(Review) The Screwtape Letters by C.S.Lewis
Originally published 1942
Rating: 4 stars for very good
There are several edition choices at Amazon for this book. The link above provides a 2015, paperback choice. It's possible to find a free ebook copy online.
The following link, C.S. Lewis, is an excellent site for biography and book selections.
The Screwtape Letters is considered to be a satirical story about a demon named Screwtape, and his letters to a nephew named Wormwood. Screwtape, encourages Wormwood, to interfere and destroy the life of a human.
The human is referred to as "the patient."
They are written with cynicism, apathy, and coldness.
The goal is to hurt humans and alienate them from God.
Not every reader likes C.S. Lewis nonfiction books. Is it an acquired taste? Maybe. Does it require different thinking skills? Yes. Does C.S. Lewis use a different writing method to reach his audience? A definite yes.
The Screwtape Letters is considered satire. The book is not meant to be a comedy. It is not meant to make fun of or minimize demons. It is meant to provoke the reader to think and make changes.
Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.
In The Screwtape Letters, the 31 letters have one purpose: Screwtape encourages and advices Wormwood, in various ways to destroy the "patient."
Some examples of these ploys and plots:
- In prayer, focus on what is made and not the Creator
- Focus on material objects and possessions
- A person who prays for their family yet is abusive
- Focus on the current state of mind and not God
- Absorb with the things of earth
- Fear of future
The number one ploy that I found disturbing is the subtleness of temptation. Temptation is not necessarily a one time big moment, but is instead a slow moving and slippery enticement.
Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human to live in the Past...It is far better to make them live in the future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time-for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays. Page 76.I am so glad I read, The Screwtape Letters!