1 - Behind the Gym

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1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » May 01, 2017 2:56 am

1. In his essay “On Stories,” C.S. Lewis wrote that he loved atmosphere more than excitement in a story. What atmosphere do you feel in the first few pages of The Silver Chair?

2. Why does Lewis wait to reveal that the boy is Eustace?

3. Why do you think Eustace decides to tell Jill his secret?

4. If The Silver Chair was your first Narnia book, what do you think your first impressions of Scrubb would have been?

5. Lewis’s writes: “The Head said they were interesting psychological cases and sent for them and talked to them for hours. And if you knew the right sort of things to say to the Head, the main result was that you became rather a favourite than otherwise.” Do think it is possible that something like this could happen at a school? Why or Why not?

6. Why did Jill feel shy when Eustace was telling her his secret?

7. Based on this chapter, what is your impression of Jill?

8. When Eustace fell, did you think he died? Even for a moment?

9. Whose fault is it that Eustace falls off the cliff? Or is it no one’s fault?
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Reepicheep775 » May 01, 2017 2:58 pm

1. Lewis is really good at creating atmosphere and I have pretty vivid imagery in my head for both Experiment House and Aslan's Country. I don't really know how else to describe them without just quoting the book though.

2. I think Lewis might have waited to reveal who Eustace was, so that the readers would gain a connection with Jill before one of the main characters from the last book is re-introduced. Jill is going to be the main focus of the story, so I think it makes sense to start with her. There's a very short amount of time for the reader to gain that connection, but I think she's a character you sympathize with immediately.

3. I would think that Eustace would be burning with desire to talk to someone about Narnia. Going to Narnia was an incredibly powerful, life-changing experience for Eustace and to me it makes sense that he would want to tell someone about it. His cousins, the only people who know about Narnia as far as he is aware, aren't around. I think it's safe to say, since Jill hates Experiment House and the bullies there, that she wouldn't make fun of Eustace and so maybe he figures Jill is as good a person as any. I think the fact that they have a mutual hatred of Experiment House and are both bullied give them an instant sense of fellowship - at least on Eustace's end - and he's more prone to trust her.

4. I would think that Eustace is a decent sort of chap. :p

5. I think that Experiment House is Lewis poking fun at "modern" schools and attitudes towards morality as an exaggerated satire. I don't think - least I hope - such a school couldn't exist in the real world, although I do think Lewis was referring to a real trend he saw in education.

As a side note, I have the feeling that the film-makers are going to misunderstand Experiment House and its function in the story. I can imagine someone reading SC and thinking that Lewis's descriptions of the way Experiment House operates as being an out-of-place rant from Lewis that really has very little to do with the story i.e. the real important thing is that Jill is being bullied, not that the school is "too modern". Some of the descriptions - particularly the part about the school being co-educational, which I think most of us take for granted now - make Lewis seem like just an old curmudgeon. However, I think Experiment House is important thematically because, for me SC is all about duty, and both Jill and Eustace (though, of course, Eustace thinks differently now) have been brought up in an environment that not only doesn't punish bad behaviour, it doesn't even seem to think that the bullies' behaviour is "bad". To the powers that be at Experiment House, those who do evil are not to be blamed or corrected, but simply to be cured. Jill and Eustace are essentially being raised without any conception of personal responsibility or moral conviction.

6. I can relate to Jill's shyness after Eustace tells her his secret. There are certain things like an appreciation for beauty or poetry or experiences of sehnsucht that are difficult to tell people about. Eustace's experiences of Narnia and Jill's own "longing for something like this" are so personal to them and so precious that it almost feels like they will shatter if you speak them out loud. Or you might tell the wrong person, someone who doesn't sympathize and they won't understand, will think you are weird, will mock you etc.

7. Jill seems very closed off and defensive. She seems to want to just be left alone and will assume the worst of people even if they are friendly.

