Re: [mythsoc] Philip Pullman article
- In a message dated 3/6/01 8:22:28 AM Central Standard Time,
> I'm afraid it would take an awful lot of "mental gymnastics" (as my debateHe is a Christ figure, of course. But Lewis said that the Lion was not meant
> 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.
to "stand for Christ-in-this-world" but rather to say "IF Christ were
incarnate in another world, what might happen there?" Sorry, I can't find
the passage at the moment; but here is another one:
"Some people seem to think that I began by asking myself how I could say
something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an
instrument; then collected information about child-psychology and decided
what age-group I'd write for; then drew up a list of basic Christian truths
and hammered out 'allegories' to embody them. This is all pure moonshine. I
couldn't write in that way at all. Everything began with images; a faun
carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion. At first
there wasn't even anything Christian about them; that element pushed itself
in of its own accord. It was part of the bubbling."
-- "Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to be Said" - collected in
One of the pitfalls of "straight allegory" might be illustrated by my son,
about seven at the time, who was having the stories read to him. He
realized one day, on his own, Who Aslan was, which we confirmed, then came to
me another day inquiring seriously, "If Aslan is Jesus, is Reepicheep John
the Baptist?" (hoo ha!)
As for the idea of reading the stories with "parental guidance about
bullying," it just depresses me exceedingly. But then I am an old f*rt and
I'd expect a child hearing the stories to love Reepicheep, and not to be
particularly interested in "Justice for Harold and Alberta!" ... Need to
re-read to be sure, but wouldn't it be true to say that Eustace's chief
problem was =selfishness=, not priggishness - it's the selfishness which
requires his de-dragoning? Though there's no question that Eustace starts
out as a prig; but the priggishness is presented chiefly for amusement ("This
is a merry shipmate you've brought us, Cousin!" says Caspian - or similar
Consider, though, the humility w/which Edmund tells him, "I did worse."
But there's no question that one could dissect the whole book for instances
of people who think they have the right to administer correction, and do it.
(think of the Magician and the Dufflepuds, of Reepicheep spanking Eustace, of
Caspian's actions upon arriving in the Lone Islands) If you object to that
and think it "bullying," then I suppose you =are= going to find Lewis
dangerous, "vile," and incorrect... That's a metaphorical and general
"you," Trudy, not a personal reflection.
- 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.