Opening Lines: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

This is the blog where we dissect the opening sentences of popular works of fiction. Few people outside of the writing community know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into crafting the perfect Opening Line; and for that reason, I want to bring attention to the incredible work that a writer puts into these first few words. Today we will examine C.SLewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

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First, let’s look at the blurb:

Narnia…the world of wicked dragons and magic spells, where the very best is brought out of even the worst people, where anything can happen (and most often does)…and where the adventure begins. The Dawn Treader is the first ship Narnia has seen in centuries. King Caspian has built it for his voyage to find the seven lords, good men whom his evil uncle Mizaz banished when he usurped the throne. The journey takes Edmund, Lucy, and their cousin Eustace to the Eastern Islands, beyond the Silver Sea, toward Aslan’s country at the End of the World.

Now let’s examine the Opening Line:

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I say a writer needs to make the reader ask questions–based on this opening sentence–so that they will continue to read the story.

I will add, sometimes, the author’s voice can be a great driving force to keep the reader going, with or without those questions.

In this opener, C.S. Lewis infuses enough humor to make us wonder, who is Eustace Clarence Scrubb?

Obviously, this name is so bad that when Lewis adds, “he almost deserved it,” he is implying that Eustace himself is also bad.

While this line is humorous, we still ask ourselves, “What was so bad about Eustace Clarence Scrubb that he almost deserved this horrible name?

If you want to find out, click on the Barnes & Noble link.

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