8. Honestly, it's been too long since I first read this book (over a decade now! :-o ) for me to remember whether or not I thought Eustace had died.

9. They both are and aren't to blame. Jill was being a showoff and that was bad, but she hardly had the intention for Eustace to plummet to his death. Still he arrogance directly led to him falling. It depends on whether you think intention or outcome is more important in morality. I would tend to go with intention, so I don't think she is as guilty as she probably feels... though still guilty of being a showoff. As for Eustace, he probably could have been more careful, but trying to keep Jill from falling was well-intentioned.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 01, 2017 8:50 pm

1. In his essay “On Stories,” C.S. Lewis wrote that he loved atmosphere more than excitement in a story. What atmosphere do you feel in the first few pages of The Silver Chair?

I couldn't think of a better time of year, and possibly a dreary time of year, for the beginning of Silver Chair than "a dull autumn day". Autumn has been pleasantly warm so far down here, with only a couple of really cool days below the 21C mark. But when I read the beginning of the chapter, I immediately thought of Good Friday, which in a cool year, here, can often be cloudy or rainy, even though it is just as often followed by a glorious Easter Sunday morning. Or more recently still, the Anzac Day commemorative marches of April 25th, starting with cold dawn services, people marching in the rain, accompanying elderly and disabled ex-servicemen, and the sober reflection about those who died in WW1 and 2, plus subsequent wars.

In Northern Hemisphere terms I'd imagine that the Harvest Moon (whenever that is) would be over, that there would be no more October multicoloured displays of trees about to shed their leaves, and that the weather presages winter. I'd expect the full moon might be a Hunter's Moon (I think that is what it is - is that the one where I'm supposed to howl to the moon? :p ). Maybe the time of year when the old Celtic festival of Samhain would be echoed in Halloween shortly, and Guy Fawkes Day celebrations would commemorate the November 5th attempt to blow up England's Parliament House at Westminster in the time of James 1 (Early 1600's)? And Remembrance Day isn't too much further in the future, bookending Anzac Day. I am going by tradition and festivals, and the countdown to winter, since I've never been in the Northern Hemisphere later in the year than October 1st.

And it is a day, for British students at any rate, which would be far into the autumn term, when the school routine and who's who in classes is well established, when we first meet a crying Jill, because the school she is at doesn't do anything to stop bullying, let alone the sorts of things which she has been forced to undergo. The school is called Experiment House, and, understandably, Jill doesn't feel happy there.

2. Why does Lewis wait to reveal that the boy is Eustace?

First of all because Lewis introduces Jill first. She is a character we don't know yet and for the next chapter or so, if not longer, Silver Chair is primarily from her point of view. Secondly, because this book can be read both in relationship with previous books or as a stand-alone. And, until Lewis decides to introduce Eustace, we don't know how he is going to react to a crying girl he almost trips over. He is just strolling along without a care in the world, with his hands in his pockets, a no-no for boys in that time and era, and until he is named, we don't know that he also attends Experiment House from VDT, even if we haven't read the other books first.

How would the Eustace we know and love from the beginning of VDT react to such a girl, so miserable in the circumstances, do you think?

3. Why do you think Eustace decides to tell Jill his secret?

Basically, because he has been telling her some increasingly very far out sorts of things. Firstly to help her, and then when she rejects such help, to explain why he would be different from the Eustace we knew from the beginning of VDT. And lastly, but not leastly, because Jill knows only too well how frightful the bullying at Experiment House has become. It seems Jill is either his own age or not very far behind, and knew him from the previous school year.

4. If The Silver Chair was your first Narnia book, what do you think your first impressions of Scrubb would have been?

Although Lewis is at pains to insist Eustace "means well", it does seem that he still tends to patronise other people somewhat and to try to boss them around. As he did on the Dawn Treader. However, if The Silver Chair was the first book I read, I wouldn't have known immediately about his dragoning and undragoning, let alone about his other adventures with King Caspian X aboard the Dawn Treader. And let alone what he was like before that adventure he had whilst being enchanted as a dragon. The cautious, "he's not a bad sort", suggests that we shouldn't be too quick to judge Eustace, despite Jill's outburst about his reputation of toadying to bullies, and to listen when he says what he has been doing at school since the summer holidays.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 01, 2017 10:07 pm

C.S. Lewis wrote:Scrubb still had her by the hand and they were walking forward, staring about them on every side. Jill saw that huge trees, rather like cedars but bigger, grew in every direction. But as they did not grow close together, and as there was no undergrowth, this did not prevent one from seeing a long way into the forest to left and right. And as far as Jill's eye could reach, it was all the same—level turf, darting birds with yellow, or dragonfly blue, or rainbow plumage, blue shadows, and emptiness. These was not a breath of wind in that cool, bright air. It was a very lonely forest.


That last sentence stuck out at me as I was re-reading this chapter today.

As we later discover, Eustace and Jill are in Aslan's Country. Comparing the description here to the descriptions The Last Battle, though, there seems to be some evolution here. I never got the sense that Aslan's Country in LB was a lonely or empty place; to the contrary, it was brimming with pure life, in both the abstract sense and in terms of living beings. I've been wondering lately about how they will portray Aslan's Country in the upcoming film, and I am also wondering here: is the emptiness and loneliness in Aslan's Country indicative of Jill's internal spiritual landscape?

Jill comes across as a really desolate individual at the beginning of The Silver Chair. When the Lion, at this time, holds nothing but terror for her, could his Country be anything but an empty, solitary place? When thinking back to what Aslan's Country looked like to the Dwarfs who refused to be taken in, this seems probable to me, and it makes me really curious how this may influence the Aslan's Country scenes in the film—especially considering that when Jill returns there at the end of the book, she is not the same girl that she was before. If a person's perception of Aslan's Country is reflective of what's happening on the inside, then I would think that it would look different the second time around.


On to the questions! Just a handful of them now, but I may come back and answer others if I have something to add. :)

1. In his essay “On Stories,” C.S. Lewis wrote that he loved atmosphere more than excitement in a story. What atmosphere do you feel in the first few pages of The Silver Chair?

The cloudy, misty autumn day and the rain dripping on the leaves gets to me every time I start this book. It reminds me of memories in my own life that I can't quite remember, but it pulls up the feelings all the same... pensiveness, loneliness. My favorite moment in the chapter, though, is when Eustace tells Jill his secret. The atmosphere of sharing a secret in whispers, of telling something truly unbelievable, really captures my imagination. Could you believe me if I said I'd been right out of the world—outside this world—last hols? I get goosebumps! I'm really excited to see this scene in the movie.

5. Lewis’s writes: “The Head said they were interesting psychological cases and sent for them and talked to them for hours. And if you knew the right sort of things to say to the Head, the main result was that you became rather a favourite than otherwise.” Do think it is possible that something like this could happen at a school? Why or Why not?

I imagine it's possible, but hopefully very uncommon. I do know that C.S. Lewis was enrolled at a particularly awful boarding school where the headmaster was eventually committed to an insane asylum, so I've always supposed that he was probably drawing on those memories some when writing about Experiment House, especially at the end of the story when the Head is described as behaving like a lunatic.

6. Why did Jill feel shy when Eustace was telling her his secret?

I think it's because Eustace was speaking about something that was obviously very difficult for him to share. He comes across as a pretty practical and matter-of-fact fellow for most of their conversation up until that point, and suddenly his face is growing red and he's making himself very vulnerable to her. Her shyness here kind of reminds me of the quietness and stillness that comes over you when you're out in nature and you happen across an animal that you don't want to scare away, but you also feel a bit startled by the creature yourself and like you're an alien entering their personal, hidden realm. Is it okay to be there? Are you trespassing?

I also like what Reepicheep said about their feelings about Narnia being so intensely personal that it feels like they will shatter if they try to voice them.

