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19243Re: [mythsoc] Re: Lucy, Galadriel, and Temptation

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  • alexeik@aol.com
    Dec 13, 2007
      -----Original Message-----
      From: John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...>
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 1:29 am
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Lucy, Galadriel, and Temptation

      On Dec 10, 2007, at 2:58 PM, Lynn Maudlin wrote:
      > Lewis was trying to make Aslan as much like Jesus as he could imagine

      Well, all I can say is that for me he failed utterly. I can only
      read the books if I 'suspend disbelief' and treat Aslan as a purely
      fictional character, like Manwe or Mana-Yood-Sushai or Koshchei the
      Deathless (i.e., as god, not God).
      I suspect others have the reverse problem with Pullman; they read
      his fantasy as if he were writing a realistic novel about our world,
      and react accordingly.

      Are they entirely unjustified in this, though? Not all of Pullman's story takes place in a fantasy world: parts of it are anchored in the primary world as well (or a world so similar to ours that its precise identity?makes no difference), and in those parts it does try to convince the reader directly about issues in the primary world. My impression has been that the aspect of the story that offends Christian readers most?is not so much the "death of God" theme as the subplot involving Dr. Mary Malone, the ex-nun-turned-scientist who jettisons both her religious vocation and her faith in general as a result of tasting marzipan. If this took place entirely in a fantasy setting, it could be taken as a clever reversal of the "Turkish delight" theme in _LWW_, and appreciated on the same?level, mythopoeically. But Pullman clearly presents it as his own judgment on Christianity in our world -- a judgment he wants his readers to share. In the process he shows himself incapable of imagining what a religious vocation would feel like (a serious lack in an imaginative writer), and also suggests that he has an extraordinarily shallow?understanding of this-worldly Christianity, seeing it as having no spiritual dimension beyond a simple denial of the body and its pleasures. Whether one agrees with him or not, it turns his story into a primary-world polemic rather than a mythopoeic statement. This is what terminally ruined _The Amber Spyglass_ for me, although I really enjoyed?most of the two previous books.



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