under- standing and belief and commitment w i l l lead to a lot of growth  and understanding. And i t ' s not a blind, that's the point which  he makes very clearly, i t ' s not a blind belief. I guess that's basically. I - What you've said about Dante i s that you very much identified with him. (CR agrees) (CR says the struggle) Then with the other characters i t was so much that you didn't want to be li k e some of them. You didn't want that. (CR agrees and says that's basically i t ) Did you get a quickened sense of the meaning of your own l i f e and i t s temporariness? CR - For sure. Because, just the way the whole thing was written, that was very apparent. It was li k e along with the sense of  humility and that came the idea that there wasn't time to waste. That you only had one l i f e to l i v e and however long i t was, you  had better damn well get on with l i v i n g i t . Because one of the  great sins i s sloth, and doing nothing about i t . It's a waste,  i t i s a great sin, a waste of your l i f e . I - Did you get a sense of the eternal nature of your own l i f e and i t s commonality with others across history and time? CR - For sure. I mean Dante, just my feeling of connection with him  and and what he had to say and what he had experienced. He  lived back in the twelve hundreds so there i s a connection  through that plus just what he was, also just the sense of God  and l i f e and eternity. And as I said just the sense of being part,, the whole book i s so involved with, there was Dante, the individual but what he was saying was so much grander and greater and applied to l i f e i n general. I just got a great feeling of  the thing of being of my own uniqueness but of my part of being  part of a grander, a far grander whole. And that's what he i s directly concerned with portraying too. I - Is there anything that you would like to add? CR - Just talking^about this now, i t makes me, I have been feeling this for awhile now", I want to read the book again. It's the  kind of book that needs to be read again, and again. And just - I l l -that i t i s t r u l y a great, great book. I think most people  could benefit from reading i t . That's about i t . - 112 -CO-RESEARCHER 5 I - Please try to r e c a l l a novel that you read that made an impression on you, or which in some way strongly affected or influenced you; try to describe the impressions that i t made on you. CR - The novel i s Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. The effect i t had  on me was one of of jus t i f i c a t i o n , insight, freedom and r e l i e f . Relief that that a book like that existed because I had been looking for something like that for a long time. Justification in that a lot of the things I f e l t , was searching for were being  talked about as i f they were real. And my daily experience I had always met with the fact that the things I was feeling weren't real . And disbelief in the sheer power and beauty of  writing and I didn't realize that writing could be that dynamic  in terms of experience, and that enjoyable in terms of experience. And just Awe. Awe at the confidence and the maturity and the  perspective that Hugo had in writing i t . I - So you're, part of i t , was your own feelings about how you f e l t and what you thought about and so on. CR - Well I didn't come to the book as an innocent. I came to the book with years of thought and feeling behind me. And always  approaching something that I knew was real, but hadn't had any  tangible evidence in the external environment that was real. And Hugo's belief that the epitome of l i f e was the realization  of the i n f i n i t e in l i f e dovetailed absolutely perfectly with my  own hungers and beliefs. And then as a someone who has been struggling with form, I for the f i r s t time in my l i f e , appre- ciated form as being equal to content. His poetic style of  writing suited perfectly what he was communicating. And rather than, rather than the poetic style being therein and there only for i t s e l f , the style suited what he was saying. There i s no  better way to write i t than the way he wrote i t . So i t did two  things for me. It confirmed a deep inner feelings I've been  having. And also i t opened me to a world of of l i t e r a r y r e a l i t y  that that I was seeking. I - What i s i t that allows you to feel sure that i t made a strong impression on you? CR - Well I have I have no doubt about that because for example, the characters in that book were there for me before I read the book. And certainly there while I read the book, and there since I have read the book. And I believe the book i s an experience of  maturity, that i s i t has been written by a mature man. And I - 113 -believe i t ' s a a path of maturity that I am going along. And so i t s i t s effect on me i s i s definite, there i s no doubt  in my mind that i t effects me. Also, there i s the other aspect about the book that I forgot to mention, that may be even more significant aspect i s that i t ' s an h i s t o r i c a l novel, and i t s h i s t o r i c a l impact freed me from a lot of lot of um, what's the word, claustrophobia, social claustrophobia was was eased for me by the book, because taken the h