Presentation on theme: "The Makings of CS Lewis’s Enchanted World of Narnia"— Presentation transcript:
1The Makings of CS Lewis’s Enchanted World of Narnia Professor Paulo F. RibeiroMBA, PhD, PE, IEEE FellowDecember 6, 2005 – 7PMStudent Activities Office
2Outline The Providential Timing of This Movie Introductory Observations (speaker)The Author: Jack - CS LewisThe Makings of NarniaA Taste of the StoryThe Biblical ConnectionsConclusion: The Magic Never Ends
3The Providential Timing of This Movie Disney passed the opportunity several timesToo British, Too Christian, Too CostlyIt would have been a watered-down versionThe Passion and The Lord of the RingsLewis’ Opposition to a Human PantomimeAdvanced Computer Generated ImagingTechnology (Impossible a few years ago)Lewis would approve of it.What Better Preparation for Christmas?
4Introductory Observations Fascination with Lewis started in 1974 (University in Brazil)Started with Theological writings – then my children introduced me to NarniaSpent Four years in England & read everything Lewis wrote which consolidated my appreciationBecame a CS Lewis freak (according to my children)Introductory Observations
5The Author: CS Lewis Born in Belfast in 1898. Educated in England (prep school – Oxford University)Army in 1917, saw front-line combatReturned to Oxford, graduated in 1922 and became a fellow of Magdalen college in 1925.An atheist in his boyhood - converted to Christianity in 1931.Wartime religious talks on the BBC, plus some other theological books brought him fame (+Narnia)Was part of the Oxford literary circle (the Inklings) whose members also included J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams.In 1957 he married Joy Davidman Gresham, an American with whom he had corresponded with. Joy was suffering from cancer at the time of their marriage – she died in 1960.Died on November the 22nd same day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
6The Author: (Jack) Clear thinking and writing – Captivating. Came from the outsideHe has helped me to overcome chronological snobbery, post-modernism, etc. His writings: precise, penetrating logic, vivid, lively, and playful imagination.Taught the English language to sing(Kreeft: “What Christian ever made Latin dance as Augustine did? What Christian ever taught English to sing as Lewis did? Their words are like diamonds, full of light yet full of heaviness; full of grace and truth.”)I found the perfect marriage: Brazilian Music & Lewis’s EnglishHe always points to the ultimate source: Christ.His theology was not perfect, but his practice was exemplary (almost Reformed)
7The Author: (Jack) Premature reader and writer (from a bookish family) In Surprised by Joy Lewis tells of his first stories of dressed animals”He was between 7 & 9 years old when he wrote a full history of Animal-Land, complete with map and colorful illustrations (Boxen)Boxen, however, did not have much to do with Narnia, except for the anthropomorphic beasts, it had the tiniest hint of wonder.Suffered from an undefinable desire (romantic longing)
8The Makings of NarniaFairy Tales – Tolkien’s influence (the Gospels contain a story of a kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories: Marvels, beauty, mythical, symbolic, allegorical, etc.)JRR Tolkien (-) and Roger Lancelyn Green (+) ReactionsA Series Which Almost Never Was
9The Makings of NarniaJack: Not very familiar with children (Letters to Children)What is it: Allegory, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Myth ?Jack: Defended Fairy Tales: Fantastic Creations – Mythological Figures & Father ChristmasHow it allBegun(16 years old)
10The Makings of Narnia Why Fairy-Tales? “Hence a man who admits that dwarfs and giants and talking beasts and witches are still dear to him in his fifty-third year is now less likely to be praised for his perennial youth than scorned and pitied for arrested development. If I spend some little time defending myself against these charges, this is not so much because it matters greatly whether I am scorned and pitied as because the defense is germane to my whole view of the fairy tale and even of literature in general.”
