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Analyzing Lion The Witch And Wardrobe English Literature Essay

3470 words (14 pages) Essay in English Literature

5/12/16 English Literature Reference this

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C.S. Lewis once stated, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else” (Famous Quotes). This quote is the basis on which C.S. Lewis’s life was built. C.S. Lewis lived a special and blessed life. Some key points on where he grew up, what his educational experience consisted of, who his parents were, and what C.S. Lewis did in his adult life.

Clive Staples Lewis, popularly known as C.S. Lewis, was born on November 20, 1898 in Belfast, Ireland now Northern Ireland (Sadler 12). As a child, C.S. Lewis wanted to be called Jack Lewis. He lived in a large gabled house called “little lea” with dark narrow passages and over grown gardens where he and his brother, Warren spent much of time exploring. In the house there was a large library crammed with books. Out of all the books in the library, C.S. Lewis had two favorites, which were Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Fact Monster).

C.S. Lewis had quite a journey on his educational path. His talents for writing were first recognized in high school by his English teacher. After graduating high school, he was accepted at the University College. University College was the oldest college at Oxford University. After two years at University College, he volunteered in World War I to fight in the muddy trenches of Northern France. When he returned from the war, he finished his remaining two years of college and graduated with first-class honors in Greek, Latin, Literature, Philosophy, Ancient History and English Literature. His outstanding educational achievements led him to be elected to an influential teaching post in the English department at Magdalen College, Oxford. He remained at Oxford for twenty-nine more years before he was appointed to Professor of medieval and renaissance literature at Magdalen College, Cambridge in 1955 (Fact Monster).

C.S. Lewis’s family greatly influenced the type of man he became and impacted his foundational beliefs. The death of his mother at an early age greatly impacted the man who he became. Prior to her death, she was the one to inspire him to love and read books. Not only did his mother love to guide C.S. to read, but she had strong mathematical skills that helped her lead and teach C.S. to think deeply. The combination of learning to read and the building of analytical skills helped C.S. Lewis thoroughly evaluate everything he encountered. After the death of his mother, his father had to take over raising C.S. His father’s name was A.J. It was during these years of upbringing that C.S. Lewis’s creative side came out. C.S. started to write and make up stories while he sat in the large wardrobe in his house (“Authors’ Calendar).

At the age of fifty-eight, and after two years at Magdalene College, C.S. Lewis meet his wife, Joy Davidman Gresham. They married in 1956 and started a family. Their family consisted of two boys. Only a short time after they started their family, they found out that Joy had bone cancer. Four years later, she died and left behind C.S. Lewis and their two sons. It was during the time he was raising his sons alone he wrote the book, The Chronicles of Narnia. Only three years after his wife’s death he died in his house, called “the Kilins,” on November 22, 1963. Ten years later, his brother Warren died on April 9, 1973. Their names are put on a single stone bearing the inscription “Men must endure their going hence” (C.S. Lewis Classics).

C.S. Lewis had a rich and rewarding life. God used each stage of C.S. Lewis’s life to mold him into a great Christian author. The strong influences of his early years growing up, his educational journey, and both of his parents helped develop the skills and creativity for witch the world will forever be grateful. C.S. Lewis’s life was certainly lived according to his quote “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else” (Famous Quotes).

Overview/Summary of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia is not just one book, but a series of seven chronicles. These different chronicles bring the magical world of Narnia to life. The world of Narnia is enchanted and filled with great danger and noble adventures. An interesting fact about the seven chronicles is that they can be read in any order and still make sense. Because The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first chronicle that C.S. Lewis published, this paper will show some of the key highlights of this famous chronicle.

In this chronicle, there are two brothers and two sisters. The brothers are Peter and Edmund. The sisters are Susan and Lucy. They are sent away from their home in London because of the dangers of the war. They move to a home of an old professor friend, located far away in the countryside of England. The professor has a housekeeper named Mrs. Macready (Boundaries).

They loved to play hide and seek throughout the large home. One of the places that Lucy hid in was a large wardrobe chest. When she crawled into the wardrobe, she magically entered the enchanted world of Narnia. When she entered Narnia for the first time, she met a talking fawn named Mr. Tumnus. Mr. Tumnus took her to his home and gave her tea and played some music. Lucy became relaxed and fell asleep. When Lucy woke up, he told her that the evil White Witch wanted him to tell her if any humans were in Narnia. He told Lucy that she should go home right away. He shared with her that this evil White Witch would turn people and animals into stone (Boundaries).

Lucy knew she had to get back home. Back at the professor’s home, she told her brothers and sister about her journey. The next day, Lucy took Edmund to the wardrobe. This time they both were magically transported to Narnia and they instantly met up with Mr. Tumnus. Edmund went off on his own to explore Narnia. During his time of exploring, Edmund ran into the evil White Witch. She told him that if he would bring all of his brothers and sisters to her, she would make him a King in Narnia. Edmund left her and met up with Lucy. The two of them decided they needed to get back home (Boundaries).

