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Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

C. S. Lewis, his worlds, and his faith.

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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Sep 30, 2009 2:56 pm

I'm not sure that I understand what you are saying. Yes your pattern does apply to some of Pug's captives. But King Caspian was himself also taken prisoner along with them, to be sold into slavery. Wisely Caspian doesn't show his identity, knowing that he would be taken even less seriously than Pug's men take either Reepicheep or Eustace who are both making the most noise.

Enter the Lord Bern who has already recognised a resemblance between Caspian and his father. It is Lord Bern's intervention to ransom Caspian, and the acknowledgement of each of who they both are, that sets the stage for what happens next. Caspian returns to his Dawn Treader shipmates with Lord Bern, and they all form a plan to use Caspian's authority as the overlord of the Lone Islands to free the others and end the slavery.

[quote=220Christian]But consider that he's already a spiritual slave to sin, and to a wrong view of himself and others. That's why Aslan brings him to Narnia. He needs to be spiritually set free before he can see and enjoy the Narnia voyage as physical freedom. And let's not forget Edmund in LWW! [/quote]

Yes, Eustace has a very negative view of being where he is, at all. But that is not the same as being a spiritual slave. He is first and foremost just another unwilling fellow traveller. And there are many such. The ones who blame everyone else but themselves for small injuries, or other inconveniences, like being on the wrong train, ship or whatever. The ones who won't pack their bags or take charge of their own well-being, let alone contribute constructively to the journey in any way.

Unlike Edmund who went along with Lucy's meeting Tumnus, only to pull the rug from under her to Susan and Peter, or who returned to Narnia with a different agenda, Eustace outright denies the realities of Narnia, or else compares them unfavourably with what he knows of England. He won't co-operate with the others, or recognise that people are trying to help him, and resents that the others feel differently to himself. He has had no choice in where he is, and he is far from admitting that he could be a long way worse off.

And when Eustace really is worse off, as in the hold of Pug's ship, he finds out that he isn't worth anything as a slave, either. Reepicheep is sold quickly enough, as is Lucy and Edmund. But Eustace is only a utility slave, thrown in like hard to move merchandise, to get rid of him. And even then nobody can find a use for useless Eustace. I agree he really does need a change in state of mind, but up until his dragoning he seems to have regarded himself as an actual captive on the Dawn Treader.
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby 220chrisTian » Sep 30, 2009 6:19 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:I'm not sure that I understand what you are saying. Yes your pattern does apply to some of Pug's captives. But King Caspian was himself also taken prisoner along with them, to be sold into slavery. Wisely Caspian doesn't show his identity, knowing that he would be taken even less seriously than Pug's men take either Reepicheep or Eustace who are both making the most noise. Enter the Lord Bern who has already recognised a resemblance between Caspian and his father. It is Lord Bern's intervention to ransom Caspian, and the acknowledgement of each of who they both are, that sets the stage for what happens next. Caspian returns to his Dawn Treader shipmates with Lord Bern, and they all form a plan to use Caspian's authority as the overlord of the Lone Islands to free the others and end the slavery.
Obviously, it's fiction so the analogy isn't perfect. But when I read these chapters on Caspian I could not help but think of Jesus. He was "also taken prisoner along with them, to be sold into slavery." Is not that what Christ did for us on the cross? Caspian initially "doesn't show his identity." Did Jesus in His first advent? No, even though three select disciples caught a glimpse of His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. As a carpenter, Jesus was in disguise! And just like Caspian showed up later with his true identity revealed, to free the captives, so also Jesus will return to this earth in all His glory, His true identity revealed. :)

I'll say more tomorrow. Gotta run. :(

EDIT: 10/1
waggawerewolf27 wrote:Yes, Eustace has a very negative view of being where he is, at all. But that is not the same as being a spiritual slave. He is first and foremost just another unwilling fellow traveller. . . .I agree he really does need a change in state of mind, but up until his dragoning he seems to have regarded himself as an actual captive on the Dawn Treader.
What I meant was that we're all spiritual slaves, whether or not we recognize that and whether or not we're physically free to come and go as we please. Eustace thinks he's free in England and a slave in Narnia, when the reality is something else. Eustace's heart and soul are what matter and it's only after his undragoning/baptism that he discovers true freedom. "In His service is perfect freedom..."

waggawaggawerewolf27: love your sig! :) Username... :-\
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 02, 2009 2:33 pm

What I meant was that we're all spiritual slaves, whether or not we recognize that and whether or not we're physically free to come and go as we please. Eustace thinks he's free in England and a slave in Narnia, when the reality is something else.


Well yes, but I think spiritual slavery might be a general theme. Spiritual slavery and freedom could apply to all seven books, not just VDT. Though I agree that Eustace does think his free in England and a slave in Narnia. In England, Eustace is used to having things done for him, not having to take responsibility for his actions and letting the government look after things, for instance he keeps looking for a British consul.

In Narnia, Eustace is to find that the government might be a corrupt participant in the slave trade, that he is answerable for how he treats Reepicheep and that he is expected to actually work on board his pleasure cruise. And that just when he got off the boat he hated, he gets thrown into a dungeon to be sold as a slave. If anyone can find a use for useless Eustace. ;)

If I was to see a direct analogy between VDT and Christ I would say it was in the story Lucy read in the Magician's book, that she was unable to re-read.
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby 220chrisTian » Oct 02, 2009 3:39 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Well yes, but I think spiritual slavery might be a general theme. Spiritual slavery and freedom could apply to all seven books, not just VDT.
I agree! Look at Edmund in LWW! He thinks he's free with the White Witch but what does she do with him? Throw him in a dungeon! He's a spiritual slave, living in darkness, but he doesn't know it or realize it until he ends up in a literal jail. ;) I wonder how many times we'll see Edmund in jail. =))

waggawerewolf27 wrote:If I was to see a direct analogy between VDT and Christ I would say it was in the story Lucy read in the Magician's book, that she was unable to re-read.
Interesting. I also liked that scene. To me, it is the gospel of sorts, i.e. "tell me the old old story." But I wondered why she wasn't able to re-read it, even though Aslan said it was very important and he would keep telling it to her. We can read the gospel as many times as we like. :)

You still haven't explained your username. ;) And I apologize for the extra 'wagga.' :ymblushing:
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 02, 2009 11:31 pm

I'd say Lucy couldn't re-read that story because she had to live it. Maybe it is her own story, and to re-read it is to know 'what would have happened' if she had chosen to do the right thing and to follow Aslan's guidance.

Interesting about those spells in the Magician's book. Each one offered to make the reader's life better in some way, but do they really? Does the reader already have the power to do that? Or is it the reader's motivation in consulting the book or response to each spell, that is more important than the spells being in the book?

Specifically, Clipsie read the spell aloud to make the Dufflepuds invisible, because they all thought they were ugly. When that solution caused more problems than their original problem with ugliness, Lucy was there to read aloud the counter spell to remove the invisibility. Lucy wasn't really supposed to try anything other than the counter spell she was sent to read.

However, there are a lot of spells Lucy encounters before she gets to the spell of her mission. If I have any problem with the BBC production of VDT is if and where these other spells get left out, because I think they are all there for a reason. Lucy isn't tempted to try taming the swarm of bees because she isn't into bee-keeping. Even in a conservative society like Narnia, an essential food like honey might be readily available at the marketplace, and properly trained apiarists, or those into beekeeping, might know more up-to-date methods of capturing a swarm of bees, or additional information, like wearing suitable protective clothing. Nor is Lucy worried about warts when they can be cured more cheaply and conveniently by any NHS or Medicare doctor than by using a silver basin at midnight. Nor would Lucy want to summon a storm, a rather dangerous power to have.

On the other hand, where Lucy does have weaknesses, the other spells do tempt. Specifically, those are the beauty spell and the eavesdropping spell. Why is Lucy a bit jealous of Susan? And why does she feel so insecure about her friend, Marjorie Preston? Aslan warns her not to try the beauty spell but she chooses then to try the next spell as a compensation, with disappointing results. (And as an aside, why is Lucy, in particular, obliged to read that book? If Aslan had ordained that Susan had been on the trip, would Susan have been tempted by the beauty spell? What matches Lucy with the Dufflepuds?)

I think the Magician's book, itself, provides lessons on how to read books, even the Bible. Good solutions can be found there, but like other useful books, even revered ones like the Koran, it depends a lot on what you bring to your reading, and what is in the reader's heart.

