The Screwtape Letters Chapter 13: Summary & Quotes

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In chapter thirteen of ''The Screwtape Letters'', Wormwood has messed up again! This lesson will take us through the recovery plan when a patient returns to the Enemy camp.


Uncle Screwtape is not happy that Wormwood has allowed his patient to repent and realign himself with the Enemy. Repent means to regret sin. In chapter thirteen of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape does not hold back as he lets Wormwood know exactly where he screwed up and what he needs to do now to keep it from getting any worse. If Wormwood doesn't fix this, the consequences are likely to be severe.

The Screwtape Letters
Book Cove


Things seemed to be going so well for Wormwood. What happened? Inexperienced Wormwood got lazy on the job and let his patient experience two healthy pleasures. Screwtape bluntly states to Wormwood that 'The long and the short of it is that you have let the man slip through your fingers.'

The patient read a book purely for enjoyment with no ulterior motives such as making it a conversation starter with his new friends. Then, he walked through the country and had some tea. These are both things that the patient sincerely enjoys, thereby, making his shallow, unhealthy pleasures pale by comparison. When Wormwood's entire strategy was wrapped up in detaching the patient from reality, why would he be so stupid as to let it come undone?


The Enemy also enjoys detaching the patient, but in a different way. While a tempter will detach the patient from himself and his relationship with God, God only wants to temporarily detach man from obstinacy. Once that has been done, God restores the distinct personality of each of his followers. '…When they are wholly His they will be more themselves than ever,' writes Screwtape.

Screwtape always makes a point with any patient to separate him from anything his patient loves unless it is a sin. Otherwise, the things the patient enjoys may defend him against temptations.

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