The Screwtape Letters
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Analysis of the Screwtape Letters

The correspondence of devils would not be an easy composition for most writers. Yet C. S. Lewis was a master at revealing subtleties of the diabolical mind. We find Screwtape to be urbane, intelligent, witty and even charming. These qualities are tools. Like a hammer or a screwdriver, in the right hands they can build a cathedral. In the wrong hands they could destroy a high-speed turbine in motion.

Through the "Screwtape Letters" we come to realize that evil seldom pops up as the genocidal maniac slaughtering millions (though it does on occasion show up in the guise of a Stalin or a Hitler). For individuals, it generally takes the form of little urgings that come from within, telling us to respond brusquely to a family member or to frown on that poor soul in the neighboring pew with the funny hat.

It is evil in our everyday lives that Screwtape addresses, petty evils that add up in the end to the destruction of our morality, the demise of our individuality and the utter destruction of our souls.

The book is sprinkled with advice from Screwtape to his nephew, Wormwood, telling him what he must do to gain the soul of a Christian for the underworld. This mostly involves "muddying the waters". That is: not allowing the "patient" to clearly see the truth. Thus we are shown how evil is overcome by simple, clear actions and thought.

In the end we find that the battle between good and evil is fought out on the field of our relationships with others and most of all our relationship with God.

Each Letter has something important to say, and should be read and reviewed in detail.

You can get an inexpensive paperback copy of the screwtape letters at

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