{As a totally irrelevant aside, please don't worry about a Wagga more or less in my username. ;) I had to change my original username because of the forum changeover. Wagga Wagga is a large city in Australia, on the Murrumbidgee River, and a campus of Charles Sturt University w(h)ere I last graduated. Its name is derived from the Wiradjura term for 'a place of many crows', and, as in other Aboriginal languages, doubling a word emphasizes plurality. Normally in Oz in everyday speech, we shorten Wagga Wagga to Wagga. The Wagga Wagga Werewolf is a minor character in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which Gilderoy Lockhart, the fraudulent DADA teacher claimed to have tamed. As well as being a Narnia fan I am also a fan of the HP books.}
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby 220chrisTian » Oct 03, 2009 1:16 pm

Lots of interesting stuff, waggawerewolf27! B-)

waggawerewolf27 wrote:On the other hand, where Lucy does have weaknesses, the spells do tempt. Specifically, those are the beauty spell and the eavesdropping spell. Why is Lucy a bit jealous of Susan? And why does she feel so insecure about her friend, Marjorie Preston? Aslan sends her a warning not to try the beauty spell but she chooses then to try the next spell as a compensation. (And as an aside, why Lucy, in particular, must Lucy read that book, I might ask? If Aslan had ordained that Susan had been on the trip, would Susan be a suitable Magician's book reader? What matches Lucy with the Dufflepuds?)
Why is Lucy jealous of Susan? I guess she considers Susan prettier, but also more popular. I see an appearance theme in the whole episode. The Dufflepuds are insecure. They think they're ugly, when they're not. Maybe Lucy thinks she's ugly compared to Susan and considers the beauty spell before Aslan warns her away from it. She's also insecure, I think. But the reality is something much different, for Lucy is beautiful. She doesn't need a spell. Why? Her heart is Aslan's heart and when she sees him in the doorway, her face lights up. It becomes even more beautiful. Seeing and becoming like Aslan is true beauty. :)

Aside: thanks for explaining the sources of your username. :)
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Oct 03, 2009 4:47 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Why is Lucy a bit jealous of Susan? And why does she feel so insecure about her friend, Marjorie Preston? ...

220christian wrote: Maybe Lucy thinks she's ugly compared to Susan ... She's also insecure, I think. But the reality is something much different, for Lucy is beautiful. She doesn't need a spell. Why? Her heart is Aslan's heart and when she sees him in the doorway, her face lights up. It becomes even more beautiful. Seeing and becoming like Aslan is true beauty. :)

Lucy has plenty of reason to be jealous of Susan, at least from the "normal" perspective. "Grown-ups thought her [Susan] the pretty one of the family" Not to mention that Susan gets to go to America while Lucy has to stay with relatives. Before Lucy says "I will say the spell," the book states "And Susan was jealous of the dazzling beauty of Lucy, but that didn't matter a bit because no one cared anything about Susan now." I think that adults in Lucy's life have given her the impression that she not as valuable as Susan because she is not beautiful. Let's hope they didn't mean to give her that impression. :p It could be that the feeling she gets that she is not as important as Susan carries over to her friendships. Since she isn't beautiful, how could her friends really like her? In my opinion, Susan is the one who should be jealous of Lucy. I'd much rather go to Narnia and have the relationship she has with Aslan than be the beautiful one and go on "vacation" with my parents. Even if it meant I had to put up with annoying relatives. (Although I'm sure I would complain about it at the time :p ).
I agree that Lucy doesn't need the spell because she has true beauty when she sees Aslan.
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby 220chrisTian » Oct 04, 2009 12:09 pm

220chrisTian wrote:
waggawerewolf27 wrote:If I was to see a direct analogy between VDT and Christ I would say it was in the story Lucy read in the Magician's book, that she was unable to re-read.
Interesting. I also liked that scene. To me, it is the gospel of sorts, i.e. "tell me the old old story." But I wondered why she wasn't able to re-read it, even though Aslan said it was very important and he would keep telling it to her. We can read the gospel as many times as we like. :)
waggawerewolf27 wrote:I'd say Lucy couldn't re-read that story because she had to live it. Maybe it is her own story, and to re-read it is to know 'what would have happened' if she had chosen to do the right thing and to follow Aslan's guidance.
Our only clues to the story in the magician's book that Lucy read and couldn't remember are the words she uses to describe it [or maybe the words Lewis gives us while she's reading--I don't remember]: cup, sword, tree, green hill. And Aslan tells Lucy, "I will tell it to you for years and years." What does this sound like to you? To me, it's the Last Supper [cup], Gethsemane [remember Peter's sword?], and Calvary [tree, green hill]. But I could be wrong... ;)