One day, all four of the brothers and sisters crawled into the wardrobe and were all instantly magically transported to Narnia. When they went to Mr. Tumnus’s home, they found a letter saying that the White Witch took him. It was at this moment they met a talking beaver, named Mr. Beaver. Mr. Beaver told them about a Great Lion, named Aslan. They learned that Aslan was building an army to defeat the evil White Witch. Edmund then decided to go find the White Witch by himself. When he found her, he submitted to her offer of power and told her where to find his brother and sisters. The evil White Witch did not make him a King as she promised; instead she put him in prison with Mr. Tumnus. She then sent her evil wolves out to capture the brother and sisters (Boundaries).

As Lucy, Susan and Peter ran away from the wolves, they ran right into Aslan’s army of giants, talking animals and other mystical creatures. It was as if Aslan was expecting them. They felt secure and safe with the Great Lion, Aslan (Boundaries).

A day later, the evil White Witch came into Aslan’s camp. She told Aslan that she would release Edmund to his family only if Aslan would give up his life for Edmund’s release. Aslan agreed to this personal sacrifice. The day after the White Witch took Aslan’s life, Aslan rose from the dead, and confronted the White Witch. The Great Lion, Aslan, defeated the evil White Witch. After this battle, Aslan had a ceremony honoring the faithfulness of Lucy, Susan, Peter and Edmund. He anointed them Kings and Queens of Narnia. They ruled Narnia for years. Then one day, as the four of them were in the woods of Narnia, they discovered a doorway that they decided to enter. As soon as they entered that doorway, they immediately returned to the wardrobe (Boundaries).

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has a powerful message. The story uses fantasy and adventure to explain how there is good and evil everywhere. The story brings out the evil White Witch that can only be stopped by the Great Lion, Aslan. This is representation of Satan’s temptation and lies and how Jesus gave up His life for all or sins. The four brothers and sisters show the different traits of people and how we need the protection and the saving grace of Jesus Christ to set us free. This chronicle shows how God loves us and cares for us in a creative and fun way.

Critical Analysis of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Influence

C.S. Lewis loved to read books. After reading a book, he would ponder it for a long time. The top ten most influential books that C.S. Lewis read are; Phantastes by George MacDonald, The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton, The Aeneid by Virgil, The Temple by George Herbert, The Prelude by William Wordsworth, The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto, The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell, Descent into Hell by Charles Williams, and Theism and Humanism by Arthur James Balfour. These key books inspired him to write The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Discovery Institution).

Another time in his life when C.S. Lewis was influenced was before he was married. C.S. Lewis was at home and a soldier came to his door and asked him, “Would you house four evacuees from the war?” C.S. Lewis said “O.K”. After spending some time with his new guests, he noticed that they had very little imagination and never read books. One of the evacuees of the war was a young girl. She asked him where the wardrobe was from that was in C.S. Lewis’s spare room. To help entertain the little girl, and to inspire her imagination, he started making stories up about where the wardrobe was from. To help him remember the different stories, he started writing the short stories on an envelope. About ten years after he made up the short stories about the wardrobe for the little girl, he began to visualize those stories actually happening. It was at this point in C.S. Lewis’s life that he knew that his stories were coming alive, so he started writing the stories down in a more formal matter (www.kernowyouth.co.uk).

C.S. Lewis’s life and writings were greatly influenced by his family, the books he read when he was an adult and the books he read to the children he housed. Combined, these influenced him to write The Chronicles of Narnia. People of the world came to love and adore C.S. Lewis for his magical and inspiring books. C.S. Lewis was influenced by many positive sources. Because he made good decisions in his life and shared his stories with the world, he has created a large following of admirers and people who are still influenced by him.

Main Theme

C.S. Lewis loved to use creativity and adventure in his books. Throughout his writings he embedded an overall theme of Christianity. He used magical and mystical creatures along with the enchanted world of Narnia to creatively demonstrate particular facts of a Christian journey through life. In his chronicle, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, he continued to display an overall theme of Christian life, sacrifice, forgiveness and love.

A couple of key creatures that C.S. Lewis uses to set up the powerful forces of good and evil are the Great Lion, Aslan, and the evil White Witch. From a Christian perspective, C.S. Lewis uses Aslan to reflect Jesus Christ. Aslan is the Savior for all the people and creatures in Narnia, while the evil White Witch represents Satan. The White Witch lies, misleads and physically harms the people and creatures of Narnia. Each of the brothers and sisters are challenged in this chronicle. Ultimately, they have to make decisions to overcome the challenges they face. Edmund at first chooses to deceive his brothers and sisters based on a promise the White Witch makes him. His choice leads his brother and sister into harm, and he is deceived by the White Witch. Edmund’s bad decision leads him to end up being a prisoner of the evil one (SparkNotes).

C.S. Lewis continues the Christian theme by having the Great Lion, Aslan, offering his life for the freedom of Edmund’s life from the evil White Witch. When Aslan dies, Edmund is set free and is allowed to return to his brother and sister. Aslan comes back to life, as did Christ, the next day. Through his death, all of Edmund’s sins had been forgiven and Edmund joined Aslan as one of his followers. Aslan then led the mystical creatures of Narnia and the children to destroy the White Witch. After winning the battle, the children were awarded the same rank positions over the land of Narnia. This is similar to what God has promised each of us in heaven.

