The Screwtape Letters, a Stroll through the human soul

Essay by juzamscutaHigh School, 12th gradeA+, June 2004

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The Screwtape Letters: A Stroll into the Human Soul

In the novel The Screwtape LettersC.S Lewis uses point of view to allow the reader to see Hell's perspective, revealing man's follies. This is obtained through 31 letters from Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood, advising him how to turn his patient to their side. Each letter addresses various aspects of the flaws of the human soul, and how the devil tempts the soul away from goodness to evil. These flaws revealed seem subtle, but collectively become much more dangerous to the liberty of the soul. Lewis uses the devil himself to capitalize on these flaws and remind society the real reason they believe in a religion. The patient is never named, allowing him to be anyone of the Christian faith. Although the patient is specified to live in London during World War II, his characterization leaves him open enough so that the setting doesn't restrict his average Christian character.

The war does play a role in the patient's state of mind, but almost everyone has experienced a war in his lifetime. Because the patient dies prematurely as a war casualty, the

sudden ending of the patient's life plays the most vital difference in the thwarting of Hell's plan. Had the patient lived longer, Screwtape and

Wormwood might have succeeded in claiming his soul. Lewis uses an unusual point of view, that of two of Satan's henchmen. Since the narrative consists of letters written by Screwtape in response to Wormwood's letters, however, we are left to infer the context of Wormwood's letters. Screwtape's corrupted perspective is portrayed through his ironic narrative voice.

The structure of the novel is Lewis' best intent to get his point across to the reader and help the reader get the best understanding of his point.