7. Based on this chapter, what is your impression of Jill?

She is very alone and has a very difficult time trusting anyone, and maybe no one has ever really trusted her with anything either until Eustace shared his secret. Because she is so vulnerable and afraid all of the time herself, she despises seeing these things in others: I think that's why she is repulsed when Eustace shows white-faced fear at the cliff.

8. When Eustace fell, did you think he died? Even for a moment?

No, I don't think I did. I have a tendency to try to predict what's going to happen in a story based on general storytelling patterns and how far along we are in the progression of the plot, and it would have been highly irregular for a writer to kill off a character that quickly, much less a beloved one from a previous tale and in a children's book series to boot. I think Glumpuddle mentioned something similar in the recent podcast: the Hamlet-like knight shows up so late in the story that the reader can guess that he's very likely to be Rilian, simply because Lewis is running out of time to introduce someone else.

9. Whose fault is it that Eustace falls off the cliff? Or is it no one’s fault?

Eustace's, obviously! If he hadn't gone over to help her, he wouldn't have fallen. Plain and simple. :P No, I think it was Jill's fault, even though she didn't intend to make him fall. What else could any decent person do but try to help her when she's swaying on the edge of a cliff? Nobody would have been at risk of falling at all if she hadn't been showing-off, and Eustace tried to warn her of the danger beforehand.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 02, 2017 11:07 pm

5. Lewis’s writes: “The Head said they were interesting psychological cases and sent for them and talked to them for hours. And if you knew the right sort of things to say to the Head, the main result was that you became rather a favourite than otherwise.” Do think it is possible that something like this could happen at a school? Why or Why not?

Yes I do think something like this circumstance could happen at a school. It has even happened to me, when I was sent up to the Headmaster to be caned as a small child, for damaging school property. I had been chewing the end of my pen, you see, and had chewed so much of the wooden handle, that apart from the steel nib, there wasn't much left of it. :ymdevil: The headmaster had copies of three famous paintings on his office walls, one being that one of Vermeer, of the girl with the pearl earring. And when I asked him about the paintings, he spent so much time explaining who painted these three pictures to me he forgot to cane me. :ymsmug: But that was a while before I'd read the Silver Chair, so really and truly, it didn't give me any ideas. O:-)

Just as at a job interview, whether or not you get the job, or get punished at school for misdeeds, much can depend on if you know the right things to say at the right time, to the right people, especially for older children, who have learned a thing or two. And most particularly, a lot depends on the personal prejudices of the teachers concerned, including the headmaster/mistress.

6. Why did Jill feel shy when Eustace was telling her his secret?

I expect because he has only just met her to talk to, and in circumstances where she had at first assumed that he was one of the hangers on of the bullies who had been tormenting her. She doesn't know if he is trying to get a lend of her, something the bullies would try to do, and when she hears the secret, she doesn't know whether to believe him or not, or why he would risk telling her such a thing. I do agree with Rose-tree Dryad that it would have been difficult for Eustace to share his knowledge of Narnia with Jill and it was a tremendous leap of trust for him.

7. Based on this chapter, what is your impression of Jill?

Jill has become rather self-absorbed, due to the bullying, and, like the bullies who have been hurting her, has little concept of placing herself in another person's shoes. She knows the bullying is wrong, but, like her schoolmates, has not been taught elementary safety rules that everyone should obey, whether heights scare them or not. She doesn't know yet even if she likes Eustace. I wonder what her background is, and think she must have been alone a lot before that time.

8. When Eustace fell, did you think he died? Even for a moment?

At first it seems only too likely. But then we see a lion rushing to the cliffside and blowing him away. Still, even though we don't know yet it is Aslan, the circumstance is strange, and death is still a quite likely outcome.

