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The Danger of Gluttony

Critics have proposed that each of the seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia
addresses one of the seven deadly sins. Whether or not this is true, it is certainly the
case that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe specifically focuses on gluttony.
Edmund's descent into the Witch's service begins during his frantic consumption of
the magic Turkish Delight. Since this is enchanted Turkish Delight, Edmund cannot
be held accountable for his gluttony as if he were overindulging in ordinary candy.
The real sin occurs when Edmund allows himself to fixate on the Turkish Delight
long after he leaves the Witch. Edmund's consumption of the Turkish Delight may
also be a reference to the sin of Adam and Eve, when they ate from the Tree of
Knowledge. Adam and Eve also committed a sin of consumption, and God punishes
them as well. Edmund's gluttony for the Turkish Delight alludes to Adam and Eve's
desire to eat the apple.

The Power of Satan

Edmund is a traitor and his life is forfeit to the White Witch, just as any sinner's
life is forfeit to Satan after death without the intervention of God. The White Witch
may not be an exact representation of Satan—the imagery that surrounds her does not
quite fit that of the devil himself. Perhaps she is a servant of Satan and an overlord of
Narnia—Narnia's special patron demon. The Witch claims the lives of all Narnians
who sin irrevocably, an allusion to Satan's claim of the souls of such sinners.

Humankind's Redemption

Not everything in Narnia directly parallels the story of Jesus, but the similarities are
too striking to ignore. Aslan sacrifices his life to save Edmund, just as Christ gave his
life to save mankind. Through Aslan's death, Edmund's sin is expunged, and Edmund
is permitted to live. Similarly, mankind is permitted to live in heaven now that
Christ's death has expunged Adam's original sin when he disobeyed God in the
Garden of Eden. Lewis's goal is to present us with a variation on the Christian legend.
Narnia presents us with a different perspective on faith, and helps the story of Jesus
come to life.

Motifs

Seasons

The Witch imposes an enchanted, eternal winter on Narnia, symbolizing a dead,


stagnant time. Nothing grows, animals hibernate, and people crouch around fires
rather than enjoying the outdoors. Nearly every human being has a visceral negative
reaction to winter, even when it is a normal length. We can imagine how quickly an
eternal winter would become intolerable. The Witch's winter destroys the beauty and
the life in Narnia. There is a pristine appeal to woods blanketed in snow and frozen
waterfalls, but our overall impression is one of a barren, empty land. The season of
winter represents that Narnia has fallen under an evil regime. As snow falls, so does
the land of Narnia. The Witch's snow hides all traces of Aslan or the Emperor-
Beyond-the-Sea. Narnia is undoubtedly bleak and grim.
How much more wondrous, then, is the spring that occurs when Aslan arrives in
Narnia. Of course, Christmas occurs before spring can come, because Christmas is the
birth of Christ. It is Christmas that signals hope for mankind: with the birth of Christ,
we are given the hope of new life. Spring follows Christmas and all of a sudden the
woods are completely alive—flowers are blooming, springs and brooks are chuckling,
birds are singing, and delightful smells waft past on gentle breezes. This is no
ordinary spring, just as the Witch's winter was no ordinary winter. The spring is just
as enchanted as the winter, only now Narnia is experiencing the epitome of life rather
than death.

Symbols

Aslan %

In the allegory of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Aslan represents Christ.
Aslan's death to save Edmund's life and his subsequent resurrection are clear
references to the life of Christ. Lewis's novel makes some essential changes to the
figure of Christ that makes Aslan more accessible to children than the Christ they
learn about in church. Lewis's method worked well—he even received a letter from a
very distraught little boy pleading for help because he could not help loving Aslan
more than Jesus, even though he knew he was supposed to love Jesus above
everything else. The very shift from a man to a lion is quite significant. Christ is a
human being, which is both confusing and compelling, particularly for a child. Christ
seems almost too familiar to a small child, blurring the boundary between a god who
deserves reverence and a friend who deserves affection. The beauty of the figure of a
lion is that a child would have no problems showing both emotions for a lion. A lion,
as king of the forest, is fearful and intimidating. The lion is also a big cat, and Lewis
emphasizes this side of Aslan by depicting him as romping and playing merrily with
the children. A talking animal at once inspires love and respect, magic and mystery.
Lewis adapts the figure of Jesus for children while still maintaining all the essential
characteristics of Christ.

The Stone Table

The Stone Table refers to the stone tablets that Moses brought down from Mt.
Sinai, according to the Bible. These tablets contain the Ten Commandments and they
represent an older, stricter form of religion. In the days when the Ten Commandments
were brought down from the mountain, infractions against God would be punishable
by death—retribution was swift, harsh, and irrevocable. When Aslan rises from the
dead, the Stone Table is shattered, signifying the end of an older, crueler time and the
advent of a newer, kinder era. Aslan has defeated death by rising from the dead,
signaling the end of harsh customs and death as an acceptable punishment. Instead,
human beings enforce justice and mete out punishments.