Pattertwigs Pal wrote:Lucy has plenty of reason to be jealous of Susan, at least from the "normal" perspective. "Grown-ups thought her [Susan] the pretty one of the family" Not to mention that Susan gets to go to America while Lucy has to stay with relatives. Before Lucy says "I will say the spell," the book states "And Susan was jealous of the dazzling beauty of Lucy, but that didn't matter a bit because no one cared anything about Susan now." . . . In my opinion, Susan is the one who should be jealous of Lucy. I'd much rather go to Narnia and have the relationship she has with Aslan than be the beautiful one and go on "vacation" with my parents. Even if it meant I had to put up with annoying relatives. (Although I'm sure I would complain about it at the time :p ).
I agree! I'd rather be in Narnia than with my parents. =)) Beauty: it's all about perspective, isn't it? ;)
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 04, 2009 5:43 pm

Actually you could be right about the story. It could be the Easter story. But because it is an Earthly story, of Earthly redemption, and not a Narnian story of Narnian redemption, it doesn't 'fit'. Or maybe is applied in a way that is specific to Lucy, herself, and so, in the magical book it gets forgotten. To me, that is what is suggested by Aslan telling Lucy that he will be telling her the story 'for years and years'. Also, that Lucy couldn't turn the pages back, to re-read the story, just as you can't go back in time.

Yes, Lucy well might be jealous of Susan, though I agree by the time she reaches the Dufflepud's island, she might prefer to be on the Dawn Treader with Edmund, Eustace and Caspian, rather than in America with her parents. But I don't agree that Susan would be jealous of Lucy, as I think by that time, Susan is already wrapped up in her life and forgetting Narnia.

I think that Susan gets quite a bit of attention because she is 'the pretty one', and as the pictures warn Lucy, might not be too happy if suddenly she lost out to Lucy. But Susan being the 'pretty one' is an invidious comparison that thoughtless adults make. Do they say Lucy is the 'clever one'? Susan might be outstandingly pretty as a teenager, but it doesn't follow that she will always remain so, or that Lucy isn't beautiful in her own way. The trouble is with jealousy, the green-eyed monster, is that the jealous person tends to discount what they have as less valuable than what they perceive others have, or what they would like for themselves. Jealous people, as a rule, don't forget what other people have.
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby 220chrisTian » Oct 05, 2009 1:09 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Actually you could be right about the story. It could be the Easter story. But because it is an Earthly story, of Earthly redemption, and not a Narnian story of Narnian redemption, it doesn't 'fit'. Or maybe is applied in a way that is specific to Lucy, herself, and so, in the magical book it gets forgotten. To me, that is what is suggested by Aslan telling Lucy that he will be telling her the story 'for years and years'. Also, that Lucy couldn't turn the pages back, to re-read the story, just as you can't go back in time.
You're right that it doesn't quite fit. And yes, we can't go back in time. But what about the Narnian story of Narnian redemption? Didn't Lucy say the story seemed familiar? I'd have to look at the book again. But I think you're onto something about Aslan applying the story to Lucy. Redemption must be personal, yes? And we must re-live it every day. It must become an integral part of us. ;)

waggawerewolf27 wrote:If I was to see a direct analogy between VDT and Christ I would say it was in the story Lucy read in the Magician's book, that she was unable to re-read.
I keep wondering why you see this scene as the most "direct analogy between VDT and Christ." :-\ What about the lamb becoming the lion? And what about Aslan's table? It has on it the knife the White Witch used to kill Aslan at the Stone Table. This table is like our communion: it shows the Lord's death until He comes again, and foreshadows the marriage supper of the Lamb. The food is eaten and renewed every day, like manna in the desert [Exodus 16]. It shows our dependence on God for daily physical and spiritual sustenance. And what did Jesus say in John 6? He said, "I am the bread of life," the true manna. And how do we partake? Calvary. At the Lord's supper, we partake of Christ's flesh and blood. Caspian and the others initially didn't want to eat at Aslan's table [feelings of unworthiness?], but Ramandu's daughter beckoned them.