9. Whose fault is it that Eustace falls off the cliff? Or is it no one’s fault?

Jill's of course, since showing off recklessly without regard to safety issues, isn't really a good idea. Something the Experiment House bullies might not have appreciated, either. Eustace might not have the best social skills for the situation, but did try to help Jill. However, Jill didn't really mean to hurt Eustace so that he fell over the cliff.
Later in the book she starts to realise how foolishly she behaved at the cliffside.


In another way, both he and Jill are victims of Experiment House, which must have had quite a long list of people having to attend the sick bay, for one reason or another, because of the bullying. In that sense, and only in that sense, it is arguably no one's fault.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Glumpuddle » May 04, 2017 8:13 am

4. If The Silver Chair was your first Narnia book, what do you think your first impressions of Scrubb would have been?

A mysterious character. First things we learn about him: 1) He is completely different from the way he was last term, 2) He claims to have visited another world recently. I almost wonder if the opening of SC is better in some ways if you haven't read any of the other books.

If possible, I'd like them to play up that mystery a bit in the movie. Use it as a hook for the story.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » May 04, 2017 3:47 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:He is just strolling along without a care in the world, with his hands in his pockets, a no-no for boys in that time and era,

This is so interesting. Do you know why boys were not supposed to have their hands in their pockets?

Edit:
waggawerewolf27 wrote:How would the Eustace we know and love from the beginning of VDT react to such a girl, so miserable in the circumstances, do you think?
I image he would have teased her and added to her misery. Maybe he would have written a limerick.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Moonlit_Centaur » May 05, 2017 10:00 am

1) In his essay ‘On Stories’ C.S.Lewis wrote that he loved atmosphere more than excitement in a story. What atmosphere do you feel in the first few pages of the Silver Chair?
I feel that Lewis makes you feel as if you are at Experiment House yourself and if you have ever been bullied then you know how Jill is feeling. Sometimes, if you want to be alone, it can be annoying when someone else comes along and I feel like that Jill is feeling annoyance towards Eustace when he finds her crying. Again you feel as if you are with the children when they step through the door into another world and I felt Eustace’s fear when Jill stepped to the edge. This is a good use of atmosphere because it shows that Lewis has really understood what he is writing about, if the readers feel the same way the characters do.

2) Why does Lewis wait to reveal that the boy is Eustace?
I think that Lewis waits to reveal Eustace because he wants us to learn about Jill. She is a main character in this book and I feel that if Eustace had been revealed earlier then readers would have remembered him from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and assumed that the story was about him when really it is about them both. Also Eustace was introduced in Dawn Treader so readers already know who he is. Jill we have never met before and the story wouldn’t have the same effect if we didn’t know a little about her before this familiar character is introduced.

3) Why do you think Eustace decides to tell Jill his secret?
I think that Eustace decides to tell Jill his secret because he needs to tell it to someone and she is in a similar situation to him so he trusts her. He shared the adventure with his cousins but they are not with him so he has no one to talk to about it. This could be quite a burden especially if other things are going on at school and other places as well. Talking and thinking about Narnia could be his only escape but if there is no one to talk to, that you know will believe you, you may have to talk to someone that may not.

4) If The Silver Chair was your first Narnia book, what do you think your first impressions of Scrubb would have been?
Just to make things clear, The Silver Chair was not my first Narnia book and this is not my first time reading it. However, if it had been I would have thought of Scrubb as a rather unusual character. This is because Jill says, “It’s not only me, everyone’s been saying so,” and this gives the impression that he was completely different last term. He seems nice this term but that could be a new part of him. You wonder how he was before and whether he is going to return to this, also if the Scrubb as we know him in this chapter is just temporary. You also wonder what caused the change, was it something that happened to him? Was it something it something he found out?

5) Lewis writes 'The Head said they were interesting psychological cases and sent for them and talked to them for hours. And if you knew the right sort of things to say to the Head, the main result was that you became rather a favourite than otherwise.' Do you think it is possible that something like this could happen at a school? Why or why not?
I don’t think this is possible because the Head has to treat all students equally. If people are being bullied then the problem should be sorted out by punishing the bullies, not befriending them and letting them continue. Head teachers should be able to see that bulling is not right and not let the students twist them round to think it is. Some Heads disagree with punishing children but they should still understand that it is not right and find a way to stop it.