11The Makings of NarniaHow Effective are Fairy-Tales in Conveying Truth?--- the giants and dwarfs and talking beasts. I believe these to be at least an admirable hieroglyphic which conveys psychology, types of character, more briefly than novelistic presentation and to readers whom novelistic presentation could not yet reach. Consider Mr. Badger in The Wind in the Willows — that extraordinary amalgam of high rank, coarse manners, gruffness, shyness, and goodness. The child who has once met Mr. Badger has ever afterwards, in its bones, a knowledge of humanity and of English social history which it could not get in any other way.
12The Makings of Narnia What about the Violence in the stories? “Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker. Nor do most of us find that violence and bloodshed, in a story, produce any haunting dread in the minds of children. As far as that goes, I side impenitently with the human race against the modern reformer. Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let villains be soundly killed at the end of the book. Nothing will persuade me that this causes an ordinary child any kind or degree of fear beyond what it wants, and needs, to feel. For, of course, it wants to be a little frightened.For in the fairy tales, side by side with the terrible figures, we find the immemorial comforters and protectors, the radiant ones; and the terrible figures are not merely terrible, but sublime. It would be nice if no little boy in bed, hearing, or thinking he hears, a sound, were ever at all frightened. But if he is going to be frightened, I think it better that he should think of giants and dragons than merely of burglars. And I think St George, or any bright champion in armor, is a better comfort than the idea of the police.”
13The Makings of Narnia Are These Books for Children or Adults? "No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally worth reading at the age of fifty. The only imaginative works we ought to grow out of are those which it would have been better not to have read at all."“The boy does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: the reading makes all real woods a little more enchanted." The child reading the fairy tale is delighted simply in desiring, while the child reading a "realistic" story may establish the success of its hero as a standard for himself and, when he cannot have the same success, may suffer bitter disappointment.”
14Is It Right to Mix Theology and Fairy-Tales? (Personal) “I thought I saw how stories of this kind could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find so hard to feel as one told one ought to feel about God or about the sufferings of Christ? I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings … But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday School associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency? Could one not steal past these watchful dragons?” I thought one could.”Fantasy has the power to reach all ages, regardless of educational background or intellectual ability!The Makings of Narnia
15The Makings of NarniaIs It Right to Mix Theology and Fairy-Tales? (Literary)From a theological perspective Lewis saw true myths and stories as memories or echoes of God Himself and our imagination as their receptor. He explained this relationship as a mythological expression of the Gospel story:"It was he [the imaginative man] who, after my conversion, led me to embody my religious belief in symbolical or mythopoeic form, ranging from Screwtape to a kind of theological science fiction. And it was of course he who has brought me, in the last few years, to write the series of Narnian stories for children; not asking what children want and then endeavoring to adapt myself but because the fairy tale was the best fitted for what I wanted to say."
16The Makings of Narnia Relation to our world The British humor Sons of Adam and Daughters of EveThe British humorIs Man a MythTea Parties“Huge Jug of Beer for Mr. Beaver”The Idea of AslanLewis’s Greatest Religious AchievementAnalogies: symbol of power, lion, king in an animal worldLWW Fall 1950 – Cautious Reviews – The FutureThe New Movie is Creating ControversiesPhilip Pullman, Charles McGrath (New York Times)Pre-Baptism of Imagination.
17The Makings of Narnia The Dedication of the LWW: My Dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be Your affectionate Godfather, C.S. LewisThe Irony: Lewis did not live long after all and Lucy – a young ballet dancer, musician and teacher was struck with paralysis and unable to reach any upper shelves at all. Her long winter came early in life.But when Aslan shakes his mane, we shall havespring again.
18The Makings of Narnia Lewis’s Fundamental Concepts Nature 1 – Romantic Appreciation: Reverent and Insatiable Delight“This is no thaw; this is spring” LWW2 – The Supernatural“But do you really mean, Sir,” asked one of the boys, “that there could be other worlds – all over the place, just round the corner – like that?” LWW3 – Fallen Nature: Evil was not an abstract but a realityWatch Edmund and the White Witch to see evil in operation“We find ourselves in a world of transporting pleasures, ravishing beauties, and tantalizing possibilities, but all constantly being destroyed. Nature has all the air of a goof thing spoiled.”Nature is more than a background setting for the action of his characters“Either there is significance in the whole process of things as well as in human activities, or there is no significance in human activity itself.”C.S. Lewis, The Personal Heresy, 1939.
19The Makings of Narnia Lewis’s Fundamental Concepts God 1 – Aslan: Simple / Powerful Image“And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don't understand but in the dream it feels as if it had some enormous meaning---either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or beginning of summer.” LWW
20The Makings of Narnia Lewis’s Fundamental Concepts God 2 - Bodily Form "Is-is he a man?" asked Lucy."Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great Lion.""Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.""That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs Beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly.""Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy."Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.""I'm longing to see him," said Peter, "even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.“ LWW"Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed. Rev. 5:5
21The Makings of Narnia Lewis’s Fundamental Concepts God 3 – Authority "Will you promise not to- do anything to me if I do come?" said Jill."I make no promise," said the Lion.Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer."Do you eat girls?" she said."I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion.It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it."I daren't come and drink," said Jill."Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion."Oh dear!," said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I should go and look for another stream then.""There is no other stream," said the Lion. (Silver Chair)
22The Makings of Narnia Lewis’s Fundamental Concepts God 4 – Love "I asked, are you ready?" said the Lion."Yes," said Digory...But when he had said "Yes," he thought of his Mother, and he thought of the great hopes he had had, and how they were all dying away, and a lump came in his throat and tears in his eyes, and he blurted out:"But please, please--won't you--can't you give me something that will cure Mother?"Up till then, he had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself."My son, my son," said Aslan. "I know. Grief is great. Only you and I in this land know that yet. Let us be good to one another...“Magician Nephew
23The Makings of Narnia Lewis’s Fundamental Concepts God 5 – Justice and MercyAslan used physical affliction to affect the cure of sin as well as the punishment of sin. In the VDT Eustace is turned into a dragon because of his irresponsibility.Aslan dies for Edmund in the LWW6 - Creativity and Care"Creatures I give you yourselves," said the strong, happy voice of Aslan. "I give you this land of Narnia. I give you the woods, the fruits, the rivers. I give you the stars and i give you myself. The Dumb Beasts whom I have not chosen are yours also. Treat them gently and cherish them but do not go back to their ways lest you cease to be Talking Beasts. For out of them you were taken and into them you can return. Do not so.“Magician NThe Makings of Narnia
24The Makings of Narnia Lewis’s Fundamental Concepts Humanity “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization--these are mortal - But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses
25The Makings of Narnia Consequently ----- Moral education. . . does not look much like teaching. One cannot have classes in it. It involves the inculcation of proper emotional responses and is as much a "knowing how" as a " knowing that." The picture we get when we think of “knowing how" is the apprentice working with the master. And the inculcation of right emotional responses will take place only if the youth has around him examples of men and women for whom such responses have become natural.Lewis, like Aristotle, believed that moral principles are learned indirectly from others around us, who serve as exemplarsThis is also the clue to understanding the Chronicles within Lewis's thought. They are not just good stories. Neither are they primarily Christian allegories (in fact, they are not allegories at all).The Chronicles serve to enhance moral -education, to build character. . To overlook the function of the Chronicles of Narnia in communicating images of proper emotional responses is to miss their connection to Lewis’s moral thought.
26A Taste of the Story-(1-4)London Children being evacuated to the country during WW II. Children Transported from this world into a world of fairy-tale creatures belonging to a great lion (four books on this scheme). The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Silver Chair)- (5)The tale of two native children of that world who are also chosen by the great lion to serve the land of Narnia and to know him in a special way (Horse and His Boy).(6)The beginning of the world of Narnia - the intrusion of two Victorian children into the newborn world begins the complications which give rise to all the later adventures. (The Magician’s Nephew)(7)The end of Narnia (Last Battle)Each story complete in itself - Fragmented - Strong unity of philosophy and consistency of doctrine.Lewis remained faithful to his original intention to write stories for children while adding in subtle moral and spiritual complexities.
