The Magic Book

Arielle Glatman Zaretsky '07 English 65, Fantasy, Brown University, 2004

In The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader", the Dawn Treader lands on an island inhabited by invisible creatures. They claim to have been turned ugly by a magician; so ugly in fact, that they themselves chose to have the Chief Voice's daughter read the spell to make them invisible. The island's inhabitants have since grown tired of their invisibility, but need a young girl to undo the spell. Since they fear the magician, they refuse to send a daughter of their own and so instead threaten the lives of Lucy and her companions, vowing that unless Lucy reverses the invisibility spell, she and her friends will all be killed. Lucy then goes to find the Magic Book in order to save herself and her fellow travelers.

For the Book, the Magic Book, was lying on a reading-desk in the very middle of the room. She saw she would have to read it standing (and anyway there were no chairs) and also that she would have to stand with her back to the door while she read it. So at once she turned to shut the door.

It wouldn't shut.

Some people may disagree with Lucy about this, but I think she was quite right. She said she wouldn't have minded if she could have shut the door, but that it was unpleasant to have to stand in a place like that with an open doorway right behind your back. I should have felt just the same. But there was nothing else to be done. [160-161]


1. Why does Lewis speak directly to the reader? How does this create a different effect than allowing the reader to hear Lucy's thoughts as if the reader were in Lucy's head?

2. How does allowing the sentence "It wouldn't shut" to stand as its own paragraph increase the suspense in the passage?

3. Why does Lewis not allow the door to be closed since in spite of the suspense he creates, only Aslan ends up appearing in the doorway?


Lewis, C. S. The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader". New York: HarperCollins, 1952.

Victorian Web Overview C. S. Lewis Victorian courses

Last modified 16 February 2004