6) Why did Jill feel shy when Eustace was telling her his secret?
Jill felt shy when Eustace was telling her his secret because she didn’t know whether to believe him or not. Even if the person telling you is deadly serious sometimes the thing they are telling you can sound so unbelievable that you don’t know whether it is true or not. I think this was the case with Jill because if you have never been to Narnia before it can seem unbelievable. Jill didn’t know whether he was being truthful or just teasing her, therefor in writing she comes across as shy.

7) Based on this chapter what is your impression of Jill?
At first I felt sorry for Jill, being bullied and knowing that there is nothing she can do about it, but then as the chapter continues and we start to see her character my opinion changed because on the cliff she is rather mean to Eustace, teasing him about his fear of heights and making him look like a fool. Overall I think that that Jill is quite nice but has a slight mean streak that she could always get rid of if she tried hard enough.

8) When Eustace fell, did you think he died? Even for a moment?
I don’t remember what I thought the first time I read the book but I probably did. Even after reading it many times I still always get shocked when he falls but very quickly remember what happens next.

9) Whose fault is it that Eustace falls off the cliff? Or is it no one's fault?
I think that it is Jill’s fault that Eustace fell off the cliff because if she had not been making fun of him, she wouldn’t have gone to the edge of the cliff to make herself seem better than him. She was showing off and knew that he didn’t like it so she went further than even she liked causing herself to get stuck and him having to come out of his comfort zone to save her. During the struggle, she somehow managed to push him off or he lost his footing and fell.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Anhun » May 07, 2017 9:41 am

1. In Chapter 1, I feel that Lewis gives Experiment House a dismal, oppressive, gray atmosphere. It's a place that you want to escape. This atmosphere actually contributes to the excitement and anticipation that builds as Eustace and Jill contemplate how to get out. I tend to think of their walking into Aslan's country as a "Judy Garland arrives in Oz" moment.

4. At first, Eustace comes across as wise beyond his years, kind and sympathetic. Almost like a mystical guide who shows up at just the right moment to help Jill.
Of course as the book goes on, his character flaws and normal childishness become more apparent.


5. Yes, bullies being seen as "interesting psychological cases" and given preferential treatment absolutely does happen in real life, although I'm glad to report that it is rare in principals. I only know of one who was like that.

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I imagine it's possible, but hopefully very uncommon. I do know that C.S. Lewis was enrolled at a particularly awful boarding school where the headmaster was eventually committed to an insane asylum, so I've always supposed that he was probably drawing on those memories some when writing about Experiment House,


My understanding is that the school that Lewis attended was inordinately strict, not at all like Experiment House. His depiction of Experiment House seems more like a dig at Summerhill School.

7. I think Jill comes across as vulnerable, but very defensive to protect herself.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 07, 2017 2:49 pm

Pattertwigs Pal wrote:
waggawerewolf27 wrote:He is just strolling along without a care in the world, with his hands in his pockets, a no-no for boys in that time and era,

This is so interesting. Do you know why boys were not supposed to have their hands in their pockets?


They were stricter at boarding schools, at the end of WW2. Or at least that was true where I was. They were almost militaristic. We marched to school, not just strolled, drills were part of physical education, and the likes of Eustace wandering along with his hands in his pockets, would be bound to arouse the ire of some cranky teacher or other. Especially in high school. Even primary schools up to 1960 used to get us to do drills etc., both boys and girls. Often girls' uniforms didn't have pockets in the first place, or only one, so they were less likely to have that sort of trouble.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Reepicheep775 » May 18, 2017 8:28 am

waggawerewolf27 wrote:And, until Lewis decides to introduce Eustace, we don't know how he is going to react to a crying girl he almost trips over. He is just strolling along without a care in the world, with his hands in his pockets, a no-no for boys in that time and era, and until he is named, we don't know that he also attends Experiment House from VDT, even if we haven't read the other books first.

