Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Discussion Questions for “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

Here’s the latest set of discussion questions in the Summer Reading Project. Previous postings here on The Book Den explain the program and include discussion questions for the first two books in C.S. Lewis’ classic adventure series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Please check them out here, here, here, and here. In addition, you can check out how the first Narnia dinner party/discussion worked out at this post.

As we have said previously, you may not need any conversation starters other than the general questions that work the best for any book discussion. Those questions, of course, include the following. Did you like the book? What did you learn from it? Were there any characters, incidents, passages, or even single lines that made an impact on you? Were there things in the book you had questions about or disagreements? What were some of the most memorable things about the book?

Questions for Kids (and adults)

1) Why didn’t the Pevensie kids like Eustace?
2) There was only one picture in Aunt Alberta’s house that the Pevensie kids liked.  Can you describe it?
3) Who was the most valiant of the all the Talking Beasts of Narnia?
4) Who was captain of the Dawn Treader?
5) Who was left back in Narnia to serve as the Regent in Caspian’s name?
6) Instead of the special wine that everyone loved, what did the whining Eustace want to eat?
7) Whose image was on the door of Caspian’s cabin?
8) Where was Reepicheep’s favorite place on the Dawn Treader?
9) What was the name of the evil governor of the Lone Islands?
10) What name did Pug call Eustace?
11) Eustace was so lazy and cowardly that he didn’t want to work...even to keep the ship from sinking!  Also, he was so selfish and sneaky that he stole water. What do you think about these things?
12) What happened to Eustace after he slipped the diamond bracelet on his arm?And to whom had that bracelet originally belonged?
13) Who freed Eustace from being a dragon? How?
14) What danger did the Dawn Treader crew face just a few days after leaving Dragon Island?
15) What was the danger of Goldwater Island? In fact, there were two dangers. What were they?
16) What did the Dufflepuds choose instead of being ugly?
17) How was the Dawn Treader repaired after the sea serpent’s attack?
18) What had happened to Lord Revilian, Lord Argoz, and Lord Mavramorn?
19) What did the people in the submarine forest ride?
20) What does Reepicheep throw into the sea when he decides to sail towards Aslan's land? Why?
21) Near the end of the book, Aslan appears as another kind of animal. What is it?

Questions for Adults (and kids)

1) Eustace’s parents were proud to be “very up-to-date and advanced people” but unfortunately, that meant they were pretty lousy parents.  Lewis’ satirical descriptions of Eustace and his parents seem to have a lot of relevance to our day, don’t you think?
2) Eustace wasn’t tough but he still knew a dozen ways to be a bully. Can you comment?
3) What was different about the “secret country” of the Pevensie children and the “secret country” that other people imagine?
4) What was the main purpose of Caspian’s voyage?
5) What was Reepicheep’s “higher hope” for the voyage?
6) Eustace’s diary provided a pretty damning record of his selfishness and ignorance. Sometimes our sins follow us. And, in our blindness and stubbornness, we sometimes even draw attention to those sins ourselves.
7) Though Eustace treated Reepicheep especially shamefully, the mouse was the most insistent on going to rescue him.
8) Eustace’s “Dragonish thoughts” led to actually becoming a dragon. As a man thinks...
9) When Eustace realizes he’s become a dragon, there is an instant sense of power that he could use against his enemies. But it is immediately followed by “an appalling loneliness.” Sin brings curses, not comfort.
10) Eustace had too many “skins” and he learned that salvation couldn't come from his own efforts, no matter how eager and dedicated he was to change himself. He needed the gracious efforts of Aslan to “undragon” him.
11) Edmund accepts Eustace’s apology but then makes an admission of his own. What was it?
12) Following Eustace's deliverance, there were still a few “lapses.”  But we are assured that “the cure had begun.” That begs the question — “How's sanctification working out for you?”
13) Lord Bern told Caspian that he had long opposed Gumpas’ slave trade.  Yet Lord Bern himself was part of it. After all, he had purchased Caspian!  How easy for us too to criticize certain things...while being involved in them ourselves.
14) Even though Lord Bern had tolerated slavery, Caspian graciously allowed him to help him in overthrowing Gumpas and ending slavery.
15) Gumpas “acknowledged the king of Narnia as his lord” but, in actual practice, acted directly against the king’s law. You think C.S. Lewis might have been making a larger point here?
16) Gumpas’ rule was marked by injustice, greed, sloppiness, and inept bureaucracy.  Caspian called it “Going Bad.” Again, does any of this sound familiar?
17) Gumpas’ argument for slavery wasn't only about it being profitable but also progressive. How dastardly that word can be misused.
18) Lord Bern (now the Duke) says that the closing of the slave market “might lead to war with Calormen.”  Even so, it was the right thing to do.  Standing for the right will often create controversy, opposition, and other serious problems. But one must stand for the right.
19) Reepicheep’s mind “was full of forlorn hopes, death-or-glory charges, and last stands.” Are these kind of romantic, chivalrous ideals healthy?
20) “Drinkable light.” Does this bring any Scriptures to mind?
21) Describe the temptations Lucy faced on the Island of Invisible Voices?
22) Aslan tells Lucy, “I call all times soon.” Isn't this a comfort, one that suggests that God's sovereignty, patience, and justice is being worked out?
23) The Dark Island is where dreams come true...the wrong kind of dreams. Lord Rhoop certainly learns a lesson; namely, that man cannot control his own mind, let alone his environment.
24) Caspian cannot fool or force his men to sailing further.  He must let them choose. This suggests an important lesson in leadership.
25) Lucy says to Aslan, “It isn’t Narnia, you know.  It’s you!”
26) “This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you man know me better there.”

Discussion questions for the other books in the series will be posted as we go along. Look for those dealing with The Silver Chair in a few days.