I saw your post about Brideshead Revisited and I wanted to say that I love it too! What do you think of the ending - bittersweet, but is Charles as encouraged as he thinks he is? His life seems pretty bleak.
My Anglo-Catholic instinct, in replying to this, is to yell “THE FLAME IS LIT IN THE CHAPEL!” and then flail a lot. Because… that’s what it’s about, in the end, for Charles. Yes, he is still staring down the Age of Hooper. Yes, he is still, in his own words, “homeless, childless, middle-aged, and loveless.” (Cue me moaning aloud.) But the veil between heaven and earth has been torn in two! And though he has long resisted responding to this knowledge, this revelation, Charles cannot, in the end, escape the twitch upon the thread.
So, to preempt my own rhapsodizing about Charles and theology and Waugh’s prose, YES, I think he is… more than encouraged, profoundly heartened. I mean, he’s entered the church (as in, he’s had a conversion experience and been received, not just that he’s walked through the door.) He sees that ridiculously-designed lamp and sees the Real Presence, the immanence of the divine! He prays, in that “ancient, newly learned form of words.” He sees all of it, all of that passionate, tragic, flawed history, as being, in the end, a purification, a double (or triple? if we count Sebastian, Julia, and God) love story that brings him truly home, home to Brideshead and to the chapel where the lamp burns for soldiers “farther in heart than Acre or Jerusalem.”
…If you want me, I’ll just be sobbing over Charles Ryder in the corner. Given suitable time for emotional recovery, though, I am ALWAYS up for discussion of Brideshead Revisited.