Prudence: Rhoop learns that he needs to guard his dreams—because dreams can also be nightmares.

Temperance: Eustace becomes a dragon after stealing and hoarding a treasure that does not belong to him.

Fortitude: Rheepicheek has the courage to voyage into the darkness when everyone wants to turn back. And, Lucy faces the darkness by turning to prayer.

Justice: Lucy shares her cordial with Eustace to cure him from seasickness—even when he is being nasty and mean to everyone.

These are just a few examples of how you might find, apply and discuss the Cardinal Virtues. Then, as a celebration of your Advent voyage and the miracle of Christmas, you and your family might go to watch The Voyage of the Dawn Treader come to life on the big screen.

Leading our families to find the moral fabric of stories gives them a different and needed type of seeing that is often absent from society. By teaching them the value of virtue, we dress them in the armor of Christ. I can't think of a better family gift for Christmas!


More applications of these virtues to Lewis' life, our own lives, detailed explanations, and guided discussions of these virtues can be found in my book Finding Purpose in Narnia: A Voyage on the Dawn Treader (Nimble Books, December 2010). To reflect on the Theological Virtues, you might also find my book Finding Purpose in Narnia: A Journey with Prince Caspian (Paulist Press, 2008) helpful.


Gina Burkart is the Reading and Learning Coordinator at the University of Northern Iowa where she also teaches English courses in the Department of English Language and Literature. She has a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, literacy studies. Her recent publications include Finding Purpose in Narnia: A Voyage on the Dawn Treader (Nimble Books, 2010), Finding Purpose in Narnia (Paulist Press, 2008.) and A Parent's Guide to Harry Potter (InterVarsity, 2005). She has presented at numerous conferences and been interviewed nationwide by media networks. She is also a featured About.com writer on the topic of Christian teens.