The Valpo Core Reader

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Freshman Seminar Essay

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In William Golding's novel, The Spire, the central character, Dean Jocelin, a priest, wants very much to glorify his house of God by building onto it an immense spire. From the beginning of "his Folly," Jocelin realizes that he "must remember that the spire isn't everything" (5), but unfortunately for him, "at the moment of vision, the eyes see nothing• (20). During the construction of the spire, Jocelin comes to regard the spire as a living, breathing object, which must be sustained by many sacrifices that he must make for it. As the spire and the cathedral itself become more human, Jocelin begins to sacrifice the humanness of those around him as well as his own. Finally, Jocelin makes the ultimate sacrifice, the gift of his own life to the cathedral and spire, so that they may stand.