George Herbert, "Love (III)"
Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 06, 2009 3:07 am

220chrisTian wrote:But what about the Narnian story of Narnian redemption? Didn't Lucy say the story seemed familiar?
waggawerewolf27 wrote:If I was to see a direct analogy between VDT and Christ I would say it was in the story Lucy read in the Magician's book, that she was unable to re-read.
I keep wondering why you see this scene as the most "direct analogy between VDT and Christ." :-\ What about the lamb becoming the lion? And what about Aslan's table? It has on it the knife the White Witch used to kill Aslan at the Stone Table.


Of course the story would be familiar if Lucy had met it in England, as she well might if the story, which included references to a cup, a sword, a tree and a hill, did indeed refer to the story of Christ's crucifixion, as I guess I am not the only one to suspect. Especially if the story was personalised to fit Lucy, herself.

C.S.Lewis got into quite a bit of trouble because he wrote the Narnian chronicles as a series that many took as a direct analogy and espousal of Christianity. And of that series, even including the apocalyptic scenes in Last Battle, the story Lucy read in the Magician's book is by far the closest Lewis comes to a direct reference to the Easter story. Even the lamb cooking breakfast, then turning into a Lion doesn't come closer than that reference, despite the incident's heavy biblical symbolism. After all, earlier in VDT, Aslan is also transfigured into an Albatross to lead the Dawn Treader from the Dark Island, just as Aslan also changes himself into a cat when comforting Shasta among the Tombs, in HHB. And there is even a second Lamb to Lion transfiguration, or was it a horse that time, when Jill dreams of Aslan when at Harfang, in SC. As for the Stone Table, and the knife the White Witch used to kill Aslan, they are part of Narnia's redemption story, a separate story to that of Christ's death on the Cross, to redeem humanity.

What Lewis claimed repeatedly to have written was a supposal. Suppose it is possible in his fictitional world of Narnia, for talking animals, spirits of trees, centaurs, satyrs and werewolves to exist in a Graeco-Roman Medieval reality, in a flat world, sung into being by Aslan the Lion, as witnessed by humans from our world, already in possession of intelligence, hearing and sight to understand what is going on, including the evil of the White Witch herself. What would redemption look like? What sort of moral lessons would the visiting children learn that could be applied in our world? How would the inhabitants of that world feel about our own round world, part of a Solar System of unfamiliar planets, which sprang into life well before humans or its other inhabitants were able to make head or tail of where they came from, on continents whose tectonic restlessness is all too manifest in last week's earthquakes and tsunamis?

Lewis does touch on these matters in VDT, in this otherwise mythical world of Narnia, where magic is possible, as is Aslan's transfigurations into Lions, Lambs, Albatrosses, Cats and much else. Because the Pevensies are Earthly children, they know much about the tales and stories of Great Britain, and Caspian even refers to one such fairy tale, that of Sleeping Beauty, when he meets Ramandu's daughter. Part of Caspian's annoyance at being unable to go on with Reepicheep, Lucy, Edmund and Eustace is that he wanted to see the Pevensies' world as well as his own. And that world, Lewis makes no bones, is the ordinary world of facts, of science, geology, biology and astronomy, subjects Eustace really did know a thing or two about, where Stars are made of gases and atomic explosions, even if stars are exalted beings as well, as Ramandu tells Eustace.

I wonder if the script will oblige Will Poulter to omit Eustace's obvious familiarity with science the way David Thwaites' version of Eustace did in the BBC movies?
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby 220chrisTian » Oct 24, 2009 5:56 pm

I have very little time, so I can't respond to your post, wagga. :(

I was scanning Amazon.com on Narnia and Christianity/religion/philosophy ;) , and I came across an ad for ChristianBibleStudies.com. The excerpt below comes from the overview of their "Chronicles of Narnia Course."
A Heart Set on Eternity: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
How does a heart set on eternity influence the way we live?
Psalm 27:1–3; Ecclesiastes 3:11–12; Isaiah 51:12–15; Luke 12:13–34; John 4:10–15; Romans 7:15–25; 2 Corinthians 4:14–18; Revelation 3:4–5; 7:9–17

What would we look like if our outward appearance reflected our inner character? Why must we rely on God’s power to change our lives? What are the various forms of greed, and how do they affect our choices and character? What are the consequences of fear? How does a focus on eternity affect our daily lives?
So ... your thoughts? :)
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 25, 2009 12:06 am

Wow! those are good questions you mention. I'll attempt some.

