The Screwtape Letters Chapter 7: 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 seven of the C.S. Lewis novel, The Screwtape Letters, Uncle Screwtape discusses whether being a pacifist or a patriot will be a better choice for the patient during the war in Europe.


At this point in the story, we have learned that Wormwood, a junior tempter for the Underworld, is learning to effectively earn souls for the Underworld through a series of letters from his uncle, Screwtape, who possesses a great deal of knowledge in this area.

During the seventh chapter of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Wormwood has some questions for his uncle. Should he reveal himself to his client? And if so, how? Fortunately, Screwtape is an experienced tempter that can guide him to make the right decisions about whether to make the patient a pacifist or a patriot. Which would you choose?

The Screwtape Letters
Book Cover


How important is it for Wormwood's patient to be in the dark about Wormwood's existence? Since the High Command has made this ruling, there is no option. Wormwood may not reveal himself to his client, but there are less direct, yet effective, ways to get results.

Screwtape places hope that the advancement of the 'Life Force' will allow humans to believe in them while simultaneously denying the existence of spirits in the Enemy camp. Life Force refers to forms of New Age spirituality that rely on the use and manipulation of energy fields. If the devil didn't know better, he might worship the life force himself!

Patriotism Vs. Pacifism

Whether the client becomes a patriot or a pacifist does not matter as much as making sure that he goes to the extreme in one or the other, and does not become extreme in his relationship with the Enemy. For many, pacifism may be the answer, as the patient will find himself shunned by others in society, drawing him closer to his small group and away from the Church.

However, if he is a person of courage who believes his pacifism is part of his service to God, it would be better to convert him to patriotism. Do you know anyone who goes to extremes with their political beliefs?

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