“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”- C.S Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew.
Christian author and renowned apologist, C.S Lewis, can easily be defined as one of the most influential Christian writers of the 20th century; writing over 20 books in his lifetime, his most celebrated composition is the literary series The Chronicles of Narnia. The 6th of the published series is titled The Magician’s Nephew. Written in 1955, the novel has been resequenced to volume one of the series, setting the stage for the further adventures of in the land of Narnia.
(The quotes used here are pulled from Mrs. Wakeling’s World Literature class; their names have been put in parentheses for reference and credit.)
The storyline of The Magician’s Nephew follows young Digory Kike and his neighbor Polly Plummer as they get swept into the various magical worlds filled with otherworldly beings and metaphysical forces of good and evil. Digory and Polly embark on an adventure which leads them to stumble upon a connecting room between their two houses. In this room, there are a number of knickknacks and books. Laying on a red oaken tray are a number of lustrous yellow and green rings in pairs which the children would find, through the trickery of Uncle Andrew, transports them from their world to a realm of magic. While the children jump through the various magical terrains, they find themselves in a land where ruin has struck and they mistakenly awaken the cruel white witch, Jadis, who possesses “Satan like qualities” (anonymous). In the children’s attempt to flee, Jadis is swept up along with them to Earth where she attempts to reign, and the mortal world is “infected with the desire and temptation to sin” (anonymous). Digory and Polly eventually manage to send Jadis away from earth and in their quest stumble upon the newly made world of Narnia and the humble yet powerful lion Aslan. Jadis’s presence in Narnia has brought evil in its land but Aslan brings “justice to all his creatures” (Liza Kirk) much like Christian God.
Lewis uses Aslan and the other characters to symbolize the “idea of Christianity in a magical, indirect way” (Delaney O’Keefe). Lewis’ desire to give children “insight about the Bible and life lessons” is illustrated beautifully through his piece (Kameron Hawkins). The allusions to the Bible are revealed through the creation of the land of Narnia as well as the underlying theme of the book of “the struggle of temptation in the human condition” (Ethan Hirst). The portrayal of “the power of temptation” leads the reader to examine and digest “how it defines oneself,” fulfilling the purpose of the book by creating a simple enough storyline that parallels that of the Bible and lets readers of all ages indulge in the story of creation (Brianna Lippert). The harmonious storyline of the entire series is built upon the foundation set by the magician’s nephew, setting up the numerous references to creation both in Genesis and the realm of Narnia’s. The work is strong in its ability to “connect and symbolize the book of genesis” which was Lewis’ main intention as it was targeted toward younger children (Michael Puskas). Yet, despite it marketed toward a younger audience, it painted a “precise picture of what God’s work looks like” (Mia Fava). The various relationships created between the characters and the reader help transmogrify what is a seemingly childish idea into a mature outlook on various themes in the Christian life. The impact of the book is further characterized by the connections established to the readers’ own personal life, student Logan Adams felt that the use of “the value of…relationships [used] to defeat temptation” put in perspective the importance of his own relationships and the strength they have in his own life.
The book overall is a joy to read for people of all ages, and it opens a door to Christianity in one of the most beautiful ways. Taylor Rawley, senior at Orange Lutheran called it a “brilliant work”. Jaden Aguilar stated it “keeps you on your toes”. It is a work that is universally loved, allowing young children to further their dreams and “lets tired adults dream once more” (Luke Bahash).
Photo credits: e-reading.bz