"I went down into the valley yet never since she opened her eyes has she given me one unselfish thought"
Engraving from the 1890 edition of the Pilgrim’s Progress, showing Christian beset by demons in the valley of the shadow of death
Public DomainEngraving from the 1890 edition of the Pilgrim’s Progress, showing Christian beset by demons in the valley of the shadow of death - Credit: Frederick Barnard et al.

The reference is to Psalms 23.4: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” The valley, representing the trials and tests of faith through which only a true Christian can pass, is described in detail in Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. A nightmarish place, it is peopled by satyrs, hobgoblins and dragons; snares and pitfalls imperil the way and demons whisper blasphemies in one’s ear. The praise which Christian raises to God after his safe passage contrasts markedly with Mrs Compson’s ungenerous meditations on the suffering others have caused her.

 

 

 

 

 

The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Public DomainThe Valley of the Shadow of Death - Credit: George Inness