Presentation on theme: "1 The Contours of Narnia In Anticipation of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (Disney’s Production – December 9, 2005) Compiled by Paulo F. Ribeiro,"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Contours of Narnia In Anticipation of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (Disney’s Production – December 9, 2005) Compiled by Paulo F. Ribeiro, MBA, PhD, PE, IEEE Fellow Winter 2005
2 Introductory Observations The Dedication of the LWW: Myth and the Reality of Life A Series Which Almost Never Was JRR Tolkien and Roger Lancelyn Green Reactions Jack: Not very familiar with children Jack in the Boxen What is it: Allegory, Fantasy, Faire Tales, Myth ? Fantastic Creations – Mythological Figures vs. Father Christmas How it all begun Relation to our world Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve It took me a while (my children helped to appreciate it ----) The British humor The right time for the new movie (52 / 53) The idea of Aslan Moral Stories
3 Introductory Observations LWW Fall 1950 – Cautious Reviews Pre-baptism of imagination – Aslan a supreme creation b-
4 C.S. Lewis: Making Pictures To forbid the making of pictures about God would be to forbid thinking a about God at all, for man is so made that he has no way to think except in pictures. Dorothy Sayers "... When [people] try to get rid of man-like, or, as they are called, 'anthropomorphic,' images, they merely succeed in substituting images of some other kinds. 'I don't believe in a personal God,' says one, 'but I do believe in a great spiritual force.' What he has not noticed is that the word 'force' has let in all sorts of images about winds and tides and electricity and gravitation. 'I don't believe in a personal God,' says another, 'but I do believe we are all parts of one great Being which moves and works through us all' -not noticing that he has merely exchanged the image of a fatherly and royal-looking man for the image of some widely extended gas or fluid. A girl I knew was brought up by 'higher thinking' parents to regard God as perfect 'substance.' In later life she realized that this had actually led her to think of Him as something like a vast tapioca pudding. (To make matters worse, she disliked tapioca.) We may feel ourselves quite safe from this degree of absurdity but we are mistaken. If a man watches his own mind, I believe he will find that what profess to be specially advanced or philosophic conceptions of God, are, in his thinking, always accompanied by vague images which, if inspected, would turn out to be even more absurd than the manlike images aroused by Christian theology. Miracles
5 Myth Lewis believed that Christian truth must be defended with sound logic and philosophy. But this apologetic needed to be explicated in order that its meaning could be made clear to its hearers. That is why he felt this could best be accomplished through the proper use of myths. By myth he did not mean legends and fairy tales but a real unfocused gleam of truth falling on human imagination. In his classic Experiment in Criticism, a book on how to read a book, Lewis lays out six characteristics of literature that that make a myth: 1. it is extra-literary, or independent of the form of the words used; 2. the pleasure of myth depends hardly at all on such unusual narrative attractions as suspense or surprise ; 3. our sympathy with the character is minimal; 4. myth is always fantastic and deals with impossibles and preternaturals ; 5. though the experience may be sad or joyful, it always is grave and never comic; 6. the experience is not only grave but awe inspiring. We feel it to be numinous. It is as if something of great moment has been communicated to us. From a theological perspective Lewis saw true myths as memories or echoes of God Himself and He left us with human imagination as their receptor. He explained this relationship in describing how he came to write the Narnia Chronicles, 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 (this was not needed) but because the fairy tale was the genre best fitted for what I wanted to say." Lewis undertook the daunting task of awakening modernity's deadened imagination to the eternal realities by telling stories of worlds of fixed moral order, serenity and blissfulness. He had help from a few friends in understanding imagination as a vehicle to convey the Reality who stands behind and above the visible world.
