Presentation on theme: "1 The Makings of CS Lewis’s Enchanted World of Narnia Professor Paulo F. Ribeiro MBA, PhD, PE, IEEE Fellow December 6, 2005 – 7PM Student Activities Office."— Presentation transcript:
1 The Makings of CS Lewis’s Enchanted World of Narnia Professor Paulo F. Ribeiro MBA, PhD, PE, IEEE Fellow December 6, 2005 – 7PM Student Activities Office
2 Introductory Observations The Providential Timing of This Movie Introductory Observations (speaker) The Author The Makings of Narnia A Taste of the Story The Biblical Connections Conclusion: The Magic Never Ends
3 The Providential Timing of This Movie Disney passed the opportunity several times –(Too British, Christian Nature and Costly) It would have been a water-down version The Passion and The Lord of the Rings Changed Lewis’s Opposition to a Human Pantomime Computer Generated Imaging Technology Came to Age (Impossible a few years ago) First Reports: Movie Faithful to the original story: Lewis would approve it.
4 Introductory Observations My fascination with Lewis started in 1974 (University in Brazil) Theological writings first – my children brought me into Narnia Four years in England + reading everything Lewis wrote consolidated my appreciation Became a CS Lewis freak (according to my children)
5 The Author: CS Lewis Born in Belfast in 1898. Educated in England (prep school – Oxford University) Army in 1917, saw front-line combat Returned 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 cancer at the time of their marriage – she died in 1960. Died on November the 22nd 1963 - same day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
6 The Author: (Jack) Clear thinking and writing – Captivating. Came from the outside He has helped me to overcome chronological snobbery, post- modernism, etc. His writings: precise, penetrating logic, vivid, lively, and playful imagination. Taught English 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 match: Brazilian Music & Lewis’s English He always points to the ultimate source: Christ. His theology was not perfect, but the practice was exemplary
7 The Author: (Jack) Premature reader and writer (from a bookish family) In Surprised by Joy Lewis tells of his first stories of dressed animals and courtly “knights-in-armor 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, had not much to do with Narnia, except for the anthropomorphic beasts and had the least hint of wonder. Suffered from an undefinable desire (romantic longing)
8 The Makings of Narnia Fairy 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 (+) Reactions The Dedication of the LWW: Myth and the Reality Come Together A Series Which Almost Never Was
9 The Makings of Narnia Jack: Not very familiar with children What is it: Allegory, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Myth ? Jack: Defending Fairy Tales Fantastic Creations – Mythological Figures & Father Christmas How it all begun
10 The 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.”
11 The Makings of Narnia How Effective are Fairy-Tales? I mean, the presence of beings other than human which yet behave, in varying degrees, humanly: the giants and dwarfs and talking beasts. I believe these to be at least (for they may have many other sources of power and beauty) 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.
12 The 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.
13 The 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.
14 The Makings of Narnia Is 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!
15 Is 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." The Makings of Narnia
16 The Makings of Narnia Relation to our world –Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve The British humor –Is Man a Myth, Tea Parties and a “Huge Jug of Beer for Mr. Beaver” The Idea of Aslan –Lewis’s Greatest Religious Achievement –Analogies: symbol of power, lion, king in an animal word LWW Fall 1950 – Cautious Reviews –The New Movie is Creating Controversies –Philip Pullman, Charles McGrath (New York Times) Pre-Baptism of Imagination.
17 The Makings of Narnia Lewis’s Fundamental Concepts Nature 1 – Romantic Appreciation: Reverent and Insatiable Delight “This is no thaw; this is spring” 2 – The Supernatural “But do you really mean, Sir,” asked one of the boys, “that there could be other worlds – al over the place, just round the corner – like that?” 3 – Fallen Nature: Evil was not an abstract but a reality Watch 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.
