Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why the best Allegory is Christian Allegory: III

Why Narnia is not Allegory

The first reason the Narnia stories are not allegory is because Lewis says they’re not allegory. Being a scholar of Medieval and Renaissance literature, he did not, ironically, like allegory all that much. His intention in writing the Narnia stories was to tell the Christian story without “stained-glassed windows.” Allegory would work to accomplish this but he wanted the freedom to tell Bunyan’s story while creating a new and different story. For example, the White Witch is a Satanic-like figure, but she is not "representing" Satan in an allegorical way (see comments on "How allegory works" on blog post below). The Witch is an evil sorceress who is inadvertantly brought into our world and then into Narnia by young Digory in the The Magician's Nephew.

The difference between allegory and Aslan is that Aslan actually is the Lion of Judah as he manifests himself in a different universe. He does not represent Christ, he is Christ in a fictional context. The parallel universe of Narnia that Lewis created is fictional, of course, but in the fictional reality of the novels, Narnia is as real as Lucy Pevencie’s England, and Aslan is as real as Christ. Narnia does not symbolize our world; it is an entirely different world all together. That being said, Lewis wasn’t attempting to create an alternative religion of Aslan-worship. His purpose was to lead his readers to the real Jesus Christ. In the 1950s, a concerned mother wrote to C.S. Lewis stating that her son “loved Aslan more than Jesus.” In a lengthy and delightful reply, Lewis writes, “But Laurence can’t really love Aslan more than Jesus, even if he feels that’s what he is doing. For the things he loves Aslan for doing or saying are simply the things Jesus really did and said. So that when Laurence thinks he is loving Aslan, he is really loving Jesus: and perhaps loving Him more than he ever did before.”

Next blog: Why Christian Allegory is the best kind of Allegory

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