i s t o r i c a l perspective that that book came in, and realizing that the struggles that he was discussing that happened a hundred and f i f t y years ago, and realizing the situation that we have now, i t i t tends to opened me to an appreciation of history that I didn't have  before. With the belief this here and now business that we exist in right now i s part of the closedmindedness of the modern age. That to be open i s to understand that what has happened and what i s happening i s ultimately part of what i s going to happen. And that time doesn't exist in a independence of of any tense. That i s past, present and future at once. And that to understand  history i s to get a perspective and and f u l l y toned and multi-colored understanding of the present day and also to get a  positive and hopeful sense of the future. But to view the time you l i v e in as being correct insofar as i t ' s happening right now, i s to misinterpret what's happening and not understand what i s going to happen. So i t f i l l s you with an incredible sense of  hope, and incredible sense of community that you didn't have  before you read i t . And also, one other thing, I forgot to mention about the book i s that i t being a s p i r i t u a l novel, as well as an h i s t o r i c a l , social novel, i t i t brought together  to me to be one of the great ideas that bring God to man and  that's the idea of compassion and tolerance. And that having realized i n f i n i t e truth, what a man does i s become incredibly understanding of the human condition, rather than intolerant and angry about i t . However, not not believing and not having any perception of the i n f i n i t e , leads a man to become very intolerable of what the world goes on, what goes on in the world. Because while he doesn't understand the i n f i n i t e reasons for things happening as they do, he i s s t i l l human enough to under-stand the injustice and the falseness of the l i f e around him and i s trapped by that. And further to make, I make a distinction between the the s p i r i t u a l compassion, what I believe to be in Les  Miserables, are composed to, as compared to the the so-called tolerance of the Liberal or the Unitarian belief system in the modern world, I would say i t ' s quite contrary. The compassion of a Jean Valjean figure, which i s one of the major characters in the book, compassion of a figure l i k e that comes from a deep experience of something, not a tolerance, an allowance of anything. And so compassion comes from a realization OF things, not an acceptance of anything. We l i v e in a world that has mis-interpreted compassion with ignorance and that one i s j u s t i f i e d in any ignorant act because a l l acts are equal. Not so. - 114 -Compassion i s a tolerance from knowledge and an understanding of the confusion that causes people to act the way they act, rather than an acceptance of a l l acts as being correct. I - Just to summarize what you have said, before we go on, I got that there i s a realness in the book obviously for you. And there i s a continuity and then a depth. Because you've talked about history, you've talked about s p i r i t u a l i t y and then you have talked just about the realness of l i f e in the book. (CR agrees) And that sums i t up for you? CR - The realness sure. I mean that's the whole point of of the book and of writing as far as I'm concerned. That the merit of true literature i s that i t deals with with the depth of the human experience and that's not merely an external social experience but a deep inner experience. And that the measure of realness  in a book i s the degree to which i t helps one understand their  inner self in the external world. I - Shall I go on? (CR says sure) Is there anything in particular that you were aiming at when you f i r s t began to read this book? CR - As I said, when I picked up the book, I didn't come to i t as an innocent. I came to i t after years of deep inner struggle and  deep, deep, deep philosophical and s p i r i t u a l speculation. And I was referred to the book by comments that someone who had read i t had had made to me. Comments of of things that Hugo had said in  the book which were exactly things that I believed and knew. And so I was, I was, when I picked up the book, I picked i t up to see what experience of the i n f i n i t e this fellow had had. And within three or four pages, I was in awe. I was absolutely i n awe of the beauty with which i t was written and of the real i t y with which he dealt with ideas which I was constantly trying to keep from being extinguished by the huff of ignorant society. I - What were you aiming at during your reading of i t ? CR - I was I read the book over a period of of about a year. I was in no rush, I savored the book. It was i t was the most delicious  place I could go to and at times reading i t was a joy that I  almost couldn't stand. It was so incredible. Um, so I was in no rush to get through i t . It was always, no matter how rough  things got out in the world, i t was a particularly fine spot to  to go and bathe myself i n . So I was aiming to keep the book  alive as long as I could. And then the last third of i t , I read quickly because i t was no