C.S. LEWIS ATRIUM 
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Course Description

This is a full year course of study (two semesters) which will provide an introduction to and overview of the works of C.S. Lewis, including his most popular works of fiction and non-fiction. Reading assignments will emphasize enjoyment and comprehension. The first semester will cover all seven of the Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters. The second semester will include Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, The Abolition of Man and The Weight of Glory. Students are given a schedule (see Course Schedule below) with weekly reading assignments and study questions. Class sessions will include some lecture, discussion, reading quizzes, and reading key scenes out loud.  Students are given two assignments each semester in addition to the weekly reading and quizzes (see Course Requirements below).  The instructor will be giving page references from the most recent Harper & Scribner editions available (see Required Texts below).

Course Schedule

Week 1   The Magician's Nephew (Chap. 1-8)
          2   The Magician's Nephew (Chap. 9-15)
          3   The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (Chap. 1-9)
          4   The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (Chap. 10-17)
          5   The Horse & His Boy (Chap. 1-7) 
          6   The Horse & His Boy (Chap. 8-15)
          7   Prince Caspian (Chap. 1-8)
          8   Prince Caspian (Chap. 9-15)
          9   Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chap. 1-8)
         10  Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chap. 9-16)
         11  Silver Chair (Chap. 1-8)               
         12  Silver Chair (Chap. 9-16)
         13  The Last Battle (Chap. 1-8)
         14  The Last Battle (Chap. 9-16)
         15   The Screwtape Letters (Letters 1-31)  
         16   Semester Exam

Week 1    The Great Divorce (Preface; Chap. 1-4)
          2    The Great Divorce (Chap. 5 - 9)
          3    The Great Divorce (Chap.10-14)  
          4    Mere Christianity: Book 1, Chaps. 1-5 
          5    Mere Christianity: Book 2, Chaps. 1-5
          6    Mere Christianity: Book 3, Chaps. 1-4
          7    Mere Christianity: Book 3, Chaps. 5-7
          8    Mere Christianity: Book 3, Chaps.8-12  
          9    Mere Christianity: Book 4, Chaps. 1-4
         10   Mere Christianity: Book 4, Chaps. 5-11 
         11   The Abolition of Man (Chap. 1)
         12   The Abolition of Man (Chap. 2)
         13   The Abolition of Man (Chap. 3; Appendix)
         14   The Weight of Glory, Essays 1-3 
         15   The Weight of Glory, Essays 4-6
         16   The Weight of Glory, Essays 7-9 

Required Textbooks

First semester:  Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew; The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe; The Horse & His Boy; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Last Battle (Harper, 2002: Paperback Boxed Set ISBN 0064471195) and the Screwtape Letters (Harper, 2001: ISBN 0060652934).

Second semester: 
Mere Christianity (Harper, 2001: ISBN 0060652926), The Abolition of Man (Harper, 2001: ISBN 0060652942), the Great Divorce (Harper, 2001: ISBN 0060652950) and the Weight of  Glory (Harper, 2001: ISBN 0060653205)These books may be examined and/or purchased  online for a discount of 20-30%.  Simply click on the blue title above for a direct link to Amazon.com.   

Course Requirements

Weekly Reading Quizzes

Students are responsible to keep track of the reading and homework schedule which is posted in each tutorial’s atrium, and to be prepared for a short quiz which will cover that week’s assignment. The quiz will usually consist of about ten Multiple Choice questions which the tutor will post on the Chat Screen, one at a time. The quiz will be given in a "game show" format, with the instructor keeping track of the students who are first to type in the correct answers.   Students are requested to select the best answer (A, B, C, D) and to send it back to the tutor, via Private Chat. The tutor keeps track of the results, and will usually announce each week’s top three winners ("Gold, Silver, Bronze"). The quiz results will not be included in the student’s final grade. However, the quiz is important the two reasons: 1) to alert the tutor to each student’s comprehension and progress; and 2) to keep students motivated and accountable for their weekly reading assignments. In addition, the competitive "game format" adds a dimension of excitement and camaraderie.

