Study Guide

A Canticle for Leibowitz Chapter 8

By Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Chapter 8

  • With Abbot Arkos off his back for once, Francis is free to pursue his illuminated copy without care.
  • Fingo also returns to his project of carving a wood statue of Leibowitz. Francis enjoys watching the brother carve his statue, and as the face materializes, he feels he's seen it somewhere.
  • Then Francis falls ill.
  • When he manages to return to the workshop several months later, he's still sure he's seen the bloke somewhere (psst, it's hinted to be the old wanderer at 8.18).
  • Brother Horner dies. Brother Jeris takes the kind monk's place.
  • The new master of the copyroom quickly puts a kibosh on Francis's pet project.
  • Not long after, Monsignor Aguerra arrives at the abbey. He's serving as Leibowitz's postulator in the case of sainthood—in other words, he's the guy trying to prove Leibowitz is totally saintly.
  • Francis is sent to talk with the postulator. Abbot Arkos warns him to be careful what he says, with the minor threat of a deadly beating thrown in for good measure.
  • Monsignor Aguerra provides Francis with a written account of his meeting with the old wanderer. Francis is awestruck at how horribly not like reality the account is and corrects the matter in his ever-honest way.
  • Aguerra is mildly disappointed at losing "miracle number seven," but believes he has enough evidence to support Leibowitz's case all the same (8.65).
  • Before leaving, he stops by the scriptorium to ask Francis to see the illuminated copy. He loves it, and begs Francis to finish his work.
  • And that's how Francis got his groove back.

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