Stylistic Devices

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is an amazing book that allows you to escape into an imaginative adventure. C.S. Lewis has achieved this by using a series of different devices such as imagery, symbols, and double meanings. He also successfully pulls his readers into the adventure by allowing the adventure to relate to his readers using characters that undergo the adventure themselves. The characters Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter learn things about themselves that they would never know without the experience of the story.

C.S. Lewis uses this imaginative style of writing to draw the reader in, and not let him go. An example of his imaginative style in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the enchanted world of Narnia. He has the reader actually believe that animals can talk, that a witch can turn people to stone and that a wardrobe has a magical door to transport people to another world. His ability to use imagery make his fictional story come to life (bookrags.com).

Even though C.S. Lewis uses imagination in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, his focus was not on creating another fairy tale, but actually following the pattern of the gospel. He uses the enchanted world of Narnia as a parallel to the world that exists but that the reader does not see. C.S. Lewis then uses the symbol of Aslan to represent Jesus himself. He does this by showing the reader how Aslan was without sin, and would sacrifice himself for all, thus redeeming all of Narnia, or all of mankind (bookrags.com).

Complementing his imaginative and symbolic style is C.S. Lewis’s ability to use fiction, but with academic, thought-provoking meanings. Throughout this chronicle, the reader is entrenched in a fictional adventure that is seen through the lives of different characters. One example of this style is when Aslan offers up his life for the release of Edmund from the White Witch. Clearly, this is a fictional situation involving a talking lion and a witch. However, C.S. Lewis created a situation where the meaning is much deeper and the reader has to think deeper about what is really happening. By using Christian meanings, fiction and his academic knowledge of the Bible, C.S. Lewis uses this story line for the reader to understand the amazing sacrifice that Jesus Christ paid for each one of us (bookrags.com).

Using imagination, symbols, and fiction, C.S. Lewis creates adventures for the characters Lucy, Susan, Edmund and Peter. It is an adventure of mind and heart. The significant things they learn about their friendship, betrayal and trust. Edmund goes through an adventure of self-discovery when he gives in to the lies of the evil White Witch. He finds out a valuable lesson that in the end, it was his family and friends that stood by his side. This chronicle is a magical story that allows readers to relate and join in the adventure of mind and heart.

Characters

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, there are many interesting and imaginative characters. C.S. Lewis uses the different characters to bring in the Christian message. The key characters are Aslan, the White Witch, and Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy, otherwise known as the children. Each of these characters comes alive in C.S. Lewis’s writings.

Aslan is the king and god of Narnia. He had to sacrifice his life to save Edmund from the evil Witch. Aslan is killed by the evil Witch. However, Aslan is resurrected from the dead the next day. Once he is back from the dead, he leads his army and defeats the evil White Witch. After he defeated the evil Witch, the land of Narnia was saved and he became the god and watchful eye over all the creatures and humans of Narnia. That is why Aslan is the one everyone goes to for help because he is like Jesus Christ. Aslan clearly represents Jesus Christ in this chronicle (SparkNotes).

The White Witch is the evil queen over the land. She tortures the creatures of Narnia by turning them to stone. All the creatures hate her because she is cruel and put a spell on Narnia. The spell on the land made it so that it was winter all the time, never Christmas. The witch has a wand that not only made the land winter, but also tempted Edmund with Turkish Delight that enslaved Edmund with greed. She kills Aslan, but soon is destroyed by the resurrected Aslan. The evil White Witch resembles sin and all that is evil. C.S. Lewis used the evil Witch to either represent Satan or possibly a servant of Satan. This Chronicle delights the reader by allowing her evil ways to be destroyed by the great and good Aslan (SparkNotes).

The children Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy all went in to Narnia to see a new world. Each of them represented a different personality to which the reader of this Chronicle might be able to relate. Peter was the oldest. He was courageous and noble and eventually was crowned by Aslan as the High King of Narnia. Susan was the second oldest. Susan represented beauty, sweetness and kindness. Aslan anointed her as Queen Susan the Gentile. Edmund was the third oldest of the children. Edmund was portrayed as a brat. He teased his sister. Edmund was generally a mean person throughout the chronicle. It was his greed that led him to be the traitor to his brother and sisters. Eventually, he saw his behaviors as bad, and returned to be a good person after his experience with Aslan. The youngest of the children was Lucy. Lucy was always happy, cheerful, sweet, yet brave. She was a curious individual and was the first to explore Narnia. C.S. Lewis used the character of Lucy to bring optimism to the chronicle. Each of these characters was complimented with many other personalities and spirits (SparkNotes).

This chronicle uses different characters to symbolize the people of the world today. C.S. Lewis allows the reader to live through the different characters, personalities and decisions. The adventure of these characters come alive as they move through their personal adventure in Narnia. Just as people go through life, C.S. Lewis shows us how there is evil and good in our world and how our responses to these challenges will affect not just us, but those we love.

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