The Seven Storey Mountain - Part 3: Chapter 2, True North Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Seven Storey Mountain.
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Part 3: Chapter 2, True North Summary and Analysis

The events of being made to withdraw his application to the Franciscans, followed by his berating in the confessional, sent Merton into a fitful and frustrating holding pattern. He was unhappy as a layman, but had been told that he had no calling to the priesthood. He still yearned to be a monk and a priest, but refused to tell anyone that. He got a job teaching at St. Bonaventure and he started to follow the liturgical office and keep a schedule and lifestyle like that of a monk. He decided that if he wouldn't be allowed to live as a monk in a monastery, he would try his best to live as a monk in the world.

He received a draft notice but failed the physical because of his teeth. He made a retreat to Our Lady of Gethsemani during Easter. "The only question was not which Order attracted me more, but which one tortured me the more with a solitude and silence and contemplation that could never be mine", he wrote.

It's interesting that Merton registered his draft papers as a noncombatant, not because he was morally opposed to war, but because he was opposed to the methods of warfare. He wrote that he could not argue that there is no war that is just. But he was uncomfortable with the details—bombing raids and death of innocents. As a religious with plans to enter a monastery, he could have easily filed as a conscientious objector.

This chapter includes a long narrative of Merton describing a scene the way he imagines the cloisters of monasteries to be. He paints the brothers in the rosiest of lights—all pious and devoted. Merton does this often throughout the book—providing the reader with these little, or sometimes rather long, reveries into his imagination.

This section contains 320 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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