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MonkeyNotes-The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
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SECTION Summaries and Notes

PART I

"Christian makes his way toward the Wicket Gate"

The author, John Bunyan, begins his allegory by relating a dream he has had in which a man stands reading a book. The man is in tattered clothes with a burden on his back, trembling and crying aloud, "What shall I do?" His wife and children, not understanding what is troubling him, ask the reason for his despair and he tells them he is burdened by something that will eventually destroy them all. Soon, the man's family and friends become annoyed with him, telling him first that he is sick, then that he is crazy. The man, named Christian, is quite alone in his despair.

One day he meets a man named Evangelist, who comforts him somewhat by telling him if he can follow the Light to the Wicket Gate, he will know what to do to ease his despair. Christian sets out for the Wicket Gate, relieved, until his family tries to stop him. He shrugs them off and runs toward the Light crying, "Life! Eternal Life!" Two men, named Pliable and Obstinate, join Christian on his journey with the intention of stopping him. Christian tries to convince them to join him. Obstinate gives up on Christian and returns to the village. Pliable decides to follow Christian in his quest. Together, the two head for the Light and the Wicket Gate, talking excitedly about the great things that await them.


On the way, Pliable and Christian fall into a pit called the Slough of Despond. It is a swamp full of slime and mud, and the two struggle to get free of it. Pliable is totally discouraged by this event, deciding that Christian's expectations are not worth the troubles they have encountered. He gives up and leaves Christian alone to head to the Wicket Gate. Back in the village, Pliable is the butt of many jokes for falling prey to Christian's "foolish" ideas. Christian, meanwhile, struggles to get across the Slough alone when a man named Help comes and assists.

Christian soon meets a gentleman named Mr. Worldly Wiseman. Mr. Wiseman persuades Christian to lighten his burden by going to live in a village called Morality. Morality is a good place, safe and honest, and there Christian can live a good life. A man named Legality lives in Morality, and Mr. Worldly Wiseman promises that Legality can help Christian forget his burdens. Christian is about to give in when he sees Evangelist in the distance. Evangelist chastises Christian for being so easily deterred from his goals. He tells Christian that Morality is not bad, necessarily; but it is not the Celestial City. He tells Christian that unless he gets to the Wicket Gate and goes inside the Celestial City, he will never get rid of his burdens. Christian begs for forgiveness and sets off anew for the Wicket Gate and the Light.

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