Six Degrees: From Scarboy to Much Afraid
Finding a connection between two characters in two different books is not always easy, but its a great mental exercise and one of the benefits of traveling through the Six Degrees universe. Going from one tale to the next, you never know quite where this journey will take you because all of us have read different books and even if we’ve read the same book we probably have not experienced them in quite the same way. This week, however, finding a connection to the characters in Tales of the Kingdom, the story Jenelle talked about last week, was the easiest one yet. I had not even gotten half way through the article before I knew what book and what character it reminded me of—Much Afraid from Hind’s Feet on High Places.
Much Afraid is “much” like Scarboy from Tales of the Kingdom. Scarboy has “an ugly scar on his face” and has been “the brunt of many cruel taunts because of it.” Much Afraid is also deformed. She has clubbed feed, deformed hands, and a crooked mouth. She does not believe she belongs on the High Places with the Chief Shepherd, even though he has promised her that he can help her go there. Like Scarboy, she does make the journey however and, much like the King from Tales of the Kingdom, the Chief Shepherd transforms her there and gives her a new name, Grace and Glory. The Chief Shepherd is like the King as well in that he is kind and good and wise beyond anyone else in the kingdom.
Once Much Afraid decides to embark on her journey, her relatives, the Fearings all try to stop her from going. Her cousin Craven Fear is one of the most insistent that she stay in her home in the Valley of Humiliation. He basically tries to bully her into marrying him, but, like all bullies, he proves himself a coward when push comes to shove.
Her two principal companions on the journey, sent to help her by the Chief Shepherd are Sorrow and Suffering. These two veiled women never speak and Much Afraid never likes to ask for their help, but with her clubbed feet, she is forced to take their aid at many points along her journey to the High Places, though never without painful consequences.
One of the most difficult encounters she has on her journey is with her cousin, Pride, sent by her relatives to bring her home. Handsome and charming, Pride shadows her for a time until he decides to make his move. In a moment of weakness poor Much Afraid takes his hand and finds it impossible to let go. Only by calling for help from the Chief Shepherd is she able to free herself from Pride’s unshakable grip.
Another of her relatives who comes to take her back is the sickly Self Pity. He reminds Much Afraid of all the trials and tribulations along the way (blaming the Chief Shepherd for them of course) and for a time she stops to listen to him. Sorrow and suffering stop up her ears, however, and though it is painful, once her relatives realize she will not listen to them, they eventually wander away and allow her to continue her journey.
As an Allegory, the characters are not overly distinct apart from their names, and the book is rather short so there are not all that many of them, but hopefully that will be enough to go on for anyone who would like to join Jenelle and I on the Six Degrees trail. For instructions, and a whole list of all the posts in this series, hop on over to the Six Degrees page and have a gander.
Hope you enjoyed this brief romp through the High Places. We’ll see where our hind’s feet take us next week as we continue the journey.