What if hell were organized as a fiendish bureaucracy with managers and field agents? Meet Screwtape, upper management and uncle to Wormwood, a field agent tempter who has been assigned a human patient to secure for eternity. Hell shares no love, but Screwtape undertakes the guidance and tutelage of his nephew.
In a series of letters, Screwtape offers advice and practicality to the young demon about the finer points of temptation, the weaknesses and foibles of human beings, and the disaster of his patient becoming a Christian. Though this certainly complicates things, the two infernal beings won’t let it stop them.
From this very skewed perspective, C.S. Lewis digs into human nature, revealing some interesting, and sometimes embarrassing, tendencies. Touching on everything from sleeplessness to the “absurdity” of God’s love for humanity, Screwtape imparts his wicked wisdom to Wormwood. Though the mirror he holds up to humanity is warped and cracked, it is still painfully revealing. Wit and parody mask a very serious analysis of what makes humans tick; and demanding the reader think, it can teach each of us how to resist the temptations and discouragement of the enemy!
Through C.S. Lewis’s uniquely Christian, though witty and satirical look at sin and temptation, students will learn:
Author Biography: Learn more about C.S. Lewis.
Background Information: Learn about WWII and the Battle of Britain.
Before-You-Read Activities: Learn about the devil in scripture, art, literature & music. Artistic personal concept of the demonic. Bible study on temptation of Jesus. Watch interviews of veterans from WWII, Battle of Britain.
Vocabulary words used throughout the novel, utilizing a variety of activities to stimulate retention and growth.
Literary Techniques: include epistolary novel, epigraphs, parody, extended metaphor, allusion, death, suffering, worry, fear, and anxiety, antonyms, synonyms, axiom, dramatic irony, understatement, descriptive language.
Moral Lessons and Character Values: modern philosophies, materialism, apologetics, the church, expectations & disappointments, sinfulness, tangible needs, trials bring growth, friendship, guilt, human laughter & humor, humility, scruples, simple pleasures and thankfulness, peer pressure, marriage and love, pride, danger.
Activities and Writing Assignments: including research biography, writing a prayer, position paper on Christianity, collage of images of Christ, write a poem, Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem analysis, nursing home field trip, group discussion on pacifism, prayer and study partners, thanksgiving service, compare corrupted and intended, memory verses project, critical report on humor, interviews, presentation on culture, Biblical marriage, sacred music, Quakers, social issues, overview of fate and destiny, poem or song about death, Full essays such as patient analysis, faith, timeline, humanity, historical connections to the book, twisting reality, physical vs. spiritual, compare & contrast, women vs. men, motifs in Screwtape Letters, the church, apologetics, research papers on C.S. Lewis’ other work, literary symbolism, activities such as dramatic presentation, write a drama and perform, write a letter of your own, self-analysis.
Suggestions for Further Reading: We include an in-depth reading list of more books by the same author(s) and other books that tie in with, or are similar to, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.
All of the unit lessons are written from a Christian worldview!
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