What would we look like if our outward appearance reflected our inner character?

Good question! And it reflects so much of what VDT is about, not to mention the other 6 books. It also represents a question C.S.Lewis did ask himself, obviously. I have read 'Til we have faces', the novel he wrote about Psyche and Eros, having borrowed it on ILL, with some difficulty. It was a lovely story, and very thought-provoking indeed. And I believe it is a question that did haunt C.S.Lewis throughout his life. Take a look at some of his Narnia characters.

Not just Jadis and her Charn ancestors, but all the others. Is it any wonder that when her villainy is exposed in SC that LOTGK turns into the snake she is? Or that Shift the Ape of LB bears a passing resemblance to Ahoshta Tarkaan of HHB fame?

In VDT, we see the problem again. Lucy is tempted to use the Beauty spell and is rebuked. But what is beauty, itself? And what is the difference between inner beauty and outer beauty? Isn't it all a matter of perception?

Part of what is asked here is a function of the English Language, itself. A star can be a great ball of gas and atomic explosions, like the Sun, itself. But however horrific, fearsome and dangerous it may seem to be astronomically, can we ever truly regard the Sun as malign, when the Earth depends on this otherwise not very impressive star in the Milky Way for its very existence? As Ramandu might say, it isn't what the Sun is made of, it is what it is. A celestially exalted being that has been worshipped and feared for generations of humans, and which, itself, is under the laws of a Higher Power.

Why must we rely on God’s power to change our lives?

Well, what of us humans, individually? We make mistakes, insignificant microbes that we are, in the great scheme of Eternity. We fumble through ignorance, forgetfulness and deception all the days of our lives. We 'see through a glass darkly'. We don't know everything, nor should we pretend to be experts when we aren't. Even if we are Chaldeans, the very embodiment of astronomers, who have learned to be so good at Maths that minutes and seconds can be measured by a base of 60. ;) As C.S.Lewis pointed out in HHB, when describing Bree's reaction to Rabadash's army, we as slaves, tend to regard freedom as not having to make a strong enough effort. We tend to be a bit soft on ourselves, making excuses for ourselves, when a stronger discipline is required. And so we need God's help.

Then there is Eustace. We know this bloke. He is us, really. But if dragon's claws aren't made for writing, a dragon's persona is not meant for living either. It is easy to see why Eustace needs Aslan's help to become un-dragoned. The metaphor for the dragons that people can become, is inescapable. Such people may shed their skin any amount of time, but it will only be to the shedder's tolerance of pain. It won't be what is necessary.

What are the various forms of greed, and how do they affect our choices and character?

This is a really good question if you believe as Dr King does that the main sin in VDT is greed. Have you seen Phyllis Tickle's book about Greed, or heard about it? In it she argues that Greed is a sin we often see in others but seldom acknowledge in ourselves. Why, no matter how hard Eustace tried, he could not undragon himself. Phyllis Tickle also argues that Greed is the sin that leads to all the other sins. Sloth, for example, is a greed for more leisure. Envy is coveting what others have. Pride is a greed for more self-esteem, and so on.

Do the adventures of the Dawn Treader and the fates of the other six Lords reflect only different faces of Greed? For example, has Argoz a greed to carry on when clearly his shipmates have had enough? Is Mavramorn truly greedy to want more mustard? Is Revilian greedy to want to go back to Narnia? And is Rhoop's following daydreams a form of greed?

Of course Eustace is considered the very epitome of greed when he steals water, runs away from the camp to avoid work and also helps himself to items in a dragon's hoard. But what about the other travellers? How do Lucy, Edmund and Caspian show that they, too, are sometimes greedy?

Sorry, have to get back to homework/housework. 8-|
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby daughter of the King » Oct 26, 2009 3:27 pm

220chrisTian wrote: A Heart Set on Eternity: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
How does a heart set on eternity influence the way we live?
Psalm 27:1–3; Ecclesiastes 3:11–12; Isaiah 51:12–15; Luke 12:13–34; John 4:10–15; Romans 7:15–25; 2 Corinthians 4:14–18; Revelation 3:4–5; 7:9–17

What would we look like if our outward appearance reflected our inner character? Why must we rely on God’s power to change our lives? What are the various forms of greed, and how do they affect our choices and character? What are the consequences of fear? How does a focus on eternity affect our daily lives?

