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Functions of Mark Studdock in N.I.C.E.

Functions of Mark Studdock in N.I.C.E.

Analysis of That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis: character Mark Studdock

Functions of Mark Studdock in N.I.C.E.


Mark Studdock is a sociologist and a member of the Progressive Element at college of Bracton. Mark’s way to Good happens gradually. In the beginning of story, he works for N.I.C.E. and tries to gain admittance among members of this exclusive group by all means. Mark feels prideful, when he succeeded to become important in N.I.C.E.  It should be noted that he is a good person by nature, but his understanding is affected by the opinions of N.I.C.E.’s members. A part of him told him not to join this devilish organization, but he ignored his inner voice. Only being a member of N.I.C.E. and revealing its secrets for himself, Mark realized that he made wrong choice. At the end of story Marks returns to his wife Jane and treats her with love and reverence.

Actually Mark Studdock never wanted to be taken into inner circles of organization; he just wanted to enter the popular group. Mark didn’t understand, that entry to N.I.C.E. would oblige him to participate in the anti-Christian rituals. Mark is an unbeliever, so he considers these rituals senseless and sometimes cruel. However, the more Mark Studdock observes the side of N.I.C.E. work, the more he realizes that this evil organization controls much of the life in Edgestow town. It put him before the choice: to succumb to the evil will of N.I.C.E. despite him already knowing about its intents, or to find strength to oppose and join the group at St. Anne’s.  

Hurd Crystal describes Mark’s role in N.I.C.E. as a desire to please those who already joined the inner circles of the organization. For N.I.C.E. Mark is only an instrument of promoting propaganda in the social and political life of the country. Mark even does not understand that he is a pawn in the game of dark forces, which intend to glutton and usurp the power on the Earth (Crystal 2014, without pagination).

Mark always dreamt about the successful carrier, similarly to his wife Jane, but he acted indifferently at first, even when the luck was in his hands. Being accepted in N.I.C.E. he didn’t try to demonstrate himself as a true leader. He was not interested in what happens around. Mark realized that he doesn’t want to change anything, because he feels comfortable and convenient in the circumstances in which he exists now. He compares himself with a child and this infantilise does not bother him much. Nevertheless, his model of behaviour changes under affect of his colleague – a warrior-like Amazon, who behaves like a man. She drinks a lot of whisky and smoke cigars. Commonly, his male colleagues behave completely similarly. Mark liked people around him very much, e.g.: 

The upholstery was of such quality that one felt it ought to be good to eat. And what fine, male energy (Mark felt sick of women at the moment) revealed itself in the very gestures with which Feverstone settled himself at the wheel and put his elbow on the horn, and clasped his pipe firmly between his teeth! (THS, p. 38).

Later Mark tries to suit the expectations of his colleagues in N.I.C.E. However, the true manifestation of the masculine type of thinking is observed during these meditations about the destiny of his wife who was in the danger. His attempts to do heroic acts or rebellion are revealed in the protection against the old and new institutional ways of life. Mark feels a need in showing his bravery, courage and leadership. It is a transformation of the hero. He goes from indifference to the leadership. Together with changes in Mark’s character and behaviour, the outer world becomes not so strange for Mark.

As a result of inner spiritual searches, Mark returned to his wife Jane, e.g.:

Suddenly the diffused light brightened and flushed. He looked up and perceived a great lady standing by a doorway in a wall. It was not Jane, not like Jane. It was larger, almost gigantic. It was not human, though it was like a woman divinely tall, part naked, part wrapped in a flame-coloured robe. Light came from it. The face was enigmatic, ruthless he thought, inhumanly beautiful. It was opening the door for him. He did not dare disobey (“Surely,” he thought, “I must have died”), and he went in: found himself in some place of sweet smells and bright fires, with food and wine and a rich bed (THS, p. 376).

According to this fragment, Mark experienced extraordinary changes in the life. After he accepted the side of Good and understood that he was wrong about Jane, he got the second chance. This fragment symbolizes the act of repentance that gave liberation to his mind and soul.

At the end of story the readers see them on the bed, abundantly covered with flowers and blessed by the Goddess of Love, e.g.:

And now she was half way to the lodge, and thought of Mark and of all his sufferings. When she came to the lodge she was surprised to see it all dark and the door shut. As she stood at the door with one hand on the latch, a new thought came to her. How if Mark did not want hernot tonight, nor in that way, nor any time, nor in any way? How if Mark were not there after all? A great gap of relief or of disappointment, no one could say was made in her mind by this thought. Still she did not move the latch. Then she noticed that the window, the bedroom window was open. Clothes were piled on a chair inside the room so carelessly that they lay over the sill: the sleeve of a shirt Mark’s shirt even hung over down the outside wall. And in all this damp too. How exactly like Mark? Obviously it was high time she went in (THS, p. 356).

This fragment symbolizes the transition of Mark and Jane Studdock’s marriage to the new level – Christian one. Their marriage answers to the Christian beliefs about family values. The wife follows her husband. She must obey him, as Jane does now. Mark, in its turn, must be the head of family. Now he understood his role in building the God blessed family happiness.


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