The Voyage of the Dawn Treader portrays a specific quest the Pevensie children embark on. The novel hinges on imagination and travel. Lewis suggests that although some of us travel physically, there can also be the imaginative form of travel. This kind of imaginative travel is represented through literature as well. For instance, just as Lucy and Edmund travel to Narnia, readers join them in their voyage to a magical land through the act of reading. I was struck by the way in which Edmund, Lucy and Eustace are pulled into Narnia once again. By staring at a picture, they soon feel as though this picture is coming to life and sure enough, the picture pulls them onto Caspian’s boat. As a reader, we are pulled into their adventure in a similar way, by slowly getting sucking into their world we get to embark on the adventure too.
Lewis highlights the role of travel and traveler throughout The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. One aspect of travel that stood out to me was that idea that we all have imaginaries countries. Lewis illustrates the fact that Edmund and Lucy are lucky enough to have a real place; everyone does have that imaginary country. To me, this means that every person has some part of himself or herself that travels elsewhere, kind of like a daydream. I think we all have different places we go to in our minds to escape the world we currently inhabit. This type of travel is entirely imaginative but that does not make it any less of a viable form of travel. Lewis suggests that although children have a real place to travel to, everyone has a type of Narnia in their own minds. I think the main point Lewis maintains is that imaginative travel is not limited to children but is something all of us do. He also suggests that imaginative travel is possible through literature. By reading about Lucy and Edmund’s travels, readers are transported into their journey.
Another aspect of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the idea of literature adding to reality. Although The Chronicles of Narnia is entirely fantastical, these stories are enhanced versions of our reality. As readers, our reality and even our perception of reality can be altered through the act of reading. Just as travelers must use new environments to build on their previous experiences, so must readers in order to understand the world they are placed in.
Lewis also makes claims about foreigners in new places. For instance, prior to Eustace’s transformation into a dragon, he fails to realize that he encounters a dragon, because according to the narrator, “Eustace had read only the wrong books” (Lewis 92). I think Lewis is suggesting that travelers can be unaware of the land they encounter simply because of practical faults. Eustace is too practical and too English to understand that the world he is in now remains entirely different than England. I think this mimics the way some travelers encounter new places, by failing to recognize the fact that this new place is entirely different than one’s home, one misses out on the reality of the new place.