28A Taste of the Story The LWW - Main Theme: Winter to Spring 1. Lucy accidentally found herself in Narnia via the wardrobe2. Visit with Mr. Tumnus the Faun - returned to England3. Edmund finds Narnia and meets the Witch4. Edmund became addicted to Turkish Delight5. Peter and Susan assumed that Lucy’s Narnia was unreal6. All four children found themselves in Narnia7. The four learned about Narnia by visiting Mr. And Mrs. Beaver8. Edmund betrayed the others to the White Witch9. Edmund made his way to the Witch’s castle and became captive there10. As the children and the Beavers fled, Father Christmas arrived with gifts11. The Witch discovered that her perpetual winter was beginning to thaw12. Aslan appeared, greeted his friends and knighted Peter13. The Witch demanded her right to kill Edmund14. Aslan gave himself to the Witch to die in Edmund’s place15. Aslan came back to life16. Aslan revived all victims of the Witch that she had turned to statues17. The children ruled Narnia for years before returning to EnglandA Taste of the Story
31The Biblical Connection The LWW and the BibleChapter 1 – The Learning / Discovery Mandate Ecclesiastes: 11:9(every square inch of Narnia is claimed by Aslan)Chapter 2 – Integrity Jeremiah 9:8Chapter 3 – Reality of Evil Proverbs 11:12
32The Biblical Connection The LWW and The BibleChapter 4 – Temptations Proverbs 9:17Chapter 5 – Courage to Stand on Your Own Proverbs 12:18Chapter 6 – Responsibility Proverbs 4:18
33The Biblical Connection The LWW and The BibleChapter 7 – Permanent Values & Rewards Isaiah 26:8Chapter 8 – Deception Isaiah 40:28Chapter 9 – The Inner Ring Deals with the Devil Romans 8:5
34The Biblical Connection The LWW and The BibleChapter 10 – Restoration Isaiah 52:7Chapter 11 – The Power Behind it All Songs of Songs 2:11-12Chapter 12 – Our Own Battles 1 Kings 2:2
35The Biblical Connection The LWW and The BibleChapter 13 – A Committed Commander Psalm 51:4Chapter 14 – The Apparent Victory of Evil John 15:13Chapter 15 – Unfolding and Restoration Matthews 28:2Chapter 16 – Subversive Restoration Amos 3:8Chapter 17 – Assurance of God’s Presence James 1:12
36Conclusion: The Magic Never Ends When I say ‘Magic’ I am not thinking of the pathetic techniques by which fools attempt to control Nature. I mean rather what is suggested by fairy-tale sentences like: 'This is a magic flower, and if you carry it the seven gates will open to you of their own accord." I should define magic in this sense as ‘objective efficacy which cannot be further analyzed.’Magic, in this sense, will always win a response from a normal imagination because it is in principle so ' true to nature'. Mix these two powders and there will be an explosion. Eat a grain of this and you will die.Now the value of the magical element in Christianity is this. It is a permanent witness of the heavenly realm --Enlightened people want to get rid of this magical element in favor of what they would call the' spiritual ' element. But what remains is only morality, or culture, or philosophy.
37Conclusion: The Magic Never Ends The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things - the beauty, the memory of our own past - are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited
38“And the elderly lady in my adult education class on the Chronicles of Narnia who answered my question about what had attracted each of the students to the Narnia books and to a course on them by saying that they had saved her sanity and her daughter's soul. When she was "sweet sixteen" her daughter had said to her, "Mother, I hate you and this whole family. I especially hate your God. I never want to see you again," left for California, and became a drug addict and a prostitute. Her mother said, "I knew she would come back to us and to God because I had read her the Chronicles of Narnia when she was ten, and she had loved them. And she did.”Peter Kreeft