longer a need to hang onto the actual  text of the book. The book had already permeated my being  enough that I could l e t go of i t . I was aiming as I continually,  and s t i l l aim, I was aiming and striving to get a f u l l under- standing of the true nature of re a l i t y and not merely a become - 115 -successful at dealing with what happens in the world. I was  trying to understand what i s happening and what i s r e a l i t y . And the book i t s e l f was l i t e r a r y and social thought through the ages. It also has inspired me to broaden my choice of reading material  in terms of h i s t o r i c a l work, in terms of of more lit e r a r y work, in terms of of getting a sense of society from from a a more well rounded perspective. That's another interesting and I think b r i l l i a n t l y effective quality of Hugo in the book i s that that I went to the book with a deep hunger for s p i r i t u a l r e a l i t y and  I came out of the book with deep appreciation of social r e a l i t y .  And that Hugo has managed to show me that there i s a very real  social affirmative quality to s p i r i t u a l experience, that one needn't take the modern Ex i s t e n t i a l i s t of modern Buddhistic attitude that God or s p i r i t u a l vision has to come at the price of material, social joy. That in fact the experience of i n f i n i t y i s very much a socially triumphant experience, and not necessarily as the modern age and the Buddhistic age indicates a black and anti-social phenomenon. I think you have answered the question of afterwards, what your aim was too? (CR says yes) What were you experiencing before you were reading the book? And during and after? Before, l i k e before I even picked i t up? (I say yes) As I think I have been saying, I I was experiencing in varied intervals incredible vision and exultation at my own discovery and under-standing of of the nature of l i f e , the nature of i n f i n i t y . And at the same time I was experiencing a deep and dismal frustration and defeat at my i n a b i l i t y to make sense socially of what I knew sp i r i t u a l l y and i n t e l l e c t u a l l y . That's what I was feeling before I came upon the book. When I came upon the book, I I extended  positively the the s p i r i t u a l understandings and I got r i d of some  of the worst parts of the depression in the sense of the social  inapplicability of what I was feeling. And so the book while  reading i t began to make me feel socially valid and socially  j u s t i f i e d when in fact that was the cause for my greatest  depression. Was the sense of what I knew and what I f e l t and what I understood, didn't seem to make sense in a world that had no sensitivity to the things I was experiencing. And after the  book, I believe I matured, I believe I learned incredible things. It's interesting for myself when I was reading the book, one of the key characters in the book, a fellow named Marius, caused me the most chagrin while I was reading i t . Because Hugo, Marius ends up being the affirmative hero in the book in fact. The positive hope that the book ends on. And yet I related or was  afraid I was lik e Marius because Hugo attacked Marius as being a dreamer, which i s a word I have been accused of being. Which I shun and I w i l l not accept that word. He described Marius's preoccupation with the i n f i n i t e as as as being his avoidance of of the so c i a l . Well that's always been a fear of mine and so I - 116 -went through some trying times while reading the book. It wasn't  a sheerly pleasurable thing for me. It was hard work at this  point to face these p o s s i b i l i t i e s that I too was avoiding the  social through my need for the infinite-. But at the same time, Hugo's central hero i n the book i s a fellow named Jean Valjean, who I mentioned already. And he, Jean Valjean, i s what I would c a l l a martyr figure. A figure who by the very nature of his s p i r i t u a l superiority i s l e f t out of society, i s an outsider, i s the epitome of of the the miserable, the person who society doesn't allow equal membership. And yet the equation drawn i s the degree with his own s p i r i t u a l strength, his own s p i r i t u a l nobleness. That's a valid and I believe an age-old l i t e r a r y technique i n l i t e r a r y idea. However, interestingly in terms of my fears about Marius, interestingly enough as the book ends, I begin to realize that sequel to Les Miserables i s a valid a f f a i r , with Marius now as i t s new hero. Being that the s p i r i t u a l l y understood, the s p i r i t u a l l y noble man has got a place i n society. And in effect i t i s an incredible compliment to society to have a s p i r i t u a l l y noble individual as being an integral member of i t . To view the s p i r i t u a l l y noble man as necessarily being an outcast in society i s to make a horrible statement about the nature of society. And f i n a l l y to believe that virtue and that values of i n f i n i t e experience and compassion and understanding are also socially attractive qualities for a person to have, to me would be an i n f i n i t e l y worthwhile book to write and l i f e to l i v e . And so the  idea of the martyr as being