6 Lewis’s Concept of Nature: Spoiled Goodness Lewis’s Response to Nature: 1 – Romantic Appreciation and Idealization 2 – Acceptance of the Supernatural The Experience with the supernatural Lucy’s tale - several hours in Narnia - less than a minute 3 – Moral Awareness of the force of evil in nature and the temporal transient quality of our world. 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. Fresh exuberance of nature (This is no thaw; this is spring) - Glimpses of Redeemed Creation Creation, Fall, Redemption “They say Aslan is on the Move - Perhaps has already landed”
7 Lewis’s Concept of God: The Coming of the Lion "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed. Rev. 5:5 “’They say Aslan is on the move – perhaps has already landed’ 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 that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump 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 and realize that its the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.” The LWW
8 Lewis’s Concept of Humanity: Possible Gods and Goddesses 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, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. 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
9 Narnia Many Christian doctrines (Classical Christianity) Doctrines fall into three categories: Nature, God, Man’s Relationship to Nature, God and his fellow man. Animal-Land (7-8 years old) The Narnia Series: Different from other Stories - Magic, Fantasy … the Glimpsing of Other- Worlds Stories -(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.
10 Narnia: Myth Made Truth: The Origins of the Chronicles of Narnia In the process of writing the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis gradually expanded the breadth and scope of his literary ambitions. What was foreseen from the outset as a collection of stories for children developed into a complex depiction of an entire moral universe. As the seven books progress, Lewis unfolds the whole Divine plan for this universe from its creation to its apocalypse. However, the uniqueness of Lewis' literary achievement stems from the fact that Lewis manages to do two things at once. That is, he remains faithful to his original intention to write stories for children while adding in subtle moral and spiritual complexities. Thus, the Chronicles of Narnia are a series of books that can delight the senses as they challenge and stir the soul. (Mark Bane)
11 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.
12 THE KINGDOM OF NARNIA LEWIS RIGOROUSLY DEFENDS THE FAIRY TALE AGAINST ANY who claim that it gives a false conception of life. The fact is, says he, that this is the direct opposite of the truth and it is the so-called realistic stories which deceive children. The fairy tale, like the myth, on the one hand arouses longing for more ideal worlds and on the other gives the real world a new dimension of depth. 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. It seems obvious that two purposes guided Lewis in the writing of his Narnia stories. One was to tell a good tale, the other to suggest analogies - I do not think Lewis would wish them called allegories - of the Christian scheme of things. These books have been among Lewis's most widely read. Charles Some think that they mark "the greatest addition to the imperishable deposit of children's literature since the Jungle Books. Chad Walsh says that he himself felt the fairy-tale atmosphere was curiously cut-and- dried but that two of his daughters, aged six and eight, re-educated him after he had read them the first chapter and they required two chapters a night thereafter, some times followed by tears when a third chapter was not forth-coming.
13 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe The Main Theme: Frozen to Thawed – Winter to Spring Key Symbol: The Stone Table Favorite Quotes LWW and the Bible (see next page) When and Where in LWW 1. Lucy accidentally found herself in Narnia 2. After a visit with Mr. Tumnus the Faun, Lucy returned to England 3. Edmund accidentally found himself in Narnia and met the Queen of Narnia 4. Edmund became addicted to magic candy (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 while visiting Mr. And Mrs. Beaver 8. Edmund sneaked away to 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 many happy years before returning to England WHERE IT ALL BEGAN: C.S. Lewis played in this wardrobe as a child. Prof. Digory
