Quicklet on C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters

by Luke Trayser

What's in the book?

Quicklets: Your reading sidekick!

    • About the Book
    • About the Author
    • Synopsis
    • Chapter-By-Chapter Commentary & Summary
    • Key Character List
    • Key Terms and Definitions
    • Major Themes and Symbols
    • Interesting Related Facts
    • Additional Reading

Description

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Screwtape Letters, a satirical novel that focuses on the religious struggle of one unnamed man, is one of the most influential works of C.S. Lewis. The story unfolds through the eyes of Screwtape, a highly placed under-secretary to Lucifer, affectionately known as ‘Our Father Below’.

Through a series of letters addressed his nephew, Wormwood, a young demon tasked only with securing the hellish eternity of the anonymous man, Screwtape bestows knowledge on how to capture a soul. Throughout his letters to Wormwood, we learn that the religious peaks and valleys of Wormwood’s patient are set against the backdrop of wartime England.

Originally published in book form in early 1942, World War II plays a big part in the novel. Screwtape himself does not pay much heed to war and advises his nephew to do the same, but the human patient faces seemingly endless German bombing raids and the uncomfortable daily reminder that he is mortal and can die at just about any moment. The war, in fact, ultimately plays a pivotal role in sealing the patient’s eternity.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Luke stole an English degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been a blogger for nearly a decade and a digital editor at an ad agency for three years. Luke enjoys playing sports, reading, listening to music, trying to play songs he likes on the guitar, quickly giving up on that and playing video games, and spending quality time with his wife.

EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

Tweetable Plot Summary: The patient’s new friends have brought him into a new circle, one that’s filled with flippant worldlings. #whatdoesflippantmean

Key Passage: “A thousand bawdy, or even blasphemous, jokes do not help towards a man’s damnation so much as his discovery that almost anything he wants to do can be done, not only without the disapproval but with the admiration of his fellows, if only it can get itself treated as a Joke.”

Letter and Passage Analysis: That hashtag is poking a bit of fun. Through the power of the Internet, I have discovered a flippant person is one who is disrespectful and not likely to take many things seriously.

All joking aside, this is serious business. Screwtape does not often use the word ‘damnation’, but he does here. The one who turns every situation into something to be ridiculed is a fool, and is headed southbound for eternity.

Prompt: Make no mistake; laughter in its right forms (filled with joy or fun) is a beautiful thing. But disrespectful jokes are another story. Challenge yourself to identify when you’ve crossed the line.



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