Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Molly Erlanger
Dr. Ellis
EN 385D
10 February 2015
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
            Eustace stuck out to me as a very important character in terms of different representations of travel in C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In the beginning of the novel, he is incredibly unwilling to embrace the journey that he suddenly finds himself on. He reminded me very much of a tourist who visits a resort on an island, completely uninterested in actually exploring the foreign culture in favor of being comfortable. He refuses to be open-minded, instead whining about finding a British consul or how things are better in his “civilized country”. Instead of taking in his new surroundings and new opportunities, he dwells on what he has left behind.

            In Eustace’s transformation into a dragon, he starts to see himself from a different perspective. Almost immediately after realizing what he has become, he thinks to himself, “He began to wonder if he himself had been such a nice person as he had always supposed” (Lewis 98). Eustace’s time as a dragon, along with his shedding of the dragon skin and transformation back into a human, can be seen as symbolizing the effects that opening one’s mind to new ideas and new places on a journey can have. There are definitely religious implications in his shedding of the skin and being thrown into the water as well, and all of these combine to show a personal journey that Eustace undertakes while on this physical journey. By enjoying the path that he is on, and trusting that he is in safe hands, he can allow himself to grow as a person. He attempts to become more agreeable, taking in these new lands without constantly comparing them to the ones he has left behind. Eustace’s spiritual journey reflects the entire journey itself, as they all test new limits and boundaries of a world that they are encountering for the first time. For all the characters, putting their trust in Aslan is important. They allow him to continue to move them forward, even when they feel as though they must give up or forge a different path. However, in the end it is Aslan's country that they are trying to reach. It is Aslan that they must ultimately trust to know what is best to get them to their destination. Travelers must open themselves to new opportunities and new ways of thinking, otherwise they may as well be better off simply staying at home. A real journey incorporates both physical, mental, and even spiritual movement. Travel that leaves any real impact on a traveler challenges the body as well as the mind.

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