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Summer Reading

THe screwtape letters study guide

Summer Reading - The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

This summer, we are trying something different with our summer reading requirements. We are going to read one book as a school. The book will be specifically addressed academically in English and Theology classes, but will ultimately serve as a tool for all of us as a community to draw from. 

The text we’ve selected is The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. 

While best known by most students for the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S Lewis was also a lay theologian and wrote numerous stories heavily influenced by Christianity. 

The book itself is actually a collection of letters written by a character named Screwtape, a senior tempter of the Devil, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter.  

While we only hear Screwtape’s perspective, together they are trying to draw an unsuspecting person away from God. In both their successes and frustrations, we gain some insight into how evil can work against all of us in everyday life. 

It is a satire, so some of the ironic phrasing may be confusing at first. God is referred to as the “enemy” while the Devil is called “our Father down below”. The things they are supportive of are bad… while Screwtape and Wormwood’s failures are actually good things. 

The key is understanding that we are looking at our lives from the perspective of someone working against us and working against God. I believe we will all find some very familiar experiences and warnings within the story.  

The text is relatively short, but will take some time to fully understand.  We’ll ask you to use a resource from the CS Lewis Study Program as a study guide. That same guide states, “Some have noted that reading the Letters is not a pleasant experience. Indeed, it is difficult to discover how tainted and corrupted we truly are. But such self-knowledge is essential to spiritual growth and maturity. The Lord’s Prayer will take on new meaning and greater urgency, as we cry, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

All students are asked to read the text in its entirety and are challenged to review the five study questions, answering at least two of them, for each chapter. At the back of the study guide is a chart, outlining the themes of each chapter, and the diabolical vs divine strategies that are represented. 

Thanks for your time and attention to the text and it’s message. 

Have a blessed summer!

the ScrewTape letters study guide