Tuesday, March 06, 2007

TMWWT-Chapter Eight

The Professor Explains

What a great chapter! Completely turns around your opinion of de Worms, doesn't it? This is the kind of thing that makes TMWWT a mystery.

Good lines: ...like a man standing on the hangman's drop...
...his dead face becoming as it were loathsomely alive....
...you're not an old man at all...
So funny how de Worms (Wilks) confesses that when Sunday said there was a spy, both Syme and de Worms thought the jig was up.
...three out of seven is a fighting number! If only we had known that we were three!...
...as startling as a coloured photograph...(naturally, this caught my eye. I suppose a color photo was startling in those days? Did they even exist or were they just talked of as a future technological wonder, I wonder?)
...Sunday and his satellites...(this in the day before there were outer space satellites, which is what I think of when I hear the word)
Syme's going to attempt to get the President because he fears him and will overcome his fear, Wilks because it's impossible, therefore he must try it.
...taking his nose in vain...
and how Wilks turns himself into de Worms by being more de Worms than de Worms himself is funny. "So impressively feeble..." "so jolly paralytic..."

Great moment: ...Syme's sense of a new comradship and comfort. Through all this ordeal his root horror had been isolation, and there are no words to express the abyss between isloation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. That is why, in spite of a hundred disadvantages, the world will always return to monogamy.

Biblical sounding reference: ...if heaven were his throne and earth his footstool...

The fact that de Worms must have suspected Syme, begged him to confess, Syme continues to lie, and then de Worms confesses anyway. de Worms must have been pretty sure Syme was a detective, don't you think?

Chesterton Theme Material: ...Syme had for a flash the sensation that the cosmos had turned exactly upsidedown...

What makes someone "not a strict" Christian? Drinking...but getting drunk?


  1. I've not been able to read along since my copy of TMWWT is 3000 miles away (lent it to my Dad some time ago). But I am enjoying the chapter-by-chapter breakdowns.

    I'm currently in the middle of GK's "The Flying Inn" and last night I laughed out loud at his chapter on "Hibbs However."


    I think that Syme's sagging in his chair and failing to attempt to restrain Gogol was the "tell" that convinced de Worms of Syme's true identity. Other than Sunday, none of the others noticed this because they were trying to restrain Gogol. De Worms couldn't leave his chair, so that's how he observed Syme.

  3. Good observation, Chris. I hadn't noticed that small detail.

  4. Yeah, Good eye, Chris. I'll have to add that to my screenplay.

    One line I love is when Syme looks around the restaurant where he has lunch, and looking at all the foreigners he reflects that, at one time he would have suspected all of them of being anarchists. Now he knows better. I haven't done the passage justice, but it's a great Chestertonian moment.


Join our FaceBook fan page today!