Chapter 4 - Friendship Pt.1
Chapter 4 - Friendship Pt.1 E-mail

The Four Loves

Chapter 4 - Friendship, Pt. 1

C.S. Lewis was well positioned to write on friendship.  Because of his mother's death, his emotionally-distant father, and many years of boarding school, storge (familial affection) did not feature prominently in his experience.  Eros entered his life late with Joy Davidman, and even that relationship began as philia or friendship.

Lewis talked about his friendships in Surprised by Joy, including his childhood friend, Arthur Greeves, and his longtime Oxford friend, Owen Barfield.  Then there were the men who made up the Inklings: Charles Williams, JRR Tolkien, and, of course, his brother and close friend Major Warren Lewis. 

Believing it was overlooked in modern society, Lewis felt the need to champion friendship in his writing. 

  • 1. Contrast the way in which the ancient and modern worlds view friendship.

  • 2. What separates friendship from the other loves?

    3. How does Lewis respond to the theory that every same-sex friendship is really homosexual in nature?

    4. List some of the contrasts between lovers and friends.

    5. Why is two not the best number for friends? (Note: the "Charles" to whom Lewis refers is Charles Williams, an inkling member who died in 1945. "Ronald" refers to JRR Tolkien.)

    6. What is the matrix of friendship? According to Lewis, how does friendship develop from this?

    7. Lewis states, "the very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends." Do you agree/disagree?

    8. How does a friend differ from an ally?

    9. How do friends learn details about one another? How do they learn to appreciate each other's qualities?

    10. Describe what Lewis calls the "golden sessions" among friends. Have you experienced something similar?

[For this session, stop at the end of the "golden sessions" paragraph, approximately mid-way through the chapter.]


In Memoriam:  long poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson in which he laments his friend Hallem who died at a young age

Lamb: refers to Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist and poet.  Lamb's observation on how the loss of one friend affects relationships with surviving friends comes from a March 20, 1822 letter to Wordsworth.

Bona Dea:  Roman fertility goddess who presided over virginity and fertility in women; only women were permitted to attend her secret rites

Tractarianism:  synonymous with the Oxford Movement led by a group of high church Anglicans, mostly from Oxford University, who were concerned about the secularism and liberalism creeping into the church.  They advocated a return to piety and the traditions of the church.  John Henry Newman published a series of pamphlets between 1833 and 1841 called "Tracts for our Times," which gave rise to the name Tractarianism.

© 2008 by Allyson Wieland