had an immense knowledge of literature,
which added depth to his own writing.
He was also a Christian apologist with an
extensive knowledge of Scripture.
Another important literary term to
consider when reading the Narnia stories
is theme. Theme, in a work of fiction, is
an idea or point of view illustrated by the
events in the story. In The Voyage of the
Dawn Treader, one persistent theme is
the journey from West to East. Another
theme is repentance and redemption.
Lewis denied that his
stories were intended
As you read, watch for allusions to
literature and events that illustrate
themes. The undressing of Eustace the
Dragon in Chapter 7 is a picture of our
Savior’s redeeming work in us. Unable
to undress himself, Eustace has to yield
himself completely to Aslan. Ephesians
4: 17–32 speaks of laying aside the old
man and putting on the new, which is
also a good picture of Eustace before
and after his encounter with Aslan. Af-
ter Aslan undressed Eustace, he didn’t
immediately become a different boy,
but “he began to be a different boy. The
cure had begun.”
The story of the Dufflepuds, in Chap-
ters 9, 10, and 11, might seem to be
merely comic relief between Deathwater
and the Dark Island. Consider the reason
for the Dufflepuds’ predicament, as well
as Lucy’s mistake. The Magician turned
the Dufflepuds into monopods because
of their pride and rebellion. Pride makes
Lucy want to use the spell for beauty be-
yond the lot of mortals. She resists but
then rebels against the restraint of her
conscience and uses a spell to hear what
her friends are saying about her.
A significant difference between Lucy
and the Dufflepuds is the attitude of repentance. The Dufflepuds are too foolish
to see the need to repent; they measure
themselves by each other (II Corinthians
10: 12). They learn very little from the
Magician’s discipline. However, Lucy’s
relationship with Aslan has made her
sensitive to his reproof, and she is quick
to repent. She gains wisdom from her
mistakes. (See Psalm 32 and Proverbs
The Dawn Treader’s voyage is to the
utter east. The further east the ship trav-
els, the brighter the light becomes, until
it is so bright that the Narnians would
not be able to stand it without the ef-
fects of drinking the sweet water of the
sea. As the direction from which the sun
rises, we look to the east for the hope of
a new day, and light after darkness. In
Ezekiel’s vision of the temple, the glory
of God comes into the temple by way of
the eastern gate (Ezekiel 43: 4). In Eze-
kiel 47, the prophet sees a river flowing
from the temple. He is told that when
the water from the river enters the sea,
where the sea is stagnant, the waters be-
come fresh (47: 8).
In Chapter 16, Reepicheep says that if
Caspian won’t listen to reason, the crew
will have to tie him up until he comes to
his senses. Edmund says it would be “like
they did with Ulysses when he wanted to
go near the Sirens.” This is a reference to
one of Odysseus’s adventures in Homer’s
Odyssey, Book XII.
An allusion is
an indirect but
Before Aslan sends Edmund and Lucy
back to their own world for the last
time, he tells them the reason they were
brought to Narnia was “that by knowing
me here for a little, you may know me
better there.” After having spent a little
time in Narnia, may you go and learn to
know Aslan better.
Diane Pendergraft homeschooled three
children who are now grown. She is the
author of Further Up and Further In, a
unit study based on the Chronicles of Narnia, published by Cadron Creek Christian
Curriculum. She lives with her husband
in Wyoming, and teaches at a Classical
1. Lewis, C. S. Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories.
New York and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanov-ich, 1966.
2. Dorsett, Lyle F., and Mead, Marjorie Lamp, ed.
C. S. Lewis Letters to Children. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1985.
3. Lewis, C. S., The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
New York: Scholastic Inc., 1995.