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message 1: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) NOTE: You can answer the following questions and discuss them here. You don't have to answer them all, though. Just the ones you want to answer. Or you can share your thoughts/review on the book in general.

To create a separate topic for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe: Go to the Discussion Board and click “new topic” at the top (it’s in fine print). Choose “June/July The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” for the folder, create your topic, and then click “post.”

Let’s start!


Since we were reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to study descriptions, most of the questions below relate to descriptions.

Overall: What did you think about the descriptions in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe?

Share: Was there a description you especially enjoyed? Tell us about it!


1. Lewis uses the description of the professor's house to create a magical feel filling the rooms with interesting and unusual objects, a harp, a suite of armor lending the feel of the unusual and variety to suggest a mystery of magic to the atmosphere for that setting. In what ways, do you use description to create an atmosphere in your writing?


2. “There was nothing else in the room at all except a dead blue-bottle on the window sill.”

QUESTIONS:

A) Did you know blue-bottle is an insect? The bluebottle is a fly. The first time I read this, I thought, how can a bottle be dead? Is that a way of saying it’s empty? LOL

B) Do you think children now would know the description if of a dead fly on the window sill?

(And I think this is a nice little detail.)


3. Lewis uses a literary illusion in describing a looking glass being in the wardrobe to reflect a famous English children's fantasy, Alice Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carol. Have you ever borrowed another writer's technique or paid homage to them in your writings?


4. The wardrobe only seems to be accessible to the children when they are not interested in it. It becomes a gateway to another world when it rains, and the kids can’t go outside, and when the kids are desperate to hide away from something or someone else? Why is this? What is the purpose of the wardrobe being so elusive to the children?


5. Lewis created a beautiful simile when he describes the Queen making Edmund a hot drink out of magical drops on the snow: "Edmund saw the drop for a second in midair, shining like a diamond." Do you like to use similes in your writing? Have you or would you use a simile in your writing to reveal your story?


6. “…and the first thing she saw was kind-looking old she-beaver sitting in the corner with a thread in her mouth working busily at her sewing machine…”

I love this description because my mom sews, so I can easily visualize this.

QUESTIONS:

A) Although most of the animals in Narnia talk, did you expect them to do such human things like sew and drink beer/wine?

B) How/why the animals talk and are “human” in many ways is explained in Book 1, The Magician’s Nephew. Do you think it should’ve been explained in this book for it to make sense or does the lack of “why” make it more magical for readers?

C) Which option would you have chosen if you were the writer?


7. The narrator often breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the reader. Does this technique allow the reader to embrace the story more or deter from the action taking place?


8. Lewis describes the act of Father Christmas giving the children toys to foreshadow the coming battle. Have you ever used this descriptive technique to foreshadow information in your writing or how might you use it in the future?


9. When Lucy says she could be brave enough to fight in a battle, Father Christmas says, “But battles are ugly when women fight.” What do you think he means by this?


10. “Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor and overhead you could see a blue sky between the treetops.”

“Then came a sound even more delicious than the sound of the water.”

QUESTION: Do you think “delicious” works in these examples? If not, what word(s) would you have used instead?


11. Aslan, the lion, is described as both good and scary. I think this is meant to add a feeling of seriousness to a story that can sometimes feel a little silly (do you agree or disagree). The wolves, on the other hand, are described as brutal. Does this mean that C.S. Lewis was a cat person who feared dogs, or did he just to have some other predatory animals be the bad guys?


12. There are a few Christian fundamentalist ideals in this story, some of which may offend some readers and or be considered controversial. Do these ideals reflect the past without taking away from the whimsy and wonder of the story or do they create present conflict and cast a shadow over the fun and fantastical elements of the story?


message 2: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) My Answers:

I really loved the description of the drop of liquid falling to the snow and turning into a hot drink for Edmund.

1. I always use description to create atmosphere. They are also a great way to depict mood (through a setting). If a place is magical, run-down, or scary, you can really bring that out with vivid details.

3. I've mentioned a book I loved as a child in one of my works-in-progress...Are You My Mother? By P.D. Eastman It was a lot of fun working that book in.

4. Well, the wardrobe is magical, so children can't want for it to work and bring them to a new world. Only the wardrobe decides. I think the purpose is to make it even more mysterious...you never know when/if it'll work. And perhaps to keep the children from using it whenever they want to, which could cause problems for Narnia.

5. I adore similes! But you have to be careful not to put too many so close together in your writing or they become really noticeable and their magic (usefulness) deteriorates a bit.