So ... your thoughts? :)


The first question made me think of Till We Have Faces too(if you haven't read it, you should. It is my favorite book of C.S.Lewis' above all else. [Yes, even Narnia]). I don't want to give too much away, but that question is answered in the book. If our inner character showed through, we would all be ugly because of our selfish, sinful nature. But of course, God transforms us into something beautiful. It also made me think of George MacDonald's The Princess and Curdie. In that book(again, don't want to give too much away), Curdie is given the ability to "feel" a person's inner character when he touched their hand. He encounters several wicked men whose inner selves are snakes, spiders, dogs, and various other beasts. And their inner beast is reflected in the way they act.

Why must we rely on God's power to change our lives? Because we can't do it ourselves, no matter how hard we try. As wagga said, Eustace couldn't undragon himself.

What are the various forms of greed, and how do they affect our choices and character? Is there more than one type of greed? Greed is a symptom of selfishness, the wanting more for me, the gimme song. It affects our character by heightening our selfish nature. Caspian wanted to be the richest king in the world and to control the gold in Deathwater Island. Edmund wanted the same thing. Eustace wanted to be rich when he found the dragon's treasure. And so on and so forth.

What are the consequences of fear? Hmmm........Well, one consequence is not being able to do what we are supposed to do to our greatest ability. If you have acrophobia, you won't be able to effectively climb a mountain. This works spiritually too, if we fear stepping out in faith, we won't ever even reach the mountain, let alone get to the top. Gotta run, will try to finish that train of thought later.
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby 220chrisTian » Oct 27, 2009 1:57 pm

My thoughts on this for now...

"Why must we rely on God’s power to change our lives?" wagga: great response to this question! I especially liked
We tend to be a bit soft on ourselves, making excuses for ourselves, when a stronger discipline is required. And so we need God's help ... The metaphor for the dragons that people can become, is inescapable. Such people may shed their skin any amount of time, but it will only be to the shedder's tolerance of pain. It won't be what is necessary.
We are soft on ourselves, aren’t why? We’ll always be because of our sinful natures. It takes more than what’s in us to shed that nature, to overcome it. And what’s the source? Christ. I noticed some spiritual metaphors near the end of VDT. Remember when the bird puts a live coal in Ramandu’s mouth that makes him younger? Compare this to Isaiah 6! Fire is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It purifies. And it shows our reliance on God. When the Dawn Treader approaches the end of the world, the crew need less sleep and food. The water they drink is like light; it satisfies, gives clarity of sight, and takes away the appetite. Compare this to John 4 and 7! Christ is living water, another symbol of the Holy Spirit. And it says the crew’s eyes are as strong as eagles. Compare this to Isaiah 40:31. In all these examples, the crew is relying on Aslan for spiritual strength. :)

wagga wrote:But what about the other travellers? How do Lucy, Edmund and Caspian show that they, too, are sometimes greedy?
Lucy seems greedy for more attention, at least in the beauty spell temptation; doesn’t this show insecurity? I'm also wondering about her seeking a sense of self-worth outside Aslan. Edmund seems greedy sometimes for power/control. Caspian: the same? :-s [really unsure of myself ;) ]

daughter wrote:It also made me think of George MacDonald's The Princess and Curdie. In that book (again, don't want to give too much away), Curdie is given the ability to "feel" a person's inner character when he touched their hand. He encounters several wicked men whose inner selves are snakes, spiders, dogs, and various other beasts. And their inner beast is reflected in the way they act.
Nice example! Thank you! :)

(edited)
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Re: Christian Themes in the Dawn Treader

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Oct 29, 2009 2:18 am

Yes, I believe that I, too, have read 'The Princess and Curdie', and 'At the back of the North Wind', both of which was still available when I first studied to become a librarian. Also, C.S.Lewis did say how much he was influenced by George MacDonald as well as G.K.Chesterton, one of whose works I had to study for my 1964 Leaving Certificate. :p

Lucy seems greedy for more attention, at least in the beauty spell temptation; doesn’t this show insecurity? I'm also wondering about her seeking a sense of self-worth outside Aslan. Edmund seems greedy sometimes for power/control. Caspian: the same? {really unsure of myself }


Yes, Lucy might well be greedy for more attention. But both she and Edmund have a real reason to be a mite jealous of Susan. It is stated at the beginning of VDT that Edmund and Lucy did not want to stay at all with Eustace's parents, but had no option to do otherwise. Whilst Eustace openly dislikes Lucy and Edmund, though he looked forward to the idea of bossing and bullying them, since it was 'his' place. The book goes on to state that 'Edmund and Lucy tried hard not to grudge Susan her luck...but Edmund goes on to say that Lucy will have at least a room of her own, whilst he has to share a room with...Eustace.'