Weekly SAT and AP Quizzes

In addition to the weekly reading quizzes students should also be prepared for a weekly quiz over each week’s SAT vocabulary and AP literary terms. All literature students (C. S. Lewis, GBT 1, GBT 2, GBT 3, J. R. R. Tolkien), as well as the Logic and Rhetoric students, are expected to keep track of the assigned SAT vocabulary and AP literacy (terms and authors). Students should have received copies of these lists via email from the tutor. The SAT vocabulary and AP literary terms are also posted on the website in the AP/SAT Atrium: http://www.oxfordtutorials.com/APSATAtrium.htm
  As with the weekly reading quizzes, the results will not be including in the grades. However, these quizzes are important for two reasons: 1) to assist students in expanding their vocabularies for their own enrichment and understanding; 2) to prepare students for the SAT exam (typically the single most important factor in college admissions).

Major Assignments: First & Second Semester

Most of the tutorials will also include four or five major assignments. The DUE DATES for these assignments are posted near the top of the homepage of
www.oxfordtutorials.com at the following link: http://www.oxfordtutorials.com/OxfordAssignmentSchedule.htm

Here are the assignments:

1. Midterm Exam: This exam will be scheduled in the middle of the first semester. It will cover the reading during the first half of the semester (comprehension), as well as material presented by the tutor in class (commentary) and the AP literary terms A-G (definitions). Students will be expected to be familiar with the themes and literary devices which are expressed in the reading (examples).

2. Semester Exam: This exam will be scheduled at the end of the first semester. It will involve the same components as the midterm, but it will include the reading for the second half of the semester, and all of the AP literary terms (A-Z). Students will be expected to be familiar with the themes and literary devices which have expressed in the reading thus far (examples).

3. Book Reviews:  This year each of the literature classes will require two formal book reviews.  The books and the due dates are listed at the top of the Oxford home page under “Assignments & Due Dates:”  http://www.oxfordtutorials.com/Oxford%20Assignment%20Schedule.htm  A book review is distinct type of essay.  Its purpose is to introduce an audience to a new or unfamiliar book.  Its method is to combine elements of an expository essay (briefly explaining the setting, main characters, plot), a persuasive essay (making judgments about the quality and importance of the book and sharing your reactions to it), and an analytical essay (evaluating the author’s purpose and success).  This assignment requires students to use the “Five Paragraph Essay” format, in a length of 250-400 words.    The first part of the assignment will require students to prepare a rough draft of their book review.  The rough draft must include the following elements: 1) a “hook;” 2) a “thesis statement”; 3) an introductory paragraph; and 4) a list of three main points (for the middle paragraphs).  For an introduction to, explanation for, and examples of a Five Paragraph Essay, please visit the AP/SAT Atrium: http://www.oxfordtutorials.com/Five%20Paragraph%20Essay%20Format.htm

4. Final Exam: Students should also be prepared for a Final Exam during the final week of class.  It is up to the tutor whether to make this exam a “Take-Home” or “In-Class” format.  The “Take-Home” exam will be sent to students the week before.  They will be allowed to pick their own time to do the exam, before the final class.  The “In-Class” format will require students to complete the exam during the final class session.  The exam may include reading comprehension questions as well as material presented by the tutor in class (commentary) and the AP literary terms A-G (definitions).  Students will be expected to be familiar with the themes and literary devices which have been expressed in the reading (examples) for that class.

Guidelines for Writing a Book Review on Fiction:

You have read your book. Your next step will be to organize what you are going to say about it in your report. Writing the main points in an outline will help you to organize your thoughts. What will you include in the outline? Start with a description of the book. The description should include such elements as:

1. The setting--where does the story take place? Is it a real place or an imaginary one? If the author does not tell you exactly where the story is set, what can you tell about it from the way it is described?

