The Screwtape Letters

by: C.S. Lewis

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 1

“Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anti-climax which is certainly coming to the Patient during his first few weeks as a churchman… In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing.”

This quotation occurs in the second letter, just after the Patient has converted to Christianity. C.S. Lewis invites readers to see the disappointment that accompanies the major resolutions in their lives as a result of Hell’s influence. This disappointment should not be taken as a sign that one has made a poor decision or a foolish resolution. On the contrary, because Screwtape insists that this particular kind of disappointment exists in “every department” of life, it should be taken as a sign that one has made a positive resolution and a reminder to get started on the hard work, or “laborious doing,” necessary to turn an idea for change into reality. These words serve as a warning to the would-be Christian. Being a Christian is not just a “dreaming aspiration” or an idle thought. It is a day-to-day task. Using Screwtape as his mouthpiece, Lewis establishes himself as a spiritual advisor for Christians willing to undertake the hard work of living just and moral lives.