The sea

There are only a few passing references to the sea in The Lion, the Witch, and the
Wardrobe, but they are significant because of the context. We only get a glimpse of
the sea and we learn that the Emperor-Over-the-Sea, who is Aslan's father, is God
himself. The sea becomes a boundary between Narnia, the Earth, and "Aslan's
country," or heaven. Lewis reveals in later novels, such as Voyage of the Dawn
Treader, that it is actually possible to physically sail across the sea to Aslan's country.
Moreover, the sea is also a boundary between Narnia and our world. In traditional
imagery, the sea often represents death, and that seems rather appropriate here—but
not death in the sense that we have come to know and dread it, as the Grim Reaper
with a hood and a scythe, rather, it is death that is life, or death as rebirth into heaven.

Evaluate the character of Edmund. To what extent is he a helpless victim of the


Witch's deceit (and Turkish Delight), and to what extent is he the master of his own
fate?

We can argue that the Turkish Delight enchanted Edmund, and he was compelled to
befriend the Witch and be a traitor to his siblings. Lewis, however, does not seem to
endorse the idea that Edmund lacked complete control of his actions. Lewis does not
condemn Edmund, but he makes it clear that Edmund lacks morals and maturity.
Lewis does not excuse Edmund's behavior by linking it to the Witch's magic candy.
Edmund succumbs to the temptation of the Turkish Delight without a struggle. If
Lewis had written that Edmund was conflicted and tried to control his desires for
Turkish Delight, Edmund would have deserved more of our sympathy. Edmund does
not put in the effort to fight his greed. Edmund fixates on the Turkish Delight
consciously and constantly, even after he is away from the Witch. Edmund allows his
greed for the Turkish Delight to impair his judgment and blind him to Witch's cruelty.
Aslan also does not excuse Edmund's behavior because of the Turkish Delight.
Edmund's sin is not that he indulges in the Turkish Delight, but that Edmund's greed
causes him to make poor decisions and endanger his siblings and the land of Narnia.
Lewis's portrayal of Edmund condemns the "devil made me do it" excuse.

What does Narnia symbolize?

We might be tempted to argue that Narnia represents the simple, unchallenged faith
that lies in a child's heart. We might also think that Narnia does not represent anything
in our world except perhaps the earth itself. Narnia is the one component of the book
that is literal and can stand on its own without the Christian legend. In the novel, the
children really do travel to another world. There is not just an allegorical journey that
takes place in the childrens' psyches or dreams. This other world of Narnia adheres to
the same basic rules and structure as our world. They have seasons like we do, and
they believe in right and wrong—and that killing someone is wrong. Christians
believe that we are united by one God, and by his only Son, and by the laws that bind
God and all of His creations. Narnian world is a Christian world, except the Narnian
god takes the shape of a lion instead of a man. The Pevensies, like the reader, learn
about God and Christ through their adventure in Narnia. Lewis uses Narnia because it
fulfills a child's fantasy of another world. The magical land of Narnia makes the story
of Christianity more accessible, but it does not actually represent anything in
allegorical terms. Narnia is the setting for the allegory, but it is not a direct symbol
which corresponds to any one thing in our world.

Suggested Essay Topics

Do you feel that C. S. Lewis's representation of the White Witch is sexist? Is Lewis a
misogynist (someone who hates women)?
Does the wardrobe serve an allegorical function? Explain.

What is the effect of Lewis's depiction of Aslan as a lion? Does it adequately express
the nuances of Christ's character?

Why is Lucy, the youngest child, the first to enter Narnia, and Edmund, the next
youngest, the second to enter? Is this a coincidence, or is Lewis making a point about
the ability of younger children to be more open-minded?

Major Themes
An Alternative Education

Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy stay with the Professor at his house in the country
during the school holiday. Presumably, the children are to be presented with an
alternative education to supplement the one provided by their schools. The Professor
gives Peter and Susan a strange yet valuable lesson in logic when he suggests that
Lucy may be telling them the truth about Narnia. Additionally, the Professor
repeatedly expresses his exasperation with the school system, lending credence to the
possibility that Lewis himself was frustrated with the English educational system. The
increasingly negative personality that Edmund has been exhibiting at school worries
Peter and Susan. Their quest in the world of Narnia, however, leads the children
through a process of spiritual transformation that is particularly significant for
Edmund.

In Narnia, the children are exposed to crucial lessons about friendship, loyalty, good
judgment, forgiveness, faith, courage, and self-sacrifice. The reader is invited along
on this journey, but learning these lessons requires imagination and a willingness to
trust in the simple, clear logic that suggests that a world like Narnia might actually
exist. The universe that Lewis presents to his readers becomes a vehicle through
which he offers an alternative means for learning the crucial elements of personal and
spiritual growth.