2. The time period--is the story set in the present day or in an earlier time period? Perhaps it is even set in the future! Let your reader know.

3. The main character(s)--who is the story mostly about? Give a brief description. Often, one character can be singled out as the main character, but some books will have more than one. When there are several main characters, you are free to focus on one which is of particular interest to you.

4. The plot--what happens to the main character? WARNING! Be careful here. Do not fall into the boring trap of reporting every single thing that happens in the story. Pick only the most important events. Here are some hints on how to do that. First, explain the situation of the main character as the story opens. Next, identify the basic plot element of the story--is the main character trying to achieve something or overcome a particular problem? Thirdly, describe a few of the more important things that happen to the main character as he/she works toward that goal or solution. Finally, you might hint at the story's conclusion without completely giving away the ending.

5. The conclusion-- The four points above deal with the report aspect of your work. For the final section of your outline, give your reader a sense of the impression the book made upon you. Ask yourself what the author was trying to achieve and whether or not he achieved it with you. What larger idea does the story illustrate? How does it do that? How did you feel about the author's style of writing, the setting, or the mood of the novel. You do not have to limit yourself to these areas. Pick something which caught your attention, and let your reader know your personal response to whatever it was.

Adapted from the Lakewood Public Library Online: Lakewood, Ohio: http://www.lkwdpl.org/

5. Final Exam: Students should also be prepared for a Final Exam during the final week of class. It is up to the tutor whether to make this exam a "Take-Home" or "In-Class" format. The "Take-Home" exam will be sent to students the week before. They will be allowed to pick their own time to do the exam, before the final class. The "In-Class" format will require students to complete the exam during the final class session. The exam may include reading comprehension questions as well as material presented by the tutor in class (commentary) and the AP literary terms A-G (definitions). Students will be expected to be familiar with the themes and literary devices which have been expressed in the reading (examples) for that class.

Lewis Links on the Internet

1. Into the Wardrobe:  http://cslewis.drzeus.net/  (many pictures, photos & illustrations)  
2. C. S. Lewis: 20th-Century Christian Knight:  http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ26.HTM (many Lewis links)
3. The Bible & C.S. Lewis: http://members.aol.com/thompsonja/cslewis.htm (study guide)
4. C. S. Lewis & the Inklings: http://personal.bgsu.edu/~edwards/lewis.html (Prof. Edwards: study resources)
5. C. S. Lewis Institute: http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/ (Christian apologetics; conferences)
6. Map of Narnia: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&q=Map+of+Narnia (clear, simplified)
7. Links to Literature: C.S. Lewis: http://www.linkstoliterature.com/lewis.htm (maps & general resources)
8. Narnia Pictures: http://home8.swipnet.se/~w-81573/Narniapics.htm (maps & color illustrations)
9. C.S. Lewis & Public Issues: http://www.discovery.org/lewis/
10. The Trafalgar Lions:
(For more information on the Trafalgar Lions, see below: "The Lions of Trafalgar Square.")

Introduction to C.S. Lewis

Imagine having “Clive” as your first name and “Staples” as your middle name.  C.S. Lewis didn’t like it any better than you would.  His friends called him “Jack.”  He was born in Belfast, Ireland on Nov. 29, 1898.  He died 65 years later on November 22, 1963—the same day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

As early as six years of age Jack experienced something which eventually led him to Jesus.  He later called it Sehnsucht, a deep longing for something unknown, an unknown country, an unknown joy.  For the next twenty-five years (until he was 31) Lewis tried to satisfy that deep longing—and failed.

When his mother died of cancer he was only ten.  His father sent Jack and his older brother away to a strict boarding school.  Jack was angry at God and had no interest in prayer after his mother died.   In fact, he said, I found within myself a “deep seated wish that God didn’t exist,” a wish to be left alone (Nicholi, 46).  I had about as much interest in searching for God as a mouse has in searching for the cut! (Images, 20).   “I had as little wish to be in the church as (an animal) in the zoo” (Nicholi, 81).