the central hero of a book i s one  that I disagree with. And in that sense my own diversion from  the book begins. But that i t s e l f i s a i s a worthwhile happening  from the book. You know I don't think a person should be a slave of a book, but rather the book i t s e l f should encourage new idea and thought anyway. And so even in that sense Hugo has achieved  a masterpiece. Your experience after too, as you have discussed, i s an integration of a lot of ideas and a c l a r i f i c a t i o n I guess of what you are going to do. Mmheh. I can't stress too strongly this one point. It's I think i t ' s the, for me personally, i t ' s a very central central point. And i f I as I think i t ' s the nature of a thinking person, a feeling person to try to get just beyond himself and make a statement of the book i t s e l f or the purpose of writing i t s e l f i s that for me personally and then i n the book in general, i t i s for me to be the most central to any of the questions and a l l of the questions you are asking i s the fact that I as a sensitive, feeling, thinking and somewhat tortured individual was struggling with his own existence such that the major worth and purpose of the book besides i t s manifest and excessive joys and f r u i t s and pleasures of just being involved in the reading of i t . Besides that, the central most important thing in reading i t was the  validizing of what one previously thought was non-applicable - 117 -feeling and thought. To me not only i s that the successful achievement of Victor Hugo, but i t should be the goal of a l l writers to allow the human being to feel valid i n his human inner feeling and not to feel neutralized or or dismissed because his feelings are not satisfied by social position and financial success. And that his deeper cravings for understandings beyond  himself are are experienced when he reads this book. To me that that compassion, that understanding that one's inner feelings,  one's i n f i n i t e needs are recognized and part of the social fabric that, then i t allows one to not stand naked in l i f e , but rather dress himself in the social fabric and not feel the least bit false for doing i t . I - Did you discuss this book with either yourself or someone else before, during and after reading i t ? CR - Before, as I said, I heard about the book and everything I heard,  I was excited to hear that that had been written, which was what  prompted me to read i t . While reading the book I discussed i t  incredibly and even read passages to several different people  because i t was the most important thing to discuss. I mean no doubt I was delighted that that the Canucks had just beaten Edmonton, but I was much more delighted that Valjean had had just saved Cosette. So i t became the most immediately positive thing  I could discuss in my day. Afterwards I I find that not only do  I discuss i t , but I've suggested and in two cases purchased the  book for other people. Not wanting to be Evangelic about i t but but that there i s certain things that I would like to say and  discuss with people that I could more appropriately say and  discuss them once that person had had that book. Which by the way I believe i s another valuable and essential aspect to a worthwhile l i t e r a r y work i s that i t gives people a socially a socially agreed upon bridge between souls i f you w i l l have i t , where we have both walked over this particular piece of territory, and our souls have both been touched by the same social phenomena. Which ultimately a work of art becomes. And now that we have got  something tangible to discuss, the intangibility of our soul  becomes something we can share through tangible matter. Which i s what I think a fine piece of writing does. I - What differences can you detect in yourself after having read this book? CR - Well, as I said, I think the sense of social alienation has begun to subside measurably. I think there has been a maturity and for me i n particular because before I got to the book, I was struggling with becoming a writer and un t i l I read Les  Miserables, writing because of.the writing I had read and the writers I had known had stunk to me on a s p i r i t u a l l e v e l . There was nothing but egoism and pomposity in the writing. And while I think Hugo has a certain amount of both egoism and pomposity - 118 -there i s a much deeper worth that can come out of i t . The value of reading a book l i k e that has freed me to believe that writing i t s e l f i s a valuable exercise. So in an ultimate sense the book  may well be the the uh, impetus to what may well be my my l i f e ' s  work. And so what more can you say? (laugh) I - What made the whole reading experience easy or d i f f i c u l t for you and then, enjoyable or disagreeable to you? CR - Well i f l i f e can be made d i f f i c u l t by constantly feeling what you are doing i s wrong or what i s happening i s wrong, then reading  that book was joyously easy because i t f e l t like what I was  reading was right. And what I was doing was right. And what  happened in the book was right. So what made i t easy was i t s  correctness. I - And d i f f i c u l t , anything? CR - Like I said, the d i f f i c u l t y