Study Guide

A Canticle for Leibowitz Chapter 7

By Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Chapter 7

  • Seven years later, Brother Francis is still rocking it in the abbey, novice-style.
  • Poor guy. He just wants a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, you know?
  • One day, a messenger from New Rome arrives to tell Brother Francis he believes the documents Francis discovered are authentic. Like, they are really, really old.
  • Because that's basically what "authentic" means to scholars… and hipsters.
  • The messenger explains to Francis that Arkos turned the relics over to another Order so that the examination would have no taint of bias. Since Liebowitz was the founding Bro of Arkos's Order and all.
  • Francis is pretty stoked, because now Leibowitz's case for sainthood will be reopened, along with the shelter.
  • The messenger asks for Francis's side of the story, which he receives.
  • A few days later, Arkos tells Francis it is time he took his vows. Francis faints. This moment has been a long time coming.
  • Two weeks pass.
  • Francis takes his vows, having set the record for most Lenten vigils. Way to go, buddy.
  • He receives a job in the copyroom where the monks make copies of the Memorabilia's books. By hand. The rediscovery of "Copy and Paste" cannot get to these guys soon enough. Ugh, pre-computer history is such a drag.
  • A monk named Horner is in charge of the copyroom. He says Francis can pick a pet project. He has this fun theory that people do better work they have a pet project to keep them invested.
  • Francis chooses to make an illuminated manuscript of the Leibowitz blueprint. Snazzy.
  • He spends the next few months working on a copy of Leibowitz's "'STATOR WNDG MOD 73-A 3-PH 6-P 1800RPM 5-HP CL-A SQUIRREL CAGE'" (7.54). You read that right: months.
  • A fellow copyist, Brother Jeris, teases Francis at his lack of understanding of the diagram. But Francis has faith that one day the diagram will become illuminated—get it?—if not to him, then to someone else.
  • One day, Abbot Arkos spies Francis working on the manuscript. The abbot asks him what it is, and Francis tells him.
  • The abbot walks away as if it's nothing. Francis doesn't notice. He's too busy lying on the ground after fainting.
  • Guy's kind of an avid fainter, we have to admit.

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