A Defence of C.S. Lewis...or a brief attempt at such
Some thoughts recently crossed my mind
no doubt on their way down-town to relax
in regards to arguments one could offer as a defence of the Christian side of this novel. The main arguments against this novel as a 'Christian allegory' that I have heard are: 1)Aslan is not a strong Christ-figure 2)That C.S. Lewis 'preaches' a black and white morality. So I'm going to roughly address them from my perspective and hope it encourages some discussion.
1) I will agree that Aslan is not a strong Christ-figure. Firstly for Aslan to really represent Christ he would have to be true to the gospel story. In other words he would have to be god made into man come to die for all mankind. However as he only dies for the one traitor again it's not sticking true to the Biblical gospel that all have sinned and that Christ was needed as a sacrifice for that sin. If you take things too literally here, C.S. Lewis' novel doesn't make much that much sense theologically as a result. I'll explain where I am/was going with that in a moment.
2) I debate that C.S. Lewis preaches in his novel. Occasionally he can be a touch patronising but compared to many authors he rarely slips into such condescension. As for his morality I think you must understand it from the perspective of Christianity. Christianity is about black and white morality essentially: good versus evil, light vs. dark and truth vs. lies etc. It is also very grey in that Christianity is about life and the fact that no one is perfect, that everyone fits into that moral grey area. Of course I explain roughly and inadequately.
Ultimately I see that there is room to argue that C.S. Lewis does a poor job of writing an allegorical novel. However I see it as a very subtle novel that unlike others (for instance The Alchemist) does not build its story around expressing an ideology but rather incorporates an ideology into its storytelling. I think that if one wants to criticise this novel it should be for not properly showing the gospel rather than for 'preaching'. I know that I and many others enjoyed the story first before seeing the connection between it and the Biblical tales. I enjoyed it even more afterwards so, then again I could be a tad biased.Original Review
To begin I must note that I grant this such a high rating due to the impact it had on my life. It to me is one novel that were I to pick the one novel that forged a love of books for me it would be The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Why? Because I can remember back about twelve years ago when I was homeschooled by my mother as a five year old. We wandered down during winter into the warm back room and she read the first Narnia book to us. The image of a red faun carrying parcels as he passed a growing lamppost would stick with me from that moment (as it stuck with C.S. Lewis). As I learned to read the Narnia books were the first novels I sunk my growing reading teeth into. And to this day I have read and re read the novels back to front (and maybe front to back).
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is a novel written for both children and adults. It contains highly allegorical elements as C.S.Lewis was a well-known apologetics writer. However he wrote that he did not write his novel as a pure allegory but as a story. And that is what The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is, a story to be enjoyed by everyone. And although written in simple language the reader can quickly, concisely and easily imagine the world without the clumsy constraints of overused words. I personally cannot imagine a world without these novels.
1. Just a question at last. And one with a highly philosophical twist to it. Why is it that people so readily condemn those books which are considered as moral tales? You'd think we could do with more morality in such a twisted and confused world regardless of accepting the belief systems.
2. I have heard many people describe the entire series as silly and far too preachy. I do not see it that way at all. Trust me if C.S.Lewis wanted to be preachy he would have written a lot more philosophy and less story. Yes I can see how some would call this silly but then I argue that they are missing the point. It's a fairytale type fantasy intended mainly for children (and for those children again as adults or for their parents perhaps). But I argue that as Lewis only wrote this story based on the story of the crucifixion in many ways that it was not intended as a preachy book. My question is that why is it that if I were to base a story along what some call the 'Christian myth' it is claimed as preaching while as if I were to base it on any other mythology or story it would be deemed as merely copying the themes of another mythology? Is this yet another example of doublethink?*
*See [b:1984|5470|1984|George Orwell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348990566s/5470.jpg|153313] (yes go and read it - you'll get what I mean)