in the book was coming to terms with  fears I had about myself. There were were characters and things  in the book that reminded me of my own self-doubts and my own  negative disposition towards myself. Which made i t d i f f i c u l t ,  but made i t worthwhile too. Plus the other d i f f i c u l t thing was  was this i s minor, was Hugo has as I said, a tendency towards  pomposity and and in a sense obscene l i t e r a r y indulgence. Which  embarrassed me because I feel that's a tendency I also have. And I don't want to embellish my writing with pompous statements, but rather, I mean I think the most incredible effect that could come from reading a writer i s the experience of re a l i t y . And pomposity tends to get away with that. And so that was i t . But one other point I would like to mention as far as d i f f i c u l t y goes, something that wasn't d i f f i c u l t for me, but might have been before I read this book, was the very length of i t . It's a thousand pages, over a thousand pages. And previously, I, l i k e other people have thought that that you know a book like that i s too great. It came to me, I mean too great in just sheer quantity, i t ' s great in quality. It's by no means great in quantity, a thousand pages isn't much when you are discussing i n f i n i t e ideas. I'd say that what keeps a person wanting a book to be short i s the desire for the person to consume the book from themself and digest i t . In other words, here i s another thing I have to swallow. And so a big big book i s li k e too big a bite to swallow. But i f you view the book as an experience of l i v i n g ,  the size of the book i s just the nature of l i f e i t s e l f . And i f you are not trying to consume the book and reduce i t to part of your physiological makeup or psychological makeup, but in fact  aspire to become part of the greater l i f e that the book i s then  the length of the book i s no object at a l l . - 119 -I - What was so important about this book for your sense of meaning in l i f e ? CR - Well, I think I have been saying that constantly. It's and I stress i t one last time, not only did the book give me sense of  religious belief, and a sense of religious understanding. And that he touches so much of what I believe to be s p i r i t u a l truth, I believe before I read the book and i t was affirmed while reading the book, there i s an appendix in the book where he discussed nuns and monasteries. And he so beautifully shows the flaws in the orthodox religious institutions and at the same time shows an incredible honor of their goal which i s to understand God. That a book in this age of smug Atheism, of of modern day existential superiority of of of impotent l i t t l e Neitzschian supermen running a l l over the place, i t ' s beautiful to see a man who realizes that the best thing a man can do i s understand the i n f i n i t e . That was was great, but what was greater was the social understanding that went along with i t . Because i t ' s my belief that the i n f i n i t e i s nothing unless i t ' s understood in social terms. And Hugo's magnificent accomplishment of understanding hi s t o r i c a l events, understanding Napoleon, understanding why Napoleon fa i l e d , understanding why men are like they are. And  the need for society to wake i t s e l f up to i n f i n i t e r e a l i t y i s exactly what I believe to be l i f e ' s main purpose. And so  reading the book was at the very least enjoyable and at the most  a growth experience. I - Did this book reveal any new qualities to you about yourself? CR - (pause) Yes, i t um, i t made me aware of my own lack of development. Next to the maturity and the perspective and the Tightness of Hugo, I f e l t very much li k e an angry green child who may feel and know things, but had no perspective or understanding as to where those things made sense in the world. And so i t , the book had a humbling experience for me. If made me realize that while I was sensitive to the some very real r e a l i t y , I was insensitive to some very real aspects to what i t i s to be a mature person i n the world. There was a sense of a needing to  grow up that occurred when I read the book. I - How did the world presented i n the book f i t with the way you see the world? CR - Again, I think I have been, I have anticipated the questions. It's i t as I said, i t brought home to me to be the major absence i n the world, which i s the sense of the i n f i n i t e . Not simply God worship, l i k e belonging to the church or whatever, but the sense of the i n f i n i t e . That there i s something real in the world that i s f u l l y the -social experience. And that the social experience i s incomplete, and in fact distorted without the i n f i n i t e - 120 -understanding of l i f e . That there i s a an understanding to l i f e that the social experience needs to include, which i t doesn't include. And the torture of a martyr character lik e Jean Valjean further underlines that a deep and a beautiful man has very l i t t l e chance of being understood because society exists from closed minded standards of hierarchy and of of position and mea-sures a man not by his character but by his reputation. So that the phoney