Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader -- 1952
“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. His parents called him Eustace Clarence and masters called him Scrubb. I can't tell you how his friends spoke to him, for he had none. He didn't call his Father and Mother “Father” and “Mother,” but Harold and Alberta. They were very up-to-date and advanced people. They were vegetarians, non-smokers and teetotalers and wore a special kind of underclothes.”
Eustace Clarence was very different from his cousins, the Pevensies, but he liked the thought of Edmund and Lucy coming for a visit. When he heard of their impending arrival, he immediately began to think of all the ways he could make their visit miserable. If Eustace Clarence could have seen ahead, he might not have been quite as cheerful about greeting his cousins. But as he couldn't, he proceeded to be his 'record stinker' self and succeeded so well that Lucy and Edmund were spending as much time away from him as they could.
When Aunt Alberta had gotten married, someone had given her a painting. She didn't like it very much but didn't dare to send it away for fear of offending someone. So, she stuck it in one of the back rooms that happened to be Lucy's for the visit. Whenever the two could slip away from Eustace, they would sit on her bed and look at the picture and imagine it to be ship of Narnia. One day, while they were doing so and talking about their kingdom and Aslan and all their friends there, Eustace popped in smiling disagreeably. He had been eavesdropping by the door and, having heard them speak of Narnia before, began to taunt them about their imaginations and how much they liked the picture of the ship.
Suddenly, a very strange thing happened: the picture became alive... and it didn't stop there. All three children were drawn from Lucy's room into the sea where they had to be rescued by those on the ship, which really was from Narnia. Eustace was very upset by this turn of events and demanded to be left off at the next port. But his cousins and King, whom they called Caspian, merely attended his seasickness and stowed him away in a hammock. Over the course of the next few (Narnian) days, he is kidnapped, sold as a slave, lives with little sustenance, endures horrible storms, finds a dragon and a pond that turns everything that touches them into gold, has a (talking) mouse challenge him to a duel, turns into a dragon and realizes what a beast he had been as a human, makes friends and meets Aslan.
Eustace was about to lose his position of record stinker.
What I Liked:
1: The allegory was wonderful. It was so much fun applying the adventures and characters to real life... but spiritual and not.
2: The humor is great.
3: C.S. Lewis wrote a series that doesn't grow old, regardless of how many characters are the same. And the story doesn't get confusing even though he adds many new.
4: Relationship between Reepicheep and Eustace. It made me laugh out loud.
5: Eustace's diary. Lol!
6: The fairy-tale quality to this story.
7: I love how people of all ages can enjoy this book (and the entire series) and learn from it.