Dragon Skin   Leave a comment

Yesterday, I finished reading a book new to me this year.  I read it once with my daughter as part of school, but decided it needed another read.

I strongly suspect it will lead to another–and another–and another.  That is, if my heart turns out to be anything like Eustace Clarence Scrubb’s dragon skin.  You remember his transformation in C. S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  He tried on his own to remove the skin, as Aslan told him to, but failed miserably.

On his own he had gained the knowledge that he had dragon skin, and knew how desperately he needed it peeled away.  But his claws weren’t deep enough to do the job.

As I read this book, I have felt the skin being tugged.  I’ve seen the scaly bumps.  I’ve felt some scales beginning to fall from my eyes.  All I have so far is the knowledge that it must go.

I’m talking about Till We Have Faces, also by Lewis.  It’s strong medicine.

How did he know what I am like internally?  Or is it just that we all have the same battle?

Here’s what he observed through his narrator, Orual, the unlovely older sister of Psyche.  She begins her accusation of the gods by recording her life and her losses.  In the first book, she tells what happened when the gods gave her and then took away a lovely, sweet younger sister whom she loved as much as any one can love another person.

She ends that part by saying that the gods never give an answer to our questions and complaints.  But in the shorter second book, she begins to see herself as she really is and not as she had imagined herself to be all the years of her childhood, young womanhood, and rule as queen.

“For it had been somehow settled in my mind from the very beginning that I was the pitiable ill used-one.”(256)

“My love for [fill in a name from your life…was actually] a gnawing greed for one to whom I could give nothing, of whom I craved all.” (267) As I read Book II, and saw with Orual all the events she had been sure she understood perfectly before, I began to question my own life and situations I thought I had understood perfectly before. In the courtroom of the gods she reads her complaint, her book that she has been working on diligently, only to find that it is in reality a nasty, ugly scroll filled with scribblings that when placed before the eternal are revealed to be the lies and excuses they truly are.

Reading this book made me see things about myself I hadn’t seen before.  So with strokes of the pen, years after his death, Lewis has managed to begin to tear my dragon skin.

But it will take a deep slash for Aslan to finish the work, I know.


Lewis, C. S.  Till We Have Faces.  Orlando: Harcourt, 1984.

Posted March 18, 2015 by swanatbagend in reflections

Tagged with , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: