ENGB35 March 18, 2013
Blending of Romantic and Moral ICR
Lewis doesn‘t write with the Puritan framework of children
Trilemma: Christ is mad, bad, or God.
―He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or
terrifying it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.‖ (Lewis,
Edmund‘s faults - Demonstrates many of the Deadly Sins
o Turkish delight – exoticism. The British colonialist fear that people will be
taken away by foreign countries and lose their British identities.
o Puritan discourse
o Jealous of his brother – wanted his brother beneath him when Edmund
o Always paranoid that his siblings are picking on him/better than him.
o Still, this is kind of justified – there is the idea of ‗first born‘ inheritance in
o Aristocratic discourse
Edmund is not actually innately evil – he is a social/environmental child =
affected by the world around him.
―[W]hich is the right side? How do we know the Fauns are in the right and the Queen
(yes, I know we‘ve been told she‘s a witch) is in the wrong? We don‘t really know
anything about either.‖
―The Faun saved Lucy.‖
―He said that he did. But how do we know?‖
―I think it‘s a nice beaver,‖ said Lucy.
―Yes, but how do we know,‖ said Edmund
Skeptical doubt or guilty doubt? ENGB35 March 18, 2013
―He would have to admit that Lucy had been right, before all the others, and he felt sure
the others would all be on the side of the Fauns and the animals; but he was already
more than half on the side of the Witch.‖
Breakdown between Edmund‘s thoughts and the narration
Edmund does know, deep down, that the Queen is a Witch
The problem of allegory
―Allegory in C.S. Lewis‘ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: a Window to the Gospel
of John‖ (Deborah Higgens)
―Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia as a modern allegory of Christ‘s triumph over sin
and death through his crucifixion and resurrection‖ (J. Warren Smith)
―In the allegory of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan represents Christ‖
―The main story is an allegory of Christ‘s crucifixion‖ (Wikipedia)
―an extended metaphor in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative…
are equated with meanings that lie outside the narrative itself‖ (Harmon and
Holman, Handbook to Literature)
o One-to-one correspondence
o Meaning lies outside story
So what if Narnia is allegory?
Aslan = Christ; Emperor = God; Witch = Satan; Deep Magic (Old Testament) vs
Deeper Magic (New Testament)
But what about Edmund? What about Father Christmas?
o Seriously, there is no way Father Christmas is an allegory of anything
Aslan as lion
―I found the name in the notes to Lane‘s Arabian Nights: it is Turkish for Lion. I
pronounce it Ass-lan myself. And of course I meant the Lion of Judah‖ (Lewis)
―The moral force of the Christian story is that the lions are all on the other side. If
we had, say, a donkey, a seemingly uninspiring animal from an obscure corner of
Narnia, raised as an uncouth and low-caste beasts of burden, rallying the mice
and rats and weasels and vultures and all the other unclean animals, and then
being killed by the lions in as humiliating a manner as possible – a donkey who ENGB35 March 18, 2013
reemerges, to the shock even of his disciples and devotees, as the king of all
creation – now, that would be an allegory.‖
Does meaning lie outside the book?
And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan
was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spo