Jamie's Reviews > The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
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's review
May 08, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: i-was-young-once, read-in-2013
Read in April, 2013

Ugh, so conflicted! Another re-read for that class I'm assistant-teaching in.

OK, so here's the deal. This is a beautifully written and totally engaging story. Thrilling, really!

But can I get past the problematic indoctrinating tools at work? Like, thanks for the Christian allegory - which, whatever! I'm an atheist, but do yo thang, Jesus and disciples! - but does it have to have such a bizarre investment in physical force and, well, hints of "extermination." Of course, you can read this as ridding the world of fascism (considering its 1950 pub date, and its awareness of the London air raids, etc.)...but the extermination of "unfamiliar species" in Narnia may also have sinister resonances with another recent extermination plan in Europe...

Not to mention the fact that Susan and Lucy get to, what was it again? Right. Call for help and administer medicine. Even though they, like, actually want to fight. Sorry, "Daughters of Eve," your weak woman-arms will turn to pink blubber under the weight of steel, even if stupid Edmund already betrayed everyone and is also physically tiny. But you can help out! Just serve men, and cry over their bodies when they make ultimate heroic MAN sacrifices.

So it's hard to reconcile the aesthetic pleasure I took in re-reading this book with the very troubling notions of gender and morality that are being disseminated to readers with ostensibly fewer critical faculties (though who knows? maybe all those 3-6 year olds can do a right nice Foucauldian reading of monarchic power modalities in this book?). I'd offer it up with caveats, or otherwise be sure to put other, more feminist texts in front of whatever kiddo was reading this.
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