Re: [mythsoc] Philip Pullman article
- As a reader of--but not an expert on--Lewis, I'm curious as to what anyone thinks about how these issues affect the Narnia books as children's stories. Specifically, would you consider them "PG," in that some parental guidance might be needed in regard to some of the "attitudes" encountered in the stories (e.g., "sneering," "bullying")?
Also approaching the allegory issue as a reader, rather than through Lewis's protestations one way or the other, the stories appear uneven in the allegory level. Lion/Witch/Wardrobe and, to a lesser extent, Final Battle, seem to me to be "high allegory level"--LWW can be read straight through as an allegory of human redemption--where the other books seem to at least have independent story lines (although allegorical elements such as Aslan certainly make appearances).
I'm afraid it would take an awful lot of "mental gymnastics" (as my debate coach used to say) for me to come up with a logical argument that Aslan, at least, is _not_ allegorical. Line him up against the reams of discussion that have been produced regarding possible Christ figures in LotR, and I believe there's a clear case of allegory vs. applicability. [I'm admittedly a Tolkien partisan, but in this instance I think I'm being fairly rational.]
----- Original Message -----
From: David S. Bratman
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2001 6:14 PM
Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Philip Pullman article
>> >And all this is to ignore the fact that Lewis' tales are most
>> >(he protests) NOT allegories.
>> Aslan is not an allegory of Christ? Could have fooled me.
>Nope, you need to re-read Lewis' own description of what he was doing and how
>it differed from allegory.
What description is that? The one I remember is the one in which he said
that in LWW he deliberately made Aslan's death and resurrection into a
parallel with Christ's. That sounds like an allegory to me. Many people
feel that Tolkien protested too much when he claimed he detested allegory,
and his work is much farther from an allegory than Lewis's is.
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- In a message dated 3/10/01 12:56:32 PM Eastern Standard Time, Stolzi@...
<< Must today's children be protected from Lewis'
evils? Or should the first chapter be revised to say simply that "Eustace's
parents were rather disagreeable people" - as DR DOOLITTLE has (in my view
rightly) been rewritten in certain parts, as PL Travers rewrote a bothersome
chapter of MARY POPPINS? >>
It's possible to take a middle position. It's possible to think a writer is
good and to agree with him on many things and yet to disagree with him on
others, while not finding it necessary to tell children that they should
ignore certain points in the book. I give all my nieces and nephews a copy
of the Chronicles of Narnia. I agree with much of Lewis said, but I think
that (like anyone else) he was incorrect on a few issues. I don't find it
necessary to include an "errata" list of wrong ideas in Lewis's books (or
anyone else's books I give as presents). I think that my nieces and nephews
are already learning the lesson that they should read a lot of books and
think for themselves about the issues involved.