A Grief Observed Study Guide

A Grief Observed

A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

A Grief Observed is a book by C. S. Lewis about his grief after the death of his wife, Joy Davidman. After three years of marriage, Lewis' wife died of cancer and he experienced immense grief. The book is divided into four parts reflecting and his anger and sorrow, as well as questions of faith, memory, God and theodicy (the question of why bad things happen if there is an all-powerful God who is good).

A Grief Observed explores the processes which the human brain and mind undergo over the course of grieving. The book questions the nature of grief, and whether or not returning to normalcy thereafter is even possible within the realm of human existence on earth.

Based on a personal journal he kept, Lewis refers to his wife as "H" throughout this series of reflections, and reveals that she had died from cancer only three years after their marriage. The book is extremely candid, and it details the anger and bewilderment he had felt towards God after H's death, as well as his impressions of life without her.

The period of his bereavement was marked by a process of moving in and out of various stages of grief and remembrance, and it becomes obvious that it heavily influenced his spirituality. In fact, Lewis ultimately comes to a revolutionary redefinition of his own characterisation of God: experiencing gratitude for having received and experienced the gift of a true love.

The book is divided into four parts, each headed with a Roman numeral, and each a collection of excerpts from his journals documenting scattered impressions and his continuously evolving state of mind.

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