6. A) I did not expect them to drink wine or beer. lol I thought that was odd for animals. Can they get drunk, too?

B) I think either option would've worked...adding in the explanation so we understand the world and also leaving it out so the world is more magical. Both work.

C) I probably would've added a sentence or two to explain how they can talk and are so human, though. At least for readers who didn't read the first book.

7. There were moments when it was really distracting when the narrator spoke directly to us, but other times when it was fine. In the first book, it bothered me a lot more.

8. Foreshadowing is fun. I have put in little clues to hint at the future, but maybe not so obvious ones.

9. I'm actually not sure what Father Christmas means. As a feminist, I was instantly like, "Does he mean only men should fight because women are precious or because woman dying in battle is an awful thing or because only men know how to fight or perhaps he meant that women fight uglier than men?" I don't know. lol

10. Personally, I don't think "delicious" works in those sentences because I equate it with taste or scent or even how something looks. "Delicious" is described as "very pleasing and enjoyable" and "appealing to one of the bodily senses," so perhaps something can be described as "delicious" if it sounds, looks, smells, and tastes enjoyable.

I would've used "Shafts of stunning sunlight..." and "Then came a sound more heavenly..."

11. I think he wanted Aslan to appear very God-like...great and terrible. And the wolves were supposed to be on the Witch's side, so describing them as brutal works.

12. For me, it didn't take away from the whimsy. For the time it was published in, it probably made it more relate-able.


message 3: by Juneta, Book Club Moderator (last edited Jul 25, 2018 12:50PM) (new)

Juneta Key | 73 comments 1. Lewis uses the description of the professor's house to create a magical feel filling the rooms with interesting and unusual objects, a harp, a suite of armor lending the feel of the unusual and variety to suggest a mystery of magic to the atmosphere for that setting. In what ways, do you use description to create an atmosphere in your writing?

I like to use storms, fog, lightning, smells to create an atmosphere. The whole room thing now that I read it gives me some ideas for the future.


2. “There was nothing else in the room at all except a dead blue-bottle on the window sill.”

QUESTIONS:

A) Did you know blue-bottle is an insect? The bluebottle is a fly. The first time I read this, I thought, how can a bottle be dead? Is that a way of saying it’s empty? LOL

No. I did not know that. I thought it odd too but just kind of passed over it.

B) Do you think children now would know the description if of a dead fly on the window sill?

(And I think this is a nice little detail.)

No, I don't think children of today would get it but would remember if a teacher or parent pointed it out.

It is rather an unusual description that is no longer common. I also think it was a nice detail.

3. Lewis uses a literary illusion in describing a looking glass being in the wardrobe to reflect a famous English children's fantasy, Alice Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carol. Have you ever borrowed another writer's technique or paid homage to them in your writings?

No, but it is something to consider in the future when revising a story and trying to fix something.

4. The wardrobe only seems to be accessible to the children when they are not interested in it. It becomes a gateway to another world when it rains, and the kids can’t go outside, and when the kids are desperate to hide away from something or someone else? Why is this? What is the purpose of the wardrobe being so elusive to the children?

Maybe to teach them to have faith in themselves and what they believe to be true and staying on the path.

Maybe representing keeping the faith in trouble and in the worst of times it shows up as in "He is with us always"? Just guessing at possibilities since this is Christian fantasy.

5. Lewis created a beautiful simile when he describes the Queen making Edmund a hot drink out of magical drops on the snow: "Edmund saw the drop for a second in midair, shining like a diamond." Do you like to use similes in your writing? Have you or would you use a simile in your writing to reveal your story?

Not that I am aware of, but something to keep in mind for revising and to remember how used in this story.

6. “…and the first thing she saw was kind-looking old she-beaver sitting in the corner with a thread in her mouth working busily at her sewing machine…”

I love this description because my mom sews, so I can easily visualize this.

QUESTIONS:

A) Although most of the animals in Narnia talk, did you expect them to do such human things like sew and drink beer/wine?

Well, yeah growing up with cartoons I probably did expect human traits. I think he did a beautiful job of suspending disbelief and making us care without it feeling odd to think of them in human ways.

B) How/why the animals talk and are “human” in many ways is explained in Book 1, The Magician’s Nephew. Do you think it should’ve been explained in this book for it to make sense or does the lack of “why” make it more magical for readers?

I did not think to question because of cartoons. I expect it.

