Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Lessons of Narnia

Michele's post, Still Searching for the Magic, is totally the inspiration for this post. Narnia holds many memories for me.

I first read The Chronicles of Narnia in second grade. I was enchanted. I loved Aslan. My second grade teacher gently suggested the word, allegory. I can't tell you how pissed I was. The betrayal! I wanted Narnia to be real, not a freaking allegory.

I read them again in fourth grade. I remember sitting on my bed and bawling because I could not go to Narnia, and because Narnia was not real. I hoped and hoped and wished, but there I was, stuck in this old world.

Some time in high school, I believe, my best friend and I began a tradition of reading the series together. We would often spend the night or the weekend at each other's houses, mostly reading. At least, that's what I recall.

I also recall she would track and compare our reading speeds. ;-)

The tradition continued in college. When we'd visit for the weekend, we'd reread the seven books again.  I remember her sitting in a pizza shop window, curled up with Prince Caspian.

I still love the Narnia series. I still refuse to entertain any notion of the series being an allegory. I don't care if C.S. Lewis said as much. I don't care if C.S. Lewis even pointed it out in the series. I. Don't. Care.

I love Narnia, definitely more than I love this old world.

The lesson? If you give a reader a magical world, if you make your reader fall in love with that world, if you make that world so real that she longs to live there ... for goodness sake, don't take away the magic by saying, "Just kidding. It's not real. It's just an allegory."

Down with allegories!

9 bonus scribbles:

Edie 4/11/2008 12:14:00 AM  

I didn't read The Chronicles until I was an adult. I don't know why it took me so long. I read everything else. If I didn't have anything of my own to read, I read my mother's books.

Even to an adult those books are special. Screw allegories.

So are the taxes done?

Bernita 4/11/2008 08:44:00 AM  

Those offensive analytics tread on our dreams.

LaDonna 4/11/2008 09:53:00 AM  

Spy, I love this post. I'm that way with the towns and people I read about too. People need magical worlds, and those who want to take that away I truly don't understand. And as embarrassing as this is, I haven't read Narnia yet. I very much looking forward to the experience. As a child, my mom had me enrolled in a book club, but I never received that one. I can enjoy it now.

conley730 4/11/2008 10:14:00 AM  

We used to have a big wardrobe in our house when I was a kid. After I read the books I went into it expecting I'd end up in Narnia. What a let down.

Michele 4/11/2008 11:10:00 AM  

I'm with you! I remember when I first heard the allegory comparison myself and my reaction was exactly the same as yours...pissed. The teachers at my Baptist school delighted in telling me all about it and I was sooo angry. Narnia was real to me. Lucy, Edmund, Susan, Peter...they were my friends. Aslan, Prince Caspian, Eustace, Jill, Digory...every single one.

I still want a Wardrobe.

Michele 4/11/2008 11:25:00 AM  

P.S. Thanks for the shout-out! :-)

mom2brie 4/11/2008 10:34:00 PM  

Yes, I would track and compare our reading speeds, because I was always sooo annoyed that you could read 2 or 3 times faster than me - grrrr!!!

You all would not believe how fast Spy can read - faster than anyone else I've ever met. Spy may have read all 7 books in a weekend - but not me - blah :)

PS - hope taxes are done and you are enjoying quality time with DH!!!

spyscribbler 4/11/2008 11:19:00 PM  

Edie, they are special, you're right! About those taxes, um ... you know. I've delegated the sorting the receipts that DH did NOT enter into the computer for four months last year to him. So now I have to wait for him to sort them. And then I'll have a day to finish the taxes, which will probably involve pulling my hair out. *sigh*

Seriously, Bernita!!!!

LaDonna, SO true about taking that away! Especially in fantasy, I think we want to escape our world.

spyscribbler 4/11/2008 11:21:00 PM  

Conley, I understand! I didn't cry over Santa, but I sure did cry over Narnia!

Michele, YES! Yes, yes, yes! Oh gosh. I so agree with you!

LOL, Mom2Brie! And I was just complaining to DH that I want to read more books, but I can't read fast enough!

But you remember EVERYTHING in a book. That's cool. Like, years later, you still remember people's names and all sorts of things. I forget everything!