As he grew older, Jack’s atheism increased.  When he was fifteen a friend asked him what he thought about God.  Lewis wrote back and ridiculed his friend for caring about such a silly superstition.  “Religion is nothing more than an invention,” Lewis said.  “Primitives made up religion out of their ignorant fears of thunder and such things (Images, p. 16).

As a student at Oxford University, Lewis quickly distinguished himself as a brilliant scholar.  He won what is called a “triple first,” the highest honors in three academic fields—in addition to other honors and prizes.  After a year tutoring at University College, Lewis was elected to a full-time position at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1925.  Lewis was surprised to discover that his favorite colleagues at Oxford turned out to be Christians.  One of those Christians was J.R.R. Tolkien.  Tolkien not only became one of Jack’s best friends, but his influence helped Lewis to become a Christian.

There were other influences too, like reading the works of George MacDonald and G.K. Chesterton.  But in a letter to his friend Arthur Greeves, Lewis wrote that “the immediate human causes of my conversion” were the friendship and testimony of his Christian colleagues at Oxford, Hugo Dyson and J.R.R. Tolkien. (Nicholi, 91). 

Lewis later said that reading George MacDonald “baptized my imagination,” and reading G. K. Chesterton helped me to accept “the Incarnation”—the belief that the God who makes men Himself became a man (Nicholi, 83,89).  But it was in the friendship of Tolkien which led Lewis to put his trust in Christ.  On a September evening in 1931 Lewis invited Dyson and Tolkien to dinner.  After dinner they strolled through the gardens of Oxford, talking late into the night.  Tolkien didn’t excuse himself until 3:00 in the morning.  12 days later Lewis told his friend: “I have just passed on…to definitely believing in Christ…My long night talk with Dyson and Tolkien had a good deal to do with it.”  And later Lewis wrote: “Dyson and Tolkien were the immediate human causes of my conversion” (Nicholi, 91).

Lewis compared his conversion to waking up from a sleep, “a long sleep” (Nicholi, 92).  He became aware that his blindness to God had been a “willful blindness” (Nicholi, 91).  He had resisted God because he wanted to be his own lord.  But he also realized that Jesus was the deepest Joy for which he had been longing since he was a boy.  After his surrender to Christ he experienced a peace and delight he had never known before.  He told a friend that the skies seemed bluer and the grass seemed greener and he said: “Everything seems to be beginning again” (Images, 22).

Lewis went on to become the greatest defender of the Christian faith in the 20th century.  In a cover article in Time magazine in September 8, 1947, Lewis was described as the most influential spokesperson for the spiritual worldview in the world.   In addition to his distinguished career teaching at Oxford (1924-1954) and Cambridge (1955-1963), and writing professionally, Lewis also wrote dozens of books and essays, works both of fiction and non-fiction, presenting and defending a Biblical worldview.  His ideas continue to arouse and capture the hearts and minds of millions.  For 25 years the most popular course at Harvard University has been a course by Dr.  Armand Nicholi comparing the atheistic viewpoint of Sigmund Freud with the Christian worldview of C. S. Lewis.   Lewis believed that we are strangers and aliens in this world and that our true country is Heaven: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (Mere Christianity 3.10). 

The Lions of Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is London’s most famous square, sitting in the heart of the city at the intersection of four famous roads.  It was built from 1829-1841 to commemorate England’s naval victory over Napoleon in 1805 under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson.  Four huge bronze lions were added to the base of Lord Nelson’s column by Edwin Landseer, a famous artist, in 1868.  The faces of the lions are majestic and grand.  C.S. Lewis rooted his image of Aslan in the Trafalgar lions in this passage from Chapter 2 of The Silver Chair, “Jill Is Given a Task,” where Jill meets Aslan for the first time:  “… just this side of the stream lay the lion.  It lay with its head raised and its two forepaws out in front of it, like the lions in Trafalgar Square” (p. 19).

Trafalgar Lion Picture Links on the Internet