The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
by C.S. Lewis
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader The Supernatural Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Eustace rushed towards the picture. Edmund, who knew something about magic, sprang after him, warning him to look out and not to be a fool. Lucy grabbed at him from the other side and was dragged forward. And by this time either they had grown much smaller or the picture had grown bigger. Eustace jumped to try to pull it off the wall and found himself standing on the frame; in front of him was not glass but real sea, and wind and waves rushing up to the frame as they might to a rock. (1.28)
It's telling that Eustace's first visit to Narnia begins with an art object coming to life. In the Scrubb household, there's not much art of any kind. We learn that this picture is here only because it was a wedding present to Eustace's mother. She didn't want to offend the person, so she kept it. So the education that Aslan plans for Eustace involves a greater appreciation of artistry and beauty, and it begins with sucking Eustace into a painting.
The thing that came out of the cave was something he had never even imagined – a long lead-coloured snout, dull red eyes, no feathers or fur, a long lithe body that trailed on the ground, legs whose elbows went up higher than its back like a spider's, cruel claws, bat's wings that made a rasping noise on the stones, yards of tail. And the two lines of smoke were coming from its two nostrils. He never said the word Dragon to himself. Nor would it have made things any better if he had. (6.6)
The dragon Eustace encounters seems all the more supernatural and impressive because he doesn't know what it is. If this passage began with a name for the supernatural creature, it wouldn't have the same effect on us. Because the passage starts with a description and leads up to the name "dragon," it makes the creature seem unfamiliar and helps us see it anew.
But what it turned out to be was far worse than anyone had suspected. Suddenly, only about the length of a cricket pitch from their port side, an appalling head reared itself out of the sea. It was all greens and vermilions with purple blotches – except where shell fish clung to it – and shaped rather like a horse's, though without ears. It had enormous eyes, eyes made for staring through the dark depths of the ocean, and a gaping mouth filled with double rows of sharp fish-like teeth. It came up on what they first took to be a huge neck, but as more and more of it emerged everyone knew that this was not its neck but its body and that at last they were seeing what so many people have foolishly wanted to see – the great Sea Serpent. (8.14)
As in the first passage that describes the dragon, this passage begins with a physical description of the supernatural creature and reserves the label for the very end. We're forced to visualize the monster before we get a label for it.