Finished it, I finally read all of "Canticle for Leibowitz". Lets talk!

As some of you know, I got A Canticle for Leibowitz for christmas. I finally got it all read last week and man was it great. I dont’ know why I loved it so much but I did. I didn’t find the style to be all too unique and the story wasn’t one of profound consequence.It was just…aweasome. I think every line he used, save a few obviously, was well thought out and placed well within the story. I loved how many trivial matters were referenced hundreds of years later as being monumental or somehow greater than they ever were. I just loved it!

And what about the lady with the two heads. Crazy!

It’s been too long since I read it. It’s pretty dark though isn’t it?

I don’t know about dark, but it seems to be extremely nonchalant about death and destruction.

Well its written from a Roman Catholic perspective so death is of little consequence.

Yeah. I like that phrase. Its very suiting for the way he treated it.

I love the book, but I don’t think I get all the philosophy about death. I enjoyed it mostly for the cynical view of human nature.

  1. the rivalry between orders of monks trying to get their saints recognized by Rome, where politics is clearly more important than religious faith.
  2. the stupidity/faithfulness of the scribes who pour blue ink around every blueprint drawing they copy, with no idea why --they just blindly follow
    the past.
    and 3. the visiting professor who cannot bring himself to congratulate the monks when they invent electric light, because his own professional pride is more important than scientific progress.

But I didn’t understand some of the the deeper stuff.
–What was the purpose of the Lazerus-wandering-Jew character? He was an eternal questioner, a wise man waiting for the Messiah who he knows will never come, but waits for him anyway. But so what? The monks are doing the same thing. What does he add to the story? The book goes into too much detail with him–writing his name in Hebrew letters at the very beginning, etc. Why?

–And the Poet sirrah! with his glass eye–he just left me baffled. Why did he exist in the book?

-And what was the purpose of the 2-headed lady at the end? There was the obvious contrast between the mercy-killing stations for the nuclear wounded vs. the faith/mercy of the monk who refuses to send a girl to her death.
But why does the woman have to be a freak with two heads in order to make that statement? The monk does it himself as he tries to save the girl.

What am I failing to understand?
In college a couple decades ago, I only took a couple of literature courses. I suppose I need to take some more.

At the end, the head that heretofore has spoken falls silent, apparently dead or comatose, while the other, childlike head awakens – as a sort of “holy innocent” who refuses to accept absolution from the priest . . .

No, I don’t know what it means either.

I read the CFL years ago-It is basicallt the fall of man. The nuclear war consumes the world-and an order of monks 9founded by a jew) saves the "worldly knowledge’-which leads to another nuclear war. the wandering jew is just a backdrop to the story-man is doomed to fall again and again-Miller never wrote a sequel, so we don’t know the fate of the people who leave the earth.
I got the feeling that the second nuclear holocaust was really the end of mankind-except for the two-headed mutant-maybe shee is the new Eve (and the priest the new Adam)? We don’t know.

I think the priest dies in the end. I think that is what is meant by he waited till someone came. But no one did. He had life threatining injuries before the two-headed lady walked away so I think he was done for.
But I do agree with ralph124c that the second nuclear blast killed all of mankind. I can’t see it not. They way they describe it, I feel it’s meant to explain that “Man made mistakes, paid dearly for them, was allowed to return to his former glory, and did it all over again.”