I can remember Lewis mentioning something about the hands-in-pockets thing in another book - I think it was in Surprised by Joy when he was recounting his experience at school - but I never made the connection between that and Eustace and SC until now. That's a nice, subtle bit of character development. I think that Eustace at the beginning of VDT would be the kind of person who would follow all those arbitrary social rules in an attempt to belong to the in-crowd, but now he doesn't care.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Eustace » May 22, 2017 1:05 pm

Why does Lewis wait to reveal that the boy is Eustace?

I think Lewis wanted to show a different point of view about Eustace to the readers. Since Voyage of the Dawn Treader was the last book that the readers read they will remember Eustace the annoying cousin very vividly. Lewis counters that by showing us that Eustace has truly changed by showing us his reaction to Jill before he really explained who he was. Also, I think Lewis wanted to make the point that Jill is the main character.

Why do you think Eustace decides to tell Jill his secret?

Eustace was definitely trying to distract Jill. He had given her the peppermint which surely calmed her down a bit but, he was also excited to tell someone else about Narnia and he assumed she was the perfect person. Narnia is not something anyone wishes to keep quiet about, as seen by the Pevensies discussing it so much Eustace had heard about it in Dawn Treader. Eustace needed someone to tell about Narnia and Jill needed a distraction, so, Eustace decided she was the perfect person to tell.


If The Silver Chair was your first Narnia book, what do you think your first impressions of Scrubb would have been?

Silver Chair was not my first book, instead HHB was but, I will try to imagine that scenario anyway. I figure that if Silver Chair was my first book, then my impression of Eustace would have been very good. There is no reason to be upset with Eustace he was obviously tying his best to make sure Jill stopped crying and he thought the bullies were bad and had even stood up against them. He used to be a bad kid but he changed and I didn't know him before he changed so I would not be annoyed with him instead I would feel sorry for him and Jill Pole.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Movie Aristotle » May 27, 2017 12:12 pm

Pattertwigs Pal wrote:1. In his essay “On Stories,” C.S. Lewis wrote that he loved atmosphere more than excitement in a story. What atmosphere do you feel in the first few pages of The Silver Chair?

Drab. Dreary. A normal day at school. After the door opens: Beautiful, grand, magnificent, and natural.

2. Why does Lewis wait to reveal that the boy is Eustace?

I think it helps to set the story from Jill's point of view. If the reader knew who Eustace was right away, we might immediately identify with him as the main character, given our previous history with him.

3. Why do you think Eustace decides to tell Jill his secret?

Eustace evidently feels some form of comradery or kinship with Jill.

4. If The Silver Chair was your first Narnia book, what do you think your first impressions of Scrubb would have been?

He's crazy.

7. Based on this chapter, what is your impression of Jill?

She's a typical schoolgirl but also a character it is easy for any reader to sympathize with.

9. Whose fault is it that Eustace falls off the cliff? Or is it no one’s fault?

I think the book makes it fairly clear that Jill is the cause. It is never implied that Jill meant for Eustace to fall, but her actions, both voluntary and involuntary, bring about the occurrence.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby TheLukeskywalker2 » Jun 05, 2017 11:31 am

First, before I get to the questions, this read through made me realize just how much the throwaway line at the end of the VDT movie messed up the story for SC.

1. In his essay “On Stories,” C.S. Lewis wrote that he loved atmosphere more than excitement in a story. What atmosphere do you feel in the first few pages of The Silver Chair?

It felt very dull and boring,
which contrasts with the feeling we get on the way back from Narnia, which is a feeling of excitement.


2. Why does Lewis wait to reveal that the boy is Eustace?

So VDT readers can get a look at his character before reminding us his name. It seems more likely to remember pre-Dragoning Eustace rather than post-Dragoning Eustace.