And when they go through the picture, things don't get much better. Edmund still has to share a room, but this time it is a poky ship's cabin with Caspian as well as Eustace. At first everything is from Eustace's point of view, and the bulk of what is wrong with Eustace's attitude is sorted on Dragon Island. But that doesn't mean he can't backslide occasionally (or is it altogether his fault?). A few pages after the Dragon Island incident, Eustace 'lost two games of chess to Reepicheep and began to get like his old disagreeable self again, and Edmund said he wished they could have gone to America with Susan.' It was at that point that the adventure of the Sea Serpent happens to the Dawn Treader.

Edmund has had his own issues with right and wrong before we see him on the Dawn Treader, and, post LWW, for the most part, he has behaved in exemplary fashion. I find it difficult to fault him in PC, even if he was grumpy when backing up Lucy. And in the film PC he was superb. He doesn't appear too badly for most of book VDT up until the Deathwater Island incident.

But the envy is there, all the same. And, I suspect, the greed, and the irritation, as well. I frequently listen to the BBC screenplay audiotapes on the way to work, and sometimes find that version's King Caspian distinctly irritating at times. For some reason, the actor who speaks King Caspian's part adopts a tone which is a mite too thrilling and unctuously emphasized. It comes across to my admittedly Aussie ears as if King Caspian has become a little too up himself. On Deathwater Island, Caspian's being irritatingly overbearing was a distinct possibility, even in the book. Didn't someone say that overweening ambition was also a form of greed?

I am trying to explain and explore that row at Deathwater Island. Both from a Christian and a literary perspective. Up to that point, I don't seriously think that Caspian could be faulted. I thought he was unwise to land on Doorn Island without taking a few bodyguards and checking out the situation in the Lone Islands, but, hey, this is a novel, not 21st Century Earth, and he was the putative king of the Lone Islands anyway.

Exactly what is Caspian doing when sailing the Seven Seas in the search for Seven Missing Lords? Fulfilling a coronation oath, we are told. Coronations are quite solemn things, involving a whole heap of expensive regalia, which in the case of UK can be viewed if you go into a queue at the Tower of London, on a conveyor belt, lest you linger too long admiring St Edward's Crown or the Imperial State Crown. But when he was so unchivalrous as to say that the Duke of Galma's daughter squints and had freckles', it is clear that 'Our Caspian' still has a lot to learn about right and wrong conduct. Does Caspian expect to get the perfect 'Mrs'?

So far he did well on the Lone Island. But Lord Bern deserves some of the credit. And Caspian was man enough to recognise this. The temptations of Dragon's Island also passed over Caspian's head. Maybe, Eustace, who had crammed his pockets with money from a dragon's hoard, saved Caspian from delving into that particular trap. He could have been wealthy long before his party reached Deathwater Island.

But why did Caspian then fall so easily into the trap of Deathwater Island? I think Edmund was quite right to challenge Caspian at that point. After all, Edmund had been a king in his own right, and he was an equal to Caspian, not his subject to be bossed around. Furthermore, Edmund had been enduring patiently sharing a cabin with not only Eustace but also Caspian. And it is easy to dismiss Caspian's reaction to 'Goldwater Island' as some kind of 'Gold Fever'.

But were Edmund, Caspian and even Lucy right to argue about this point of who was 'Boss'? A bit competitive, weren't they? What happened to 'making the best of what they have'? Is it easy to 'make the best of what one has', when secretly the likes of Lucy and Edmund think they deserve better, all in different ways? What about Caspian? He might have been a friend and companion, but he also went on to make a thorough prat of himself over Reepicheep, Eustace, Lucy and Edmund going 'on'. Can you seriously say he behaved better than the Seven Lords he sought? Or the luckless Pittencream, who was marooned on Ramandu's Island?
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