quality of society i s revealed in Les Miserables, but not revealed i n the fashion that the modern day child shakes his f i s t at society. It's revealed that society i s phoney but at the same time, society i s embraced and affirmed. Which i s to me the most exciting part of the book. Because I don't believe society can be anything but embraced and affirmed. It i s l i f e f i n a l l y and there i s nothing that exists outside of society. Not even God. Because society i s in fact the experience of God and has to achieve that to achieve i t s own nature. But to shake your f i s t at society i s to shake your f i s t at l i f e . And one can't do that. One has to learn to be with l i f e and not disagree with l i f e . And so there i s that in the book. I - You have mentioned this, but see i f you want to add more. What did the characters in this book mean to you? CR - Very much. I from the opening of the book there was a character, Bishop Digne, who was the best of what a truly religious man in the insti t u t i o n a l sense can be. He was a Bishop in a church, but had no use for the hierarchy of the church. And.was basically a man who lived in the honor of the idea of God with the knowledge that that worldly rewards were meaningless in the sense of the Divine that he was i n belief of. His absolute compassion that came from that was to be a a beautiful experience of what the best aspect of organized religion in society can offer the world. And so rather than the smug inte l l e c t u a l view that I was taught i n universities that you know that people in churches are ignorant fools who believe in this child fantasy God, and we wise dis-believers are superior. I I can see that in fact there i s probably many very noble and great men in organized religion that should be respected rather than dismissed as child fantasies, people. Then there i s Jean Valjean who i s a beautiful figure figure of immense strength physical and s p i r i t u a l . And yet to me, Jean Valjean i s everything I don't want to be. I don't want to be a martyr. Not that I don't believe in martyrdom, not that I don't think martyrdom i s maybe essential for the destiny of obviously the martyr. But that Jean Valjean's plight while beautiful while i t was understood had to f i n a l l y lead to a l i f e that allows noble values to attain social position. And then there i s as I said, there i s even a minor character in the book, a fellow by the name of Grantere, who i s part of this, belongs to this, i t ' s the book i s set i n age just preceding the French Revolution. And there i s these groups of young French - 121 -intellectuals who have i d e a l i s t i c views of how society should run. And are, and do give up their l i f e for the cause. And at the same moment one of the members in the group i s a fellow who in a sense i s the predecessor of of the the modern existentially alienated fellow. A l l he can do i s get drunk and spit on the mouthed virtues of his fellows because he doesn't believe that i t runs much deeper. But just one l i t t l e minor character l i k e that  in the book shows so beautifully how how this modern age has taken one minor figure in a masterpiece l i k e Les Miserables" and turned him into the modern day hero. And no doubt Grantere i s a has got his nobility in that his cynicism comes from a true nature of what i s virtuous and not being fooled by a lot of mouthed virtue. Knowing that i t has to be lived. But again, Grantere i s a tragedy and we've turned this tragic existential figure into the modern day genius. Which I think i t ' s just interesting to know that Hugo didn't miss that either. That we have taken his minor figure and turned him into a major cultural hero now. Then the women in the book. Because they are for the most part beautiful creatures who are victims of the male world. And Hugo's poetic sense of the female i s phenomenal. He understands that the female holds within her person the embodi-ment of the i n f i n i t e . And that truly the nature of man when he looks at woman i s i s fear. Because he has possessed the world from God and the woman threatens to return the world to God. And so because of the violent and repressive nature of men Hugo clearly shows them to be in the world very much violated and and tortured figures, victims of the male world. And yet his ultimate hero and heroine have love. And he, as I believe,  beautifully and b r i l l i a n t l y shows that love i s i s the only  solution to the social injustice in the world. And that when men find their strength to deal with women romantically, the tragic p o l i t i c a l economic existences that men li v e w i l l w i l l come to a halt. And that's not a major idea i n the book i t ' s rather a subtle theme that f i n a l l y ends up i n the conclusion of the book as being the only possible solution to a l l the tragedy that Hugo i s attempting to reinterpret so that i t can be understood as something other than perpetual violence. And so that love i s the solution to perpetual violence i s another aspect to the book  that I find affirming. Did you get a quickened sense of the meaning of your own l i f e and i t s temporariness? (long pause) I don't think I did get that because I