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Eustace's house/family

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Eustace's house/family

Postby Valiant » Aug 02, 2010 3:30 pm

Question regarding Lewis' discription of Eustance's house and family:

"They were vegetarians, non-smokers, and teetotalers and wore a special kind of underclothes. In their house there was very little furniture and very few clothes on beds and the windows were always open." (Opening Page)


Anyways, my question is, was there something wrong with this for Lewis? I'm not accusing Lewis of disliking vegetarians or anthing, so please take no offence :p . I am just curious as to what context Lewis wrote this in. (What is wrong with having windows open, no clothes on beds, etc?) I hope I don't its doesn't sound similar to those accusing Lewis of being sexist or anything. I just never understood this. Maybe it had something to do with the time period?

Anyways, thanks for your help.
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby daughter of the King » Aug 02, 2010 3:43 pm

It might have something to do with the time period. I've never really taken notice of that part before. I think C.S.Lewis was just trying to establish that the Scrubbs are different. For instance, there's nothing wrong with having windows open, but it is odd to have them always open. As for clothes on the bed, I always thought it meant bedclothes.

I'll have to think about it some more.
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 02, 2010 6:35 pm

I don't think that Jack had a problem with those things. He smoke, and he drank (teetotalism was more or less a movement against the use of alcohol). Jack wouldn't be criticizing himself. . . not that one can't ;)

I think Jack's main use here is this: None of these things are particularly "sinful," and yet some people could view them as sins. I won't turn this into a theological debate, but I think that Romans chapter 14 is very applicable here.

The Scrubb family is very proud of their personal choices, although a choice itself isn't really something about which to feel pride. It is the actions that inspire and result from that choice that are admirable, and the Scrubb's motives, in my opinion, are to belittle others. Not very admirable indeed.
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby DamselJillPole » Aug 03, 2010 1:04 am

It might have something to do with unfamiliar territory with how the family lived and the Pevensie's aren't used to it probably. It doesn't have to be anything bad. Look at it as how you would see your friends house and they had or did things unfamiliar to you and you aren't used to living that way yourself. It's sort of like that. :)
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby DOECOG » Aug 08, 2010 8:45 pm

I found a reference to this that Paul Ford made in Companion to Narnia (it’s kind of like a Narnian Encyclopedia).
Companion to Narnia (Alberta Scrub) wrote:These six traits--nonconformist, vegetarian, teetotaler, nonsmoker, wearer of "a special kind of underclothes," and feminist would classify her and her husband and son...as members of one of the many back-to-nature groups of the early to mid-twentieth century.

Lewis was probably trying to reference a group that people were familiar with at the time, but fifty-plus years later few of us know who he’s talking about
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby Aravis Narnia » Aug 11, 2010 5:16 pm

Lewis is NOT criticizing of teetotalers, vegetarians, or non-smokers in general. Much less of the acts of not drinking alcohol, not eating meat, or not smoking tobacco per se.

He is making fun of a notorious teetotaler/vegetarian/non-smoker named Adolf Hitler who decided to get rid of too many people of various groups in various categories.
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby Ithilwen » Aug 23, 2010 12:09 am

DiGoRyKiRkE wrote:I don't think that Jack had a problem with those things. He smoke, and he drank (teetotalism was more or less a movement against the use of alcohol). Jack wouldn't be criticizing himself . . . not that one can't ;)


Wait, I'm confused. If he made fun of teetotalism, he wouldn't be making fun of himself. He drank, and teetotalism is against drinking. So he wasn't a teetotalist, and so he wouldn't be making fun of himself by saying that . . . right? :-\

I agree with the rest of your post, though. I don't think it's the Scrubb's beliefs that he's making fun of, but rather the attitude they have about their beliefs. For example, I knew one girl who was a vegetarian. And there's nothing wrong with being a vegetarian. But when asked why she was a vegetarian, she said, "Because I have self-control, unlike you."
So I think basically Lewis isn't criticizing their beliefs, but instead the fact that, because they believe what they do, it makes them think they are somehow better or more sophisticated than everyone else. Not that everyone who shares their beliefs also feels that way. But in this case, the Scrubb family does.

What Eustace says in the movie is a good example in and of itself, when he says that people who don't read the same types of books he reads, only end up becoming hideous burdens to people like him and his family.

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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Aug 23, 2010 12:28 pm

Well. . . if he drank, and made fun of those who thought drinking should be illegal. . . he wasn't making fun of himself. . . I think. Now you've got me confused :P 8-}
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Re: Eustace's house/family

Postby stateofgreen » Jan 03, 2011 7:36 pm

After rereading some of VDT and watching the movie I was wondering about which of the Scrubb parents may have been related to the Pevensie children's parents (assuming they're non-Modernists). Is this mentioned in any of the books done of C.S. Lewis' writings? I suppose I'm wondering if one of Eustace's parents started off with a Christian philosophy/worldview and changed into a Modernist, thereby their worldview/philosophy rubbing off on their son. Probably silly speculation, but just wondering. If this is the wrong place to post this question, mods feel free to remove.
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby sweeetlilgurlie » Jan 06, 2011 3:27 pm

I was just thinking that they were kind of extreme and the weirdos on the block because they did all of these strange things. Being weird didn't make them bad at all-- it wasn't drawing them as bad. It was showing them to be rather different! Just because a horrible kid like Eustace came from such a family didn't mean that these things were to blame.