18 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.” The Makings of Narnia
19 The 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." "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed. Rev. 5:5
20 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. The Makings of Narnia
21 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...“ MN The Makings of Narnia
22 Lewis’s Fundamental Concepts God 5 – Justice and Mercy Aslan 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 LWW 6 - 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.“ MN The Makings of Narnia
23 The 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, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, 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
24 The 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, believes that moral principles are learned indirectly from others around us, who serve as exemplars.... This is also the clue to understanding the place of the Chronicles of Narnia within Lewis's thought. They are not just good stories. Neither are they primarily Christian allegories (in fact, they are not allegories at all). Rather, they 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.
25 -(1-4)London Children being evacuated to the country during WW II. Children Transported from this world into a world faire-tale creatures belonging to a great lion (four books on this scheme). The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, - (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. -(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 - George MacDonald style. 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. The Chronicles can delight the senses as they challenge and stir the soul. A Taste of the Story
27 The LWW - Main Theme: Winter to Spring 1. Lucy accidentally found herself in Narnia via the wardrobe 2. Visit with Mr. Tumnus the Faun - returned to England 3. Edmund finds Narnia and meets the Witch 4. Edmund became addicted to Turkish Delight 5. Peter and Susan assumed that Lucy’s Narnia was unreal 6. All four children found themselves in Narnia 7. The four learned about Narnia visiting Mr. And Mrs. Beaver 8. Edmund betray the others to the White Witch 9. Edmund made his way to the Witch’s castle and became captive there 10. As the children and the Beavers fled, Father Christmas arrived with gifts 11. The Witch discover that her perpetual winter was beginning to thaw 12. Aslan appeared, greeted his friend ands knighted Peter 13. The Witch demand her right to kill Edmund 14. Aslan gave himself to the Witch to die in Edmund’s place 15. Aslan came back to life 16. Aslan revived all victims of the Witch who had turned to statues 17. The children ruled Narnia for years before returning to England A Taste of the Story
28 The LWW and the Bible Chapter 1 – The Learning / Discovery MandateEcclesiastes: 11:9 (every square inch of Narnia is claimed by Aslan) Chapter 2 – IntegrityJeremiah 9:8 Chapter 3 – Wisdom and the Reality of EvilProverbs 11:12 The Biblical Connection
29 The LWW and The Bible Chapter 4 – TemptationsProverbs 9:17 Chapter 5 – Courage to Stand on Your OwnProverbs 12:18 Chapter 6 – ResponsibilityProverbs 4:18 The Biblical Connection
30 The LWW and The Bible Chapter 7 – Permanent Values & RewardsIsaiah 26:8 Chapter 8 – DeceptionIsaiah 40:28 Chapter 9 – The Inner Ring Deals with the DevilRomans 8:5 The Biblical Connection
31 The LWW and The Bible Chapter 10 – RestorationIsaiah 52:7 Chapter 11 – The Power Behind it AllSongs of Songs 2:11-12 Chapter 12 – Our Own Battles1 Kings 2:2 The Biblical Connection
32 The LWW and The Bible Chapter 13 – A Committed CommanderPsalm 51:4 Chapter 14 – The Apparent Victory of EvilJohn 15:13 Chapter 15 – Unfolding and RestorationMatthews 28:2 Chapter 16 – Subversive RestorationAmos 3:8 Chapter 17 – Assurance of God’s PresenceJames 1:12 The Biblical Connection
33 Conclusion: The Magic Ends When I say ‘Magic’ I am not thinking of the paltry and pathetic techniques by which fools attempt and quacks pretend 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. Admittedly, the' magical' element in such truths can be got rid of by explanation; that is, by seeing them to be instances or consequences of larger truths. … Now the value, for me, of the magical element in Christianity is this. It is a permanent witness that the heavenly realm, certainly no less than the natural universe and perhaps very much more, is a realm of objective facts-hard, determinate facts, not to be constructed a priori, and not to be dissolved into maxims, ideals, values, and the like. Enlightened people want to get rid of this magical element in favor of what they would call the' spiritual ' element. But the spiritual, conceived as something thus antithetical to 'magical', seems to become merely the psychological or ethical. What I insist on is that it can never be reduced to zero. If it is, what remains is only morality, or culture, or philosophy.
34 Conclusion: The Magic 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....
35 “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