don't think I agree with the question. I mean I don't think the realization that I'm a mortal and w i l l die leads to a quickened or a temporary sense of l i v i n g . I think Hugo clearly shows that that the mortal l i f e we l i v e i s embellished by i n f i n i t e r e a l i t y . Not embellished, but actually experienced by i t . And rather than  getting a quickened or a temporary sense of l i f e , I got a - 122 -willingness to l i v e i t . And a belief that i t i s a l i f e of  quality and a l i f e of i n f i n i t e worth. And that the temporari-ness, that i s to say the implied mortality that I have while that  i s necessarily true, i t isn't lessened by by the fact that i t i s  true because there i s i n f i n i t e experience available in the mortal  span. I - Did you get a sense of the eternal nature of your own l i f e and i t s commonality? CR - Obviously. I I feel that Hugo, I mean his whole point i s that men were dying a l l over the place in the French Revolution for values that meant something to them. And that l i f e i t s e l f meant nothing i n terms of just l i v i n g i t . That u n t i l values were the  reason d'etre for l i v i n g , there i s no real l i f e . And that l i f e has l i f e has a meaningless and bitter experience. Which i s probably the reason why we have got these black morose existen-t i a l figures running around l i k e virtuous hypocrites because they through their brilliance they have denied the meaning of any real value in l i f e . And therefore l i f e i s meaningless to them. And i t ' s only good in the fact that you are alive. Which Hugo  presents a far different world. A world which I believe i s far  realer and far more truthful. And one which I believe i n deeply. So, again, one last thing there, i s the ultimate worth of the book for me i s that I find myself l i v i n g at a point in history where eternal and s p i r i t u a l values are have been almost f u l l y ejected from the quality of social existence, l i v i n g in an age of smug existentialism, where the individual i s responsible only to himself, and i s to make what of his l i f e he can through his own mortal attempts. And through Hugo, I find that my own intuition and deep belief that l i f e has much deeper meaning than mortals can see, that that i t in fact i s the becoming and true nature and true work of a human being to find i n f i n i t e understanding of his mortal situation. That to me i s the major value of the book. That while I can't find i t i n the modern day, I can go back a century or two, and find a very revered social figure who believed very deeply in i n f i n i t e r e a l i t i e s . And so society i s inclusive of i n f i n i t e ideas, and not exclusive of i t . I - Anything else you want to add? CR - No. - 123 -APPENDIX D UNTIMELY INTERVIEW Example I I - What was your aim after reading the book? CR - Sometimes books take me longer to really integrate. When I was trying to choose a book for this you know I have read a lot of books in the past that have really influenced me and that I feel very strong now s t i l l even though I read them awhile ago. It's just that I found i t too hard to choose one. So I decided to choose one I was reading now, Um (long pause), sorry I lost track a b i t . I - It was about your aim afterwards. CR - The aim afterwards -yeah I - You haven't quite got the f u l l impact yet? CR - Yeah, yeah. Because I finished i t a few days ago. And i t ' s um, I find with a book like that that really means something to me; I ' l l remember part of i t for a long time or whenever i t ' s appro-priate or whenever something comes up, i n any of those areas that I feel that they are tapped. So that long term part of i t would be. Not sure because i t wasn't a positive book at a l l . So long term I would probably prefer to ignore i t i f I could. Um and read more positive things and read more more um. Because that book taps back more into my negative side. Example II I - What were you experiencing before, during and after your reading of the book? CR - See i t doesn't change anything f or me in the sense that i t doesn't change a direction or make me um. Like a l l the experiences I had before the book were there and the book didn't change any and that, i t just kind of added a l i t t l e piece to tying i t a l l closer together. I - What was that piece that helped to t i e i t together? CR - (long pause) I feel I'm far too vague. But I don't know i t ' s more li k e just putting a puzzle together and having just one more, piece that f i t s i n . And yet what that piece i s (long pause) maybe i t ' s a l i t t l e piece. I can't I mean my mind i s just scattering. I can't think of one piece. - 124 -Example III I - What was important for you in this book concerning your sense of meaning in l i f e ? CR - (pause) Trying to think of what else. I'm feeling a bit that I'm kind of being too vague and that I'm really not being that helpful. So I'm trying to. But I think you're doing a good job of trying to say i t back to me and I say yeah O.K. that's what I'm trying to say. I'm not feeling that articulate. I - Do you want me to help you a bit? CR - Yes. 

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