In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, exploration is the driving force behind everything our beloved protagonists do. The story is explicitly structured as a quest, and discovery for its own sake is just as important as any more practical goal (such as finding the lost lords of Narnia). Exploration is almost synonymous with adventure in this book; exploring the world seems to be inherently dangerous but also thrilling and rewarding. There are larger forces at work (think Aslan) in the world of this book that protect explorers and ensure that their travels end well.
Questions About Exploration
What is Caspian searching for? (Hint: we can think of at least three things.) What do you think would have to happen for him to be satisfied with the outcome of his quest?
Does Caspian's goal of finding out what happened to the seven missing lords conflict or harmonize with Reepicheep's goal of finding the eastern end of the world? Can the Dawn Treader really do both? Explain your answer.
Why do you think nobody in the world of Narnia has ever ventured into the Eastern Seas before? Why is the Dawn Treader the first ship to go this far?
What is so significant about traveling to the east? Why does C.S. Lewis choose to send the Dawn Treader on a voyage to the eastern end of the world instead of the western end?
Chew on This
The Dawn Treader voyages to the east because that is the direction of the sunrise and symbolically represents rebirth.
Although Caspian is officially searching for the seven missing lords, in reality he is searching for personal fulfillment and transformation.