Study Guide

A Canticle for Leibowitz Chapter 5

By Walter M. Miller, Jr.

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Chapter 5

  • Francis returns to finish his Lenten vigil. Different spot; same weaksauce desert hangout.
  • He's mystified at the whole situation, wondering why everyone is so excited about the old wanderer and not the new Memorabilia.
  • Thinking on his past, Francis remembers that he only ever wanted to "devour such knowledge" (5.6)—to get himself an education.
  • The reason he signed up for monkhood was that the Church was the only name in the education game. So his choices were either become a monk or become a warrior. And that meant to die young.
  • Francis keeps thinking deep thoughts for a while.
  • After his vigil ends, Francis returns to the abbot.
  • Arkos demands he tell him the old wanderer was not the Blessed Leibowitz. Francis states he cannot say one way or another.
  • Dissatisfied with this answer, he informs the novice that Francis won't be permitted to profess his vows with the others this year.
  • Like the class clown who goofs off too much to get his work done, Francis is getting held back a year. Even though all he really did is make a major discovery. Lot of thanks that got 'im.

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