Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Narnia: Walking In as a 20-Something

A classic children’s series written by a notably talented author. Like many notably talented authors, his works contain traces (albeit, obvious traces) of his beliefs as a person, values, traits, maybe even characteristics of the man behind the words. It’s safe to say that we all know that The Chronicles of Narnia is heavily influenced by Judeo-Christianity, particularly the concept of a higher, spiritual power (God) who rules all mankind. He most explicitly uses the terms “Son of Adam” and “Daughter of Eve” throughout the duration of Narnia.

Image taken from Goodreads

However, the purpose of this post isn’t to discuss what has been mentioned many times before. Although I’m sure I can debate and discuss the usage of Christianity in Lewis’ series, I would rather touch upon the literary goodness of it, purely for enjoyment purposes. I would like to, however, refer back to the series’ Christian tendencies, if only to discuss the underlying purpose of the text, which is synonymous to a modern-day Canterbury Tales - but maybe a little less “olde tyme” and definitely not as focused on sins and such. Maybe it would be better to liken Lewis to Chaucer, but I could include a number of Christian authors to compare Lewis to. Briefly, The Canterbury Tales are a series of stories told about different pilgrims and their vices. The Tales were told to children as an early kind of bible study material (can you imagine reading about some adulterous priest in a bible study circle). I suppose this is the only thing that directly connects the two works together, as Narnia is indeed a children’s series.

So why am I - a 20-something, broke university student, pursuing some form of higher education - enjoying a children’s series? Is it the different stories? The action? The “reading between the lines”? Or maybe NOT “reading between the lines”? Is it the fact that I can immerse myself in a completely different world, other than the one I know and (sort of) love?

Truth is, it’s all of that and more. It’s a colourful series that can potentially join the ranks of the timely classics (or is this already a thing). I have currently completed two out of the seven stories in the series and I am completely immersed in the beautiful land of Narnia. The Harper Collins adult edition has the entire Chronicle in the order that they see most fit. I was originally going to read it in the order of publication, but instead opted for the more economic and convenient option, which was to request that I receive the compiled adult Harper Collins edition for Christmas.

Of course, my Secret Santa came through and I have only now been able to take a crack at the series as a whole. I almost forget that it is a series meant for a younger audience when I speed through the chapters. I suppose the reason it has kept me so captivated as a 20-something is because it’s a wonderful break from all of the other long readings I have to do for my own program. The innocence of the characters (if only just a few, Edmund was a little nasty for most of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) almost makes me sigh in longing for those much simpler days. However, I wouldn’t trade in what I know now and what kind of person I am today just to re-live that kind of innocence, but rather I appreciate it a little more after delving into this series.

This post isn’t meant to be a review of The Chronicles of Narnia - there are a ton floating around, I’m sure - but I just wanted to share my thoughts on this series as I read it in my 20-something years. What I have once appreciated as a young child I find that I can now also appreciate as a young adult. Obviously, my perspectives are quite different now and I see these stories in a different light, however, that hasn’t hindered me from enjoying the series for what it is.


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  1. Quite often as an adult, we have the benefit of life experience and can see these children's classics with different eyes, I think.

    1. This is true. I appreciate it because, even though it's the same story, it's really not because I'm reading it with what I know now. It's like a completely new experience all over again, which makes re-reading books I haven't touched in years all the more exciting!

      Thanks for the comment (: