Tuesday, May 22, 2012

 

Two Excerpts From And One About The Chronicles of Narnia


And the longer and more beautifully the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring. Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.

Source: C. S. Lewis. The Magician's Nephew in The Chronicles of Narnia. (New York: HarperCollins, 2004) p. 75.


"Then I [Emeth] fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, 'Son, thou art welcome.' But I said, 'Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.' He answered, 'Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.' Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, 'Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one?' The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, 'It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites--I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child?' I said, 'Lord, thou knowest how much I understand.' But I said also (for the truth constrained me), 'Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days.' 'Beloved,' said the Glorious One, 'unless thy desire had been for me thou shouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.'

Source: C. S. Lewis. The Last Battle in the The Chronicles of Narnia. (New York: HarperCollins, 2004) pp. 756-757.


In the field of literature, myth usually does not mean a "fictitious story, or unscientific account, theory, belief, etc." (literary critics do not dismiss something as just a myth). Instead, to Lewis and Tolkien, myths deal with matters beyond and above everyday life, concerning origins, endings, aspirations, purpose and meaning, in concepts or narratives that appeal to the imagination and the emotions rather than the intellect. They are nonrational and nonintellectual, not irrational or anti-intellectual. Thus Tolkien says that myth has a "total (unanalysable) effect." Myth, Lewis adds, "deals with impossibles and preternaturals." The experiences that myths generate are serious and awe-inspiring, conveying a sense of the numinous. Myths open huge vistas, plumb depths of the emotions and the spirit. The sheer imaginativeness of such stories, like that of much poetry, adds to life, creates sensations we never had before, and enlarges our conception of possible experience.

Source: Peter J. Schakel. The Way into Narnia: A Reader's Guide (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005). p. 34.


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