3. Why do you think Eustace decides to tell Jill his secret?

He feels like he needs to talk about it.
They are both in trouble with them.
Eustace felt it necessary to explain why he changed so much.
I think it's a combination of the three.

4. If The Silver Chair was your first Narnia book, what do you think your first impressions of Scrubb would have been?

I'd be curious why Jill hated Eustace, since he seems like a cool dude in SC.

5. Lewis’s writes: “The Head said they were interesting psychological cases and sent for them and talked to them for hours. And if you knew the right sort of things to say to the Head, the main result was that you became rather a favourite than otherwise.” Do think it is possible that something like this could happen at a school? Why or Why not?

No way.

6. Why did Jill feel shy when Eustace was telling her his secret?

He sounds like a crazy person.

7. Based on this chapter, what is your impression of Jill?

Very nice person interested in what others think about her.

8. When Eustace fell, did you think he died? Even for a moment?

I didn't stop there when I was reading, so before I recognized that he was falling, Aslan had saved him.

9. Whose fault is it that Eustace falls off the cliff? Or is it no one’s fault?

Jill's.
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Re: 1 - Behind the Gym

Postby Ryadian » Jun 08, 2017 2:04 pm

1. In his essay “On Stories,” C.S. Lewis wrote that he loved atmosphere more than excitement in a story. What atmosphere do you feel in the first few pages of The Silver Chair?
The book starts off with a very bleak, oppressive atmosphere. It doesn't help that, as much as "This is not going to be a school story", we do spend most of this chapter there. There's such a sense of hopelessness and oppression, and even when Eustace and Jill escape the school, the land they find themselves is still terrifying, between the cliff and the lion at the end of the chapter.

2. Why does Lewis wait to reveal that the boy is Eustace?
Possibly to give the audience a chance to make up their own mind about the boy before finding out his name - especially for those who have read Voyage of the Dawn Treader and who would already know who he is.

After reading other's responses: I agree with those who pointed out that Jill is being established as the main character, and waiting a bit to introduce Eustace was probably to give us more time to get acquainted with Jill.


3. Why do you think Eustace decides to tell Jill his secret?
I almost get the idea that Eustace wants to prove that he has changed, and to establish why that is. He only tells her after she's admitted that she's seen it, and so has everyone else. I also wonder if he just feels sorry for her, and has some idea that she'd appreciate learning about Narnia, and having a friend to share that secret with. I get a sense that they do know each other at least a little bit, especially since he knows her name immediately.

4. If The Silver Chair was your first Narnia book, what do you think your first impressions of Scrubb would have been?
Certainly a strong feeling of someone who's atoning for his past - considerate, though perhaps not very good at dealing with others' feelings yet and still a bit temperamental.

6. Why did Jill feel shy when Eustace was telling her his secret?While they do clearly know each other a bit, I still get the idea that they don't know each other that well - being told a huge secret by someone you don't know that well is a bit daunting.

7. Based on this chapter, what is your impression of Jill?
She comes off as rather self-centered and irritable, but at the same time I'm sympathetic to her. The book makes its point about how awful the school is and gives you an idea of what it must be like for her, and it does take the time to remind you that Jill is not acting quite like herself. Still, she's pretty nasty to Eustace, all things considered.

9. Whose fault is it that Eustace falls off the cliff? Or is it no one’s fault?
Jill's. Actually throwing him off the cliff can be attributed to her panic, but she was only as close as she was because she was showing off.

One thing I noticed this time around is how Lewis balances our sympathy for these two characters. Yes, Jill is snappish and acts rather childish, but the story is told from her perspective and we understand why she is behaving this way. As for Eustace, he may occasionally say the wrong thing and clearly hasn't figured out the best way to cheer someone up, but you can't doubt his intentions. I think framing their first meeting this way helps us to like both characters and want to see both of them succeed and come out of this safely.
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