The Long Path to Christianity in Surprised by Joy

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The Long Path to Christianity in Surprised by Joy Surprised by Joy is essentially an account of those factors that brought Lewis to a mature, adult Christian faith. Lewis begins his work with an overview of the Lewis household and his early schooling. “The reality Lewis found on the pages of his parents' extensive library seems as tangible and meaningful to him as anything that occurred in the "outside" world” (Hannay 41). Lewis depicts himself and brother, William, as absolute confidants who share their deepest longings and secrets--all in the security of their parents' home. The tranquility and sanctity of the Lewis home is shattered by the death of his mother; the rest of his saga becomes the melancholy search for the security he had took granted during the peace and grace of childhood. It is this theme, the longing for a restoration of the joy he experienced as a boy, that permeates Surprised by Joy. “By "joy," Lewis meant not mere pleasure but the sublime experience of the transcendent, the glimpse of the eternal that is only fleetingly available in earthly loves and aesthetics” (Griffin 13). It is, for Lewis, only finally received in heavenly glory at the consummation of the age, a joy to be found in the Creator who himself invented both world and word, person and personality. It is He alone who redeems his fallen creation and provide them joy. From his earliest intimations of this joy, Lewis depicts himself in Surprised by Joy as precociously oriented toward the metaphysical and ultimate questions. Lewis turns first to the written word as an outlet for this ongoing search, creating at age eight the land of Boxen, a world populated by dressed, talking animals, the precursor of what would someday be re... ... middle of paper ... ... wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. . . . God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous. From Lewis's perspective, the "joy" he had so long sought had been discovered in the least likely place within the least likely circumstances. Few Oxford professors of medieval and renaissance literature become ardent, vocal, internationally-known promoters of religious faith. Lewis's personal account of this highly unusual occurrence thus makes Surprised by Joy compelling reading for both the believer and nonbeliever alike. Works Cited and Consulted Lindskoog, Kathryn. C. S. Lewis: Mere Christian, 1988 Hannay, Margaret. C. S. Lewis, 1981 Roger L. Green and Walter Hooper, C. S. Lewis: A Biography, 1974 Griffin, William. C. S. Lewis; A Dramatic Life, 1986 Como, James. C. S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table, 1979

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