Logic and Faith

When Peter and Susan approach the Professor with their concerns about Lucy and her
story about Narnia, the Professor leads them through a simple exercise in logic, in
which they take what they know to be true (Lucy is a truthful girl) and what they have
observed (Lucy has not gone mad) in order to reach the logical conclusion. This
conclusion, the Professor suggests, is that the story of Narnia is true. Acceptance of
this logical conclusion, however, requires a significant amount of faith. In this
manner, Lewis constructs the scaffolding for a narrative that will enable the reader to
believe in the existence of a place like Narnia.

The skepticism that detracts from the possibility that Lucy's story about Narnia is true
is expressed through the character of Edmund, who questions the benevolence of the
robin, Mr. Tumnus, and Mr. Beaver. The White Witch herself also expresses
skepticism about whether or not Aslan will keep the promise he has made to her. In
each of these cases, there is a logical argument that can be made in support of faith,
yet the skeptics exhibit little willingness to accept the goodness of the other
characters.

Childhood

This story can be read as a children's story, and Lewis certainly makes use of this
genre, as the form is essentially that of a fairy tale. However, more can be said about
childhood in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Lucy, the youngest, is the first to
express curiosity about the wardrobe. Without her pure, innocent curiosity, the
children would never have traveled to Narnia. Throughout the story, Lucy is depicted
as the most observant of the characters. In the end, even as she takes the throne, she
maintains a delightful, childlike quality.

Through Lucy's innocence, Lewis shows the importance of clinging to what one
knows to be true, loyalty, friendship, and genuine faith. If one possesses these
attributes, he appears to believe, there is no place for skepticism.

Christian Symbolism

Lewis was clearly influenced by his Christian beliefs when he wrote this story, though
it can also be read as a simple tale of human growth. The stories of the Passion of
Christ and the Resurrection of Christ are reflected in the character of the lion Aslan,
who is the son of the deified Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Aslan arrives in Narnia to
save it from the White Witch. His decision to allow himself to be killed by the witch
in Edmund's place echoes Christ's willingness to die for the sins of mankind. Both
Christ and Aslan walk to their deaths filled with a heavy sadness, fearful of the pain
and the suffering that they are about to endure, and struggle to maintain their faith that
they will indeed be brought back to life. In a scene recalling the crucifixion of Christ,
Aslan is tied down to the Stone Table and slain with a knife. After some time, Aslan
returns to life, and is more magnificent than ever. His resurrection inspires wonder in
Susan and Lucy, who both witnessed his death.

Courage

Peter and Edmund both come of age by translating their specific skills into
remarkable acts of courage, particularly in battle. Peter exhibits his valor by killing
the grey wolf, and Edmund shows his courage by making the most of the clean slate
he has been given, smashing the White Witch's wand during the last battle. Aslan
knights both boys in order to reward their bravery. Aslan is another example of a
courageous character, because he faces death without turning his back on his promise.

Forgiveness

When Edmund is rescued from certain death at the hand of the White Witch, he has a
long talk with Aslan, the contents of which no one knows except for the lion and
Edmund. Edmund is forgiven by Aslan, as well as his brother and sisters, all of whom
agree that the past is the past. The supreme act of forgiveness and self-sacrifice is
made by Aslan, who accepts death at the hand of the White Witch in Edmund's place.
He believes that Edmund's life is worth dying for, in spite of his past actions. Lewis
appears to believe that forgiveness for past mistakes is the way that relationships heal
and strengthen. It is also the foundation for a strong community.

Friendship and Loyalty

Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, the faun, are the first true friends that we see in The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe. Lucy gives away her handkerchief, and Mr. Tumnus refuses
to turn his new friend in to the White Witch. Friendship is later exemplified in the
characters of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who lead the children to the Stone Table, where
they find Aslan. Mr. Beaver shows Lucy's handkerchief as a sign that he is a friend of
Mr. Tumnus's and, therefore, a friend of Lucy's. Lucy's show of loyalty to Mr.
Tumnus is also a driving force behind the story, in that the characters do all that they
can to save Mr. Tumnus.

Meals

Lucy's lunches with Mr. Tumnus and the wholesome meal prepared by Mr. and Mrs.
Beaver stand in stark contrast to Edmund's endless appetite for the Turkish Delights
given to him by the White Witch. The meals with Mr. Tumnus and Mr. and Mrs.
Beaver are accompanied by friendship and useful conversation, including stories
about the forest, and information about Aslan. The White Witch's gift of Turkish
Delights, however, is purely evil and intended to create in Edmund an unhealthy,
insatiable appetite for more, thereby transforming him into her slave.