And what if Lewis WAS poking a bit of fun at them? So what? I don't suppose he meant it seriously and to make a statement against all of the things. Sometimes it's just something funny to chuckle about.
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby Valiant » Jan 06, 2011 5:02 pm

For example, I knew one girl who was a vegetarian. And there's nothing wrong with being a vegetarian. But when asked why she was a vegetarian, she said, "Because I have self-control, unlike you."


I think that's a really good example. I think I understand what Lewis was trying to say better now. I've met people like that-the ones that thought that they were better because of their own practices.
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Jan 06, 2011 5:19 pm

Aravis, that's an interesting conclusion but I seriously doubt he was poking fun at Hitler. It's more likely that he was poking fun at things he didn't like himself or thought were silly.

Vegetarinism - because he loved meat and saw it as one of God's gifts to humans

Teetotalers - because he loved a good drink (although in moderation) and didn't understand why some would be totally against it - besides it being a stumbling block

Special kind of under-clothes - not sure about this one but I think Lewis was old-fashioned in this respect and preferred long-johns to what was appearing on the scene at the time

Very little furniture - this could be interpreted as the Scrubbs not making time to sit down and reflect or read a book, they were always on the move. Also, it could just be that Lewis surrounded himself with a good amount of furniture and enjoyed it

Very few clothes on the bed - I don't understand this one. Maybe it was a common practice to keep your clothes for the next day, on your bed?

Windows were always open - again, I don't understand this one. Having the windows open helps circulate air throughout the room but doing it all the time seems extravagent. Maybe Lewis was suggesting that the Scrubbs wanted to feel as if they were outdoors, without having to go outside (being pseudo-hippies if you will).

I posted the question on my FaceBook staus. It should be interesting to see what responses I receive.
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Jan 06, 2011 5:26 pm

Warrior 4 Jesus wrote:Very few clothes on the bed - I don't understand this one. Maybe it was a common practice to keep your clothes for the next day, on your bed?


Having "clothes" on ones bed isn't actually articles of clothing. Having a clothed bed means having sheets and blankets and quilts and such. The passage means that there weren't a lot of blankets on the bed.

I don't know what this means (probably has something to do with warmth) in the text, but that's what it means.
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Re: Eustance's house/family

Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Jan 06, 2011 5:37 pm

Really? Interesting. Thanks for that one, Digory. In Australia, we'd call it "a made-up bed" or something similar. Your explanation does make more sense than clothes on the bed.
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Re: Eustace's house/family

Postby coracle » Jan 06, 2011 5:45 pm

The book:
At a time when a lot of people in England ate hearty meals with plenty of meat (and fat) and fewer vegetables and fruit than we now think good for us, kept their windows closed no matter how stuffy or smoky the air inside, let their children breathe second hand cigarette smoke as a norm, didn't do much exercise, and had lots of heavy blankets on their beds to keep warm, Lewis is showing that there were some people who were different. I doubt he was being satirical about Hitler, merely about a rather extremist group whose lifestyle was aimed at being very healthy, and who had alternative views in other areas as well (no fairy tales for children, give them facts and treat them like little adults, etc).

The movie:
I was struck by how the film set of Lucy's room suggests that the Scrubbs haven't bothered to spend money on this room for a long time - it has no soft furnishings, old paintwork, and outdated fittings, maybe formerly a servant's room in the top floor? The other rooms in the film seemed fairly standard, but my guess is that they didn't attempt to depict this alternative lifestyle - it's too complex and not an important enough aspect plotwise.
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Re: Eustace's house/family

Postby stateofgreen » Jan 06, 2011 6:50 pm

Well the room is at the back of the house and they put Lucy there. (Plus it probably suffered from being submerged for filming). ;)

All kidding aside, I think the whole thing about the Scrubbs being vegetarians, teetotalers, and having few clothes on the beds, probably was just Lewis' way of saying the Scrubbs were Modernist/different (for those times Lewis was writing in of course).

All of that stuff in today's times might just come off as the Scrubbs trying to live a "green", healthy, and allergen-free life (which really isn't bad at all these days). :)

I was just wondering which of Eustace's parents may have been related to Lucy and Edmund's....but I'm probably overanalyzing. I guess I was wondering if maybe one of the Scrubb parents could have been a friend of Narnia and then fallen away....
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