.. ering quotes of those who support the Christianity found in The Chronicles and its use in the secular classroom. In an article found in The Horn Book Magazine, Lillian H. Smith feels Lewis is successful at entertaining children because of his strong talents as a “picturemaker” (Martin 4). Martin also demonstrates the success of presenting Christian ethics in the secular classroom, but she reminds us that due to the way the world is going, this is the most success we may receive from the books when used in the secular classroom (7).
This is partially due to the fact that teachers are not allowed to talk about Christianity in the secular classroom. English professor Dr. Corbin Scott Cornell admitted that none of his students recognized any of the Christian symbolism as children, but they did receive the lessons of Christian ethics (Martin 7). Although the readers may not notice the symbolism as a child, they will learn from the ethics of The Chronicles of Narnia, grow in character, and therefore be more accepting of the Gospel. While using psychoanalysis to critique The Chronicles of Narnia, David Holbrook offers his views of symbolism found in Lewis books. But in order to apply psychoanalysis and phenomenology, he admits he must “put the Christianity in brackets” (27).Holbrook is therefore saying that he will ignore ideas of Christianity that come to mind in reading The Chronicles. He writes about the metaphors involved in the different volumes of The Chronicles, and uses the symbolism of the objects listed in the title of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as an example.
Traveling through the wardrobe, one of the passageways into Narnia, is symbolic of “going through the mothers body” (Holbrook 27). He gives reference to the White Witch as being Digory Kirkes mother who has passed away and can now be found bewitching the world of Narnia (Holbrook 27). Another metaphor that he uses is in describing Aslan as the substitute for a persons lost relative (Holbrook 30).It is important to realize that in order to analyze The Chronicles of Narnia in this way, one must ignore the Christian ideas that can be found in the books. Holbrook feels that Lewis uses a tone of “authoritarian insistence” in his books, “often he implies that if you do not accept his kind of religion something terrible will happen to you” (272). Holbrook is reading too far into The Chronicles of Narnia and needs to take a step back and look at it as a fictional childrens story. It is difficult to understand how he can find such bizarre symbolism in the books.
C.S. Lewis has a strong respect and love for children.
He feels there is a need to speak with children as if they are his equals and not as if they are beneath him (Schakel 134). Lewis has a deep respect for all of his readers and he would take at least an hour almost every day to respond to the letters he had received from his audience (Dorsett 3). Many children had a long correspondence with Lewis, and “as their pen relationship deepened,” he discussed “a variety of matters” with the children including the books about Narnia, the art of writing, and the spiritual symbolism in the books (Dorsett 5). He corresponded with some families and children for many years.Having a sincere care for his readers, both adults and children, he voiced this care many times as he repeatedly wrote to his fans. He talked with them as if they were his friends, discussing his next book and asking their opinions as to his writing techniques.
He felt answering the letters written to him by his fans was a “God-given duty” and he enjoyed it immensely (Dorsett 4). In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the fifth book of the series, Aslan tells the children that although they must return to their own world, they can find him there also (Hooper 123). Aslan says, “There I have another name.You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there” (Hooper 123). Some of Lewis readers wonder what the significance of this statement is and begin to search for Aslan here on earth. Hila, an eleven year old girl from the United States asked Lewis what Aslans name is in this world (Dorsett 31-32).
His response was this: As to Aslans other name, well I want you to guess.Has there never been anyone in this world who (1.) Arrived at the same time as Father Christmas.
(2.) Said he was the son of the great Emperor. (3.) gave himself up for someone elses fault to be jeered at and killed by wicked people. (4.) Came to life again. (5.) Is sometimes spoken of as a Lamb.
Dont you really know His name in this world. Think it over and let me know your answer! (Dorsett 32) When Lewis readers find Aslan in the real world, they will find out that his true name is Jesus Christ. And when this occurs, Lewis is successful at opening a persons heart to accepting Christianity. C. S.
Lewis can be credited with writing some of the most well-known books on Christian apologetics and also writing fictional books that are appealing to both Christians and non-Christians.Although there are many different views as to whether Lewis should use fairy tales to share the Gospel, it is evident that he is successful in doing so because of his strengths as a good entertainer. Works Cited Dorsett, Lyle W. and Marjorie Lamp Mead, eds. C. S.
Lewis Letters to Children.New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1985. Holbrook, David. The Skeleton in the Wardrobe: C.
S. Lewiss Fantasies: A Phenomenological Study.Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1991. Hooper, Walter. Past Watchful Dragons: The Narnian Chronicles of C.
S. Lewis. New York: Collier Books, 1979.
Lewis, C. S. Of This and Other Worlds. Ed. Walter Hooper. St.
James Place, London: Collins, 1982.Martin, Holly Bigelow. “C. S.
Lewis in the Secular Classroom.” The Bulletin of the New York C. S.Lewis Society 22.4 (1991): 1-7. Schakel, Peter J. Reading with the Heart: The Way Into Narnia.
Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979.