14 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Bible Daughter of Eve (9,8) Romans 5:12 I should live to see this day (68, 58) Luke 2:30 Wrong will be right when...(74, 64)Mat. 12:18-20 At the sound of his roar...(74, 64 )Hosea 11:10-11 Sorrows will be no more (74,64) Isaiah 65:19 When Adam's flesh and Adam's bone (76, 65 ) Genesis 2:23 They are tools, not toys ( 104, 87 )Eph. 6:11-17 No need to talk about what is past ( 136, I 12)Is. 65:16 Deep Magic ( 138, I 14) I Corinthians 2:5-8 He just went on looking at Asian (138, 114)Hebrews 12:2 I should be glad of company tonight (147, 121 ) Matthew 26:38 I am sad and lonely ( 147, 121 )Matthew 26:38 Let him first be shaved (150,124) Matthew 27:28 Jeering at him saying ( 150, 124 ) Matthew 27:29 In that knowledge, despair and die (152,126)Matthew 27:46 Warmth of his breath...came all over her ( 159, 132 )John 20:22 A magic deeper still ( 159, 132 ) I Corinthians 2:7-8 Asian provided food (178, 147)John 6:1-14 He has other countries to attend to (180, 149)John 10:16
15 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe The first of the adventures, after the creation of Narnia by Asian, began about sixty years later when the four Pevensie children, Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy, left London because of air- raids during the war and went to stay with old Professor Kirke in his great country mansion. One day Lucy, while playing in an old wardrobe, accidentally discovered it was a doorway - one never reached Narnia twice in the same way – to Narnia and eventually all four of the children got in. Just inside was the lamp-post of Jadis the White Witch. She was now queen of Narnia, having slain most of its inhabitants and turned its weather to perpetual winter yet with never any Christmas. Jadis had overcome most of Narnia and had as her henchmen a vast number of giants, werewolves, …. bull-headed men, evil dwarfs. and spirits of evil trees and poisonous plants_ Even though Jadis magically turned all her enemies to stone, there were many loyal Narnian talking beasts hidden away and eager for her downfall. One of these was Tumnus the Faun, whose friendship with Lucy brought on Jadis's wrath and lined up the forces of good and evil. Mr. and Mrs. Beaver led the children southwards toward the Stone Table. They were followed by the furious Jadis, who had learned of Asian's return to Narnia. In the south, where once again spring had returned, Asian took Peter to a high hill and showed him in the distance on a peninsula jutting into the sea the castle of Cair Paravel where he and the other children were to reign. AsIan also predicted the death of Jadis. Meanwhile she and her cohorts arrived at the Stone Table and she was about to kill Edmund,..now her prisoner, with her stone knife when Aslan volunteered to die in his place and thus appease the Deep Magic involved. That night Lucy and Susan met AsIan near the Stone Table, wept bitterly at the sadness in his countenance, and later horrifiedly saw Aslan bound by his enemies, spit upon, jeered at, and finally slain by the White Witch. At sunrise the Stone Table itself split into two great pieces. Later Lucy and Susan returned sorrowfully to the dead body of their leader.
16 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Yet with the coming of daylight Lucy and Susan were overjoyed to hear a great voice behind their backs and turning saw Aslan shining in the early sunrise. He was larger and more more glorious than ever. When they inquired how he could be alive again, he told them it was a very Deep Magic. After a happy romp, Aslan took the two girls upon his back and traveled like the wind to the White Witch’s castle in the West. There he brought all the stone animals back to life and laid her castle waste. Hurrying back eastward, they found peter and his friends in deadly combat with the White Witch’ and her followers. The result was a complete victory, Aslan himself joining the battle and slaying the White Witch herself. Then Aslan and all the loyal inhabitants of Narnia took the children to Cair Paravel and crowned them, and they grew up to be as dignified kings and queens as one could imagine. Long afterwards while one day in the west hunting the White Stag, who could give you wishes if you caught him, they came upon the lamp-post in the Lantern Waste. At first they did not recognize it. Later they became convinced that if they passed the post they would either find strange new adventures or else some great change in their fortunes. They passed through the thicket in which the post was located and the next moment were children again among the clothes hung in the wardrobe of the old professor's mansion. To their amazement they found that though they had been in Narnia a great many years no earth time at all ‘had elapsed. Old Professor Kirke comforted. them by saying, “Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia” and assuring them that sooner or later they would again discover an entrance to that marvelous country.