C) Which option would you have chosen if you were the writer?

I think he did a beautiful job. I have always loved The Chronicles of Narnia.

7. The narrator often breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the reader. Does this technique allow the reader to embrace the story more or deter from the action taking place?

It did not deter me at all, so I think he mastered it, but I think others should really be careful when using it as it could knock the reader out of the story..

8. Lewis describes the act of Father Christmas giving the children toys to foreshadow the coming battle. Have you ever used this descriptive technique to foreshadow information in your writing or how might you use it in the future?

No, but I plan to now.

9. When Lucy says she could be brave enough to fight in a battle, Father Christmas says, “But battles are ugly when women fight.” What do you think he means by this?

I think it was part of the writers generational thinking about women, chivalry and genre roles of the times he lived in peeking out at us in his writing.

It may also be a reference of HORROR of women and children in war having to fight to survive. In others words, women should not have to fight, and the fact they do, shows how horrific the state of affairs has degraded. Not sure.

10. “Shafts of delicious sunlight struck down onto the forest floor and overhead you could see a blue sky between the treetops.”

“Then came a sound even more delicious than the sound of the water.”

QUESTION: Do you think “delicious” works in these examples? If not, what word(s) would you have used instead?

For the language of the book, the time period, and it is a children's book, I think it worked.

Delicious can be a feeling as well as taste. I have heard/seen it used before like this but can't recall in order to give an example.

11. Aslan, the lion, is described as both good and scary. I think this is meant to add a feeling of seriousness to a story that can sometimes feel a little silly (do you agree or disagree). The wolves, on the other hand, are described as brutal. Does this mean that C.S. Lewis was a cat person who feared dogs, or did he just to have some other predatory animals be the bad guys?

I thought it was to create contrast for Aslan that is similar to the fact God is both loving and ferocious, while the brutality of the wolves takes the place of showing blood and gore.

It also creates an opposite contrast in Aslan e.g. as God is good and Devil is cruel, but God can be ferocious when it is needed since it is Christian fiction.

I think it does this in a subtle way that is not preachy and can be taken as is or even not thought about when reading the story. The author wrote it in such a way that the reader just knows certain things in deep point of view way.

12. There are a few Christian fundamentalist ideals in this story, some of which may offend some readers and or be considered controversial. Do these ideals reflect the past without taking away from the whimsy and wonder of the story or do they create present conflict and cast a shadow over the fun and fantastical elements of the story?

The wonder and whimsy were there for me.

I remember when I was younger knowing it was Christian fiction and wonder how it reflected Christianity because it did not stand out for me then, wherein, now I can see it.

It did not ruin my enjoyment.

I guess a lot of people enjoyed because the movie franchise did very well with it, in fact, Disney has started making the movie The Silver Chair in 2018 or will this winter.
https://www.narniaweb.com/2017/11/the...


There were issues in previous movies with actors not wanting to commit long-term, money issues with the scope of the movie, and director issue, and right issues, that kept them from continuing with this one last time.
https://www.hypable.com/narnia-the-si...

Of course, there will always be some nayers or people it will create controversy with just because the word Christian is attached to it but I think the movie will be hit like the last three. I loved them.

I hate the actors are too old and will not be able to return to the parts.

It will be interesting to see how close they can cast to keep us believing. Although they are saying it will be a whole new approach so that may not matter. Looking forward to. I will definitely go see it.


message 4: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) Juneta wrote: "1. Lewis uses the description of the professor's house to create a magical feel filling the rooms with interesting and unusual objects, a harp, a suite of armor lending the feel of the unusual and ..."

At least I wasn't the only one confused by "dead blue-bottle." HAHAHA

I actually did not know this series is considered Christian Fantasy/Fiction...I didn't look at the genre. Silly me. lol But I personally don't mind the Christianity that I noticed in the story. It didn't distract me, and I didn't think it was too much or too "in your face." It was subtle. At least for me. Then again, I didn't draw from it as much as what others would. But I did see Aslan as being God-like, which I enjoyed. I can easily imagine a lion...the kind of the jungle...as being God-like. :)

Another movie? That would be neat, but, yes, sad that the actors from the other two movies are grown.


message 5: by Roland (new)

Roland Clarke (goodreadscomroland_clarke) | 21 comments First - here's my review of the book: https://rolandclarke.com/2018/06/14/t...

I may get back to all the questions one day, but for now: I knew about blue-bottles, but then I'm a Brit so the background world is the one that I grew up in. Narnia was part of my childhood in a big way.


message 6: by Chrys (new)

Chrys Fey (chrysfey) Roland wrote: "I may get back to all the questions one day, but for now: I knew about blue-bottles, but then I'm a Brit so the background world is the one that I grew up in. Narnia was part of my childhood in a big way. "

The blue-bottles was my question. lol It'll be fun to see how many people knew what it meant and how many didn't.

I never read the Chronicles of Narnia as a child, so I'm reading the books with an adult mind. But I'm still enjoying the world. :)


message 7: by Roland (new)

Roland Clarke (goodreadscomroland_clarke) | 21 comments Chrys wrote: "Roland wrote: "I may get back to all the questions one day, but for now: I knew about blue-bottles, but then I'm a Brit so the background world is the one that I grew up in. Narnia was part of my c..."

I read them all as a child, then a few times since. The first time, I read them in the published order - so, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was first - then, I got to read them chronologically which gives a different perspective. The Magician's Nephew is my current favourite.


message 8: by Toi, Book Club Admin (new)

Toi Thomas (toithomas) | 103 comments I read this book as a child but never got around to reading the whole series. I didn't learn that The Magician's Nephew was first chronologically in the series until I was an adult. I meant to go back and read them all when the movies came out, but it never happened. I'll have to rectify that one day.


message 9: by Toi, Book Club Admin (new)

Toi Thomas (toithomas) | 103 comments 1. Using description to create atmosphere is very important. I often go back to do it after I’ve completed the bulk of the plot. It allows me to focus on the details without being distracted by action or dialog.

2, A). I had no idea the blue-bottle was a fly as a kid or an adult. I let my imagination take over on this one. It never occurred to me not to. I imagined an antique glass bottle, once used as a vase, turned on its side with remnants of dried leaves scattered in and around it; Its walls smudged and subtle cracks along the bottom. I thought this was a technique applying human-like traits to an inanimate object.

3. I recently wrote a short story where I pay homage to another book. The main character lives by the principles of the famous science fiction story I, Robot.

4. I like Juneta’s remarks here. I hadn’t considered this, but it fits.

Juneta: "Maybe representing keeping the faith in trouble and in the worst of times it shows up as in "He is with us always"

6,B). I think the explanation would have taken away some of the Magic for me, but then, if I’d read The Magician’s Nephew the whole experience may have been different. Still, like Juneta, I just kinda expected it.

7. Like Chrys, most of the time is wasn’t a big deal, but a few times it jolted me.

8. I do foreshadowing all the time. Sometimes it’s just as obvious as it was in this story, but other times I’m more subtle. It’s fun for me. It’s like having a little secret you’re hoping the reader doesn’t figure out too soon.

9. Yeah, this threw me off even as a kid. As a labeled tomboy, I always wondered why he said that. My initial reaction then was that I can do anything a boy can do. As an adult, I still felt that upon reading the words, but there was more to it. My understanding a war as a child was very different from my adult understanding.

I loved reading Chrys’s thought process, “Does he mean only men should fight because women are precious or because woman dying in battle is an awful thing or because only men know how to fight or perhaps he meant that women fight uglier than men?" Good stuff.

I agree with Juneta though. I’d like to think, to hope, it was more of the idea that; “women should not have to fight, and the fact they do, shows how horrific the state of affairs has degraded.” I think this is not so bad and idea; it doesn’t say that women can’t fight or aren’t able, but that things are so bad that women are choosing to go into battle when it should never get that bad.

10. I didn’t think these were bad descriptions, I just didn’t think delicious was the best word to use and to use it so close together. It just seemed like too much deliciousness without there being any food around.

12. I don’t think it took away from the whimsy and wonder at all, but thought it was a good question to ask. I enjoy reading about other cultures and religions, learning new fairytales and myths, being exposed to different ideas through fiction and magic, but some people may not. I think this has been the best adult re-read experience I’ve had in a long time. Going back to re-read books I read as a kid hasn’t always proven so positive an experience.


message 10: by Juneta, Book Club Moderator (last edited Jul 27, 2018 07:37AM) (new)

Juneta Key | 73 comments Toi wrote: "1. Using description to create atmosphere is very important. I often go back to do it after I’ve completed the bulk of the plot. It allows me to focus on the details without being distracted by act..."

I know I hate when I read something I loved as a child and it was not what I thought or does not create the same feeling in me.

I have had some music do that too. For one I was crazy about the song Escape by Rupert Holmes The Pina Colada song. It was only as an adult I realized it was about cheating. I still like it but it lost some of its magic for me.

Sometimes books have elements that you don't see as a kid but as an adult you do and they lose their magic. or thrall over you. Or you just grow up and don't feel the same way about life that allows that feeling.

I really like the fact that is not so for The Chronicles of Narnia.


message 11: by Toi, Book Club Admin (new)

Toi Thomas (toithomas) | 103 comments Juneta wrote: "I know I hate when I read something I loved as a child and it was not what I thought or does not create the same feeling in me...."

This happens a lot for me with movies too. Even when I was very little a could appreciate "movie magic" and the special qualities of this kind of storytelling. I was the only kid I knew who liked watching black and white films. Yet, when I look back at some of the movies I watch, a part of me wonders why my parents let me. They never let me watch anything with sex and nudity, but some of the films I watched as a kid had deep meanings and controversial topics that I didn't grasp until later in life.

Re-reading Peter Pan was tough. I still enjoyed it but not as much.


message 12: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 30 comments This is a series that I read many, many times up into my 20s. As a child, it was just delightful fantasy for me, but I ruined it for myself in my 20s by getting all serious and theological about the religious aspects, and I can't get past them now.

For Chrys, I don't know if I knew what a blue-bottle was the first time I read it. I certainly have known for a long time now (I'm not British, but I read so many British books from an early age that very little of the vocab is a surprise to me.

My reactions on a couple of the questions:
9. I was always bothered by the bit about women fighting, probably because even as a kid I was sick and tired of boys getting to have all the excitement, and girls being considered weaker. I'm afraid all I see in that comment is some of the sexism that Lewis imbibed with his culture.

11. I'm pretty sure Aslan is a lion because that's the "king of the jungle", and an animal that I think might even have Biblical significance. The cruelty of the wolves is of course necessary because they are the witch's minions, but it is also in keeping with the stereotypical notions of wolves coming out of the long tradition of children's stories--think of Little Red Riding Hood. It's an easy way to get a whole set of emotions and reactions in a few words, but I'm sorry to see wolves getting such a bum rap.

3. Literary allusion. In a way, all my mysteries are alluding to, or paying homage to, the early great, because they developed the genre. But I don't usually borrow anything the way Lewis used the looking glass in the wardrobe (I missed that, but it's an obvious bit of homage). Since my sleuth is a reader, I've made passing references to other books as she's at the library looking for the "latest Rhys Bowen" or something. I also went so far once as to throw in a reference to one of my own books, because it was perfect in the circs.

This all has me thinking about description, and the changes in styles. We are urged these days to keep description to a minimum, and for the most part, that's probably good. But I have to admire the use of small details to set scene and tone--like the dead fly on the windowsill. I will have to work on that kind of detail!

Lewis's breaking of the "4th wall" is another technique that has definitely gone out. It worked for me as a kid, but may be one of those things that we can admire, but not emulate, as tastes, dear Reader, have changed.


message 13: by Roland (new)

Roland Clarke (goodreadscomroland_clarke) | 21 comments Rebecca wrote: "This is a series that I read many, many times up into my 20s. As a child, it was just delightful fantasy for me, but I ruined it for myself in my 20s by getting all serious and theological about th..."

Just a brief 'reply' to Rebecca's comment on 11 - my detailed comments are still outstanding.

Aslan is definitely a lion and I'm convinced that C S Lewis knew that the 'word' was ancient - in fact, Hittite as the Lion Gate at Hattusa, their ancient capital, is called Aslan Kapi for its striking stone lions.

As for wolves getting a bum rap, that continues today where they are being re-introduced. Strange how people forget who the interlopers in the wilderness are. I always suggest that people read Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat for a real perspective on wolves - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...


message 14: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 30 comments Roland wrote: "Rebecca wrote: "This is a series that I read many, many times up into my 20s. As a child, it was just delightful fantasy for me, but I ruined it for myself in my 20s by getting all serious and theo..."

I'm sorry; my syntax was unclear. There is no doubt that Aslan is a lion, and my comment was about the *reason* he's a lion. I didn't know that about the Aslan Kapi.


message 15: by Roland (new)

Roland Clarke (goodreadscomroland_clarke) | 21 comments My misunderstanding - apologies, Rebecca.


message 16: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 30 comments Roland wrote: "My misunderstanding - apologies, Rebecca."

No worries. My bad, since I'm supposed to be a writer :p


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