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The Pilgrim’s Progress

John Bunyan

Part II: The Eighth Stage, Author’s Farewell

Part II: The Sixth Stage, the Seventh Stage

Part II: The Eighth Stage, Author’s Farewell, page 2

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Summary

Christiana and her group arrive at the spot where Christian once met Little-Faith. There they meet Valiant-for-truth standing with his sword drawn. Valiant-for-truth says three thieves jumped him, and after much strenuous combat he repelled them. Great-heart expresses amazement that one man could turn away three attackers and asks why Valiant-for-truth did not call for aid. Valiant-for-truth says he asked the Lord for help silently and received it. He then tells the story of his pilgrimage and how he passed through the same obstacles that Christian did. When Valiant-for-truth admits he learned from Christian’s example, Great-heart is pleased that Christian’s story has spread so widely.

The pilgrims travel onward, accompanied by Valiant-for-truth. In the Enchanted Ground, they become weary, and the landscape grows dark around them. They stumble, drag their feet, and eventually they come upon a place of rest, an arbor with couches. They warn themselves not to rest there, since the place is a trick to thwart pilgrims. Proceeding on, they find another arbor with two pilgrims, Heedless and Too-bold, asleep on couches inside. The pilgrims try to awaken the sleepers, who make nonsensical replies to them. Great-heart says they talk in their sleep and that their words are spoken without reason. Great-heart lights a lantern to brighten the group’s way onward through the darkness.

Beyond the Enchanted Ground, they find a pilgrim kneeling in prayer. His name is Standfast. Valiant-for-truth asks him why he is on the ground. Standfast explains that he has just turned away a tall, attractive dark woman who offered him her bed, her money, and herself. The woman spoke smoothly, smiling at the end of each sentence, and fingered her purse while talking. Standfast says he rejected her, and Great-heart recognizes this woman as Madam Bubble, whom some see as a goddess but who has no real powers. According to Great-heart, she loves parties and money and has been stirring up trouble since biblical times. Great-heart commends Standfast for rejecting her.

The pilgrims arrive in the land of Beulah, home of the Celestial City. The locals clothe the pilgrims in fresh garments. The local children bring them perfumed bouquets. A special-delivery letter arrives for Christiana announcing that the Master expects to see her before him within ten days. The messenger gives Christiana a token to assure her of his legitimacy: an arrow that enters her heart and spreads love there. Christiana visits each of the pilgrims and bids them farewell.

Each of the remaining pilgrims also receives a special post from the Master. Ready-to-halt wishes to leave a legacy, so he bequeaths his crutches to his son before departing. Feeble-mind regrets having nothing to bequeath. He leaves too, as does each of the others. The narrator says he does not know what happened to Christiana’s sons and their families. He left before he found out, but he has heard they are still alive.

The author succinctly says goodbye to the reader.

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The man in the iron cage

by Ewan_Wattameye, July 14, 2013

I would take a certain issue with the observation that Bunyan invokes his own imprisonment when he writes about the man in the iron cage. Certainly Bunyan would have been sensitive to the idea of imprisonment, and this sensitivity could very well have emboldened his passion to warn others of the unwanted consequences of certain behaviors, but I believe there the similarity ends. Bunyan had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel without an official sanction from the religious establishment of the day; the unjust result of extreme obedienc

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5 out of 7 people found this helpful

Missed key symbol

by rara_greenaway, March 10, 2015

The characters are very important in establishing the journey. It also dramatic irony in some cases, for instance when Christian talks to the worldly wise man- you know that he will lead him away from his current journey because you understand his name (or label) in context.

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