17 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe "Have you forgotten the Deep Magic?" asked the Witch. "Let us say I have forgotten it," answered Aslan gravely. "Tell us of this Deep Magic." "Tell you?" said the Witch, her voice growing suddenly shriller. "Tell you what is written on that very Table of Stone which stands behind us? Tell you what is written in letters deep as a spear is long on the fire-stones on the Secret Hill? Tell you what is engraved on the scepter of the Emperor-beyond the sea? You at least know the Magic which the Emperor put into Narnia at the very beginning. You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to a kill." "Oh," said Mr. Beaver. "So that's how you came to imagine yourself a queen -- because you were the Emperor's hangman. I see." (Deep Magic from The Dawn of Time) Lucy and Mr. Tumnus
18 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe "Oh, you're real, you're real! Oh, Aslan!" cried Lucy, and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses. "But what does it all mean?" asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer. "It means, said Aslan, that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who has committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward." (Deeper Magic From Before The Dawn of Time) "Of course," said Aslan. "And now! Those who can't keep up - that is, children, dwarfs, and small animals - must ride on the backs of those who can - that is, lions, centaurs, unicorns, horses, giants and eagles. Those who are good with their noses must come in the front with us lions to smell out where the battle is. Look lively and sort yourselves." And with a great deal of bustle and cheering they did. The most pleased of the lot was the other lion who kept running about everywhere pretending to be very busy but really in order to say to everyone he met, "Did you hear what he said? Us Lions. That meant him and me. Us Lions. That's what I like about Aslan. No side, no stand-off-ishness. Us Lions. That meant him and me." At least he went on saying this till Aslan had loaded him up with three dwarfs, one dryad, two rabbits, and a hedgehog. That steadied him a bit." (What Happened About The Statues) And I saw a strong angel, who shouted in a loud voice: "Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and unroll it?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I wept because no one could be found who was worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, "Stop weeping! Look, the LION of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David's throne has conquered. He is worthy to open the scroll and break the seven seals." Rev 5:2-5 And Aslan stood up and as he opened his mouth to roar his face became so terrible that they did not dare to look at it. And they saw all the trees in front of him bend before the blast of his roaring as the grass bends in a meadow before the wind. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
19 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe "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.“
20 Christian Creed in Narnian terms: I believe in the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea who has put within time the Deep Magic, and, before all time, the Deeper Magic. I believe in his Son Asian who sang into being all the worlds and all that they contain: Talking Beasts and humans, dumb animals and shining spirits. And I believe that Asian was a true beast, the king of beasts, a Lion; that for Edmund, a traitor because of his desire for Turkish Delight, he gave himself" into the power of the White Witch, who satisfied the requirements of the Deep Magic by killing him most horribly. At the dawn following that darkest, coldest night, he was restored to full life by the Deeper Magic, cracking the Stone Table and, from that moment, setting death to work backwards. He exulted in his new life and went off to rescue all those who had been turned into stone by the Witch’s want and to deliver the whole land from everlasting winter. He will be behind all the stories of our lives; and, when it is time, he will appear again in our world to wind it up, calling all of his creatures whose hearts' desire it is to live "farther in and farther up" in his country which contains all real countries. I believe that upon us all falls the breath of Asian and that ours are the sweet waters of the Last Sea which enable us to look steadily at the sun. I believe that all who have thrilled or will thrill at the sound of Asian's name are now our fellow voyagers and our fellow kings and queens; that all of us can be for ever free of our dragonish thoughts and actions; and that one day we will pass through the door of death into "Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read; which goes on for ever; in which every chapter is better than the one before.” (Paul Ford)
21 Conclusion It is the way Lewis thoroughly integrated his Christian faith into his scholarly work that leaves the largest legacy. Lewis taught me... how to long for God and seek true joy. How to integrate a Christian worldview with my vocation, my family life, and my inner self. In all his writings, Lewis tried to point to Christ. The impact of Lewis on my life has been great. He has challenged me to grow in my faith so that I’m not afraid to engage spiritually and intellectually with a world hostile to God. But above all he has taught me that the power of the imagination is one of the greatest tool we have to bridge the gap into the secular mind.