The tea tray that Father Christmas presents to the Beavers and the children, along with
the breakfast in the forest that the White Witch and Edmund stumble upon, reveal that
meals can serve as celebrations of good cheer, friendship, and family. The White
Witch, however, calls the meal sheer "gluttony", and changes the creatures consuming
it into stone. The fact that the White Witch herself is never seen eating suggests that
she is different from the other, "good" creatures.

Suggested Essay Questions


1. How does the Professor demonstrate logic? How does this demonstration
enable him - and us - to believe in Narnia?
2. How does Edmund's character change over the course of the story? Be sure to
address how he comes to earn the title "Edmund the Just."
3. What moral values does Aslan's death at the hand of the White Witch teach
us?
4. Why would the creation of an alternate universe such as Narnia be useful to a
writer like C. S. Lewis?

5. How does the reader know that the White Witch's magic is weakening? How
is the strength of her power reflected in the seasons?
6. What is Mr. Tumnus's crime? What do you think his arrest and punishment
tell us about justice in Narnia under the White Witch's reign?
7. How are the actions of Aslan, Peter, and Edmund courageous?
8. How is the children's journey into Narnia an alternative "education" to the one
they experience in school?
9. What moral lesson does Aslan teach Lucy with regards to how she uses her
bottle of fire-flower juice?
10. How is the opposition between skepticism and faith expressed in the story?
11. What is the significance of Father Christmas's arrival? What values might C.S.
Lewis be trying to express using the character of Father Christmas?
12. How do meals and the consumption of food express differences in ideas of
friendship and trust?

Analysis

As all four children stand together in Narnia for the first time and it becomes clear
that Edmund has been lying about not having been there before, the rift between the
brothers worsens. Peter, the eldest, has already lectured Edmund for tormenting his
sister, and he now calls him "a poisonous beast." Peter is clearly the leader of the
group: he is responsible, thoughtful, and well-liked by his siblings. Edmund, on the
other hand, is a mean-spirited boy, always picking on his little sister and the other
children at school. When Peter criticizes him, Edmund reacts with barely-disguised
hatred. It is partly Edmund's hatred for Peter that leads him to betray his siblings.
Indeed, Edmund's hunger for revenge and tyrannical personality are reminiscent of
the White Witch herself.

In this chapter, the White Witch is revealed as a cruel, illegitimate ruler. Lewis never
directly explains how she has come to power, but states that her rule has upset the
balance of the seasons. She is a creature of the wintertime, and imposes the hostile
environment in which she is most comfortable on all of the forest creatures. The
notice nailed into the carpet in Mr. Tumnus's cave also implies the existence of a
Secret Police, which is a lightly-veiled reference to the German Secret Police that
inspired such terror during World War II. The White Witch maintains control over
Narnia largely by harnessing the fear that she inspires in others.

Edmund's natural skepticism is revealed when he questions whether the robin and Mr.
Tumnus are "good", although he is quick to assume that the White Witch is
benevolent because she has provided him with Turkish Delight and has promised him
power. Peter counters Edmund's skepticism by exercising the logic he has learned
from the Professor. He deduces that the door to Narnia is most likely not a constant
one, and suggests that they should not count on being able to return for food. Next, he
concludes that Mr. Tumnus is a good faun because he saved Lucy from the clutches of
the White Witch. Furthermore, he deducts that the White Witch must be evil, because
she has declared it a serious crime to be friends with human beings. Peter also
concludes that the red-breasted robin must be a friend because stories usually depict
robins as "good". This is another example of Peter's use of logic: he makes decisions
based on his past experiences. Lewis appears to be hinting that kernels of pure truth
often lie at the heart of fairy tales and myths, thereby lending credence to his own
whimsical story.

Analysis
With Aslan's life and strength restored, he runs as fast as he can to the home of the
White Witch, where his breath returns life to the stone statues. Aslan's regenerative
powers cast him as a god-like figure. All of the White Witch's evil works are reversed,
redeeming those who had been punished for their "crimes" against the "Queen". Mr.
Tumnus's return and the reappearance of the handkerchief of friendship signal that
things are falling back into place.

The resolution of the story occurs during the battle against the White Witch. Lewis
carefully includes the detail that the White Witch holds a stone knife as she fights
Peter, something Father Christmas warned Lucy and Susan not to do ("Battles are
ugly when women fight," he said.) This passage has received a great deal of criticism
from feminist thinkers: Lewis portrays the White Witch - an aggressive and ambitious
woman - as evil and "ugly", while Susan and Lucy, benevolent "Daughters of Eve",
refrain from fighting and participate in the battle only by ministering to the wounded.

Aslan is the one who slays the Witch: this is another reversal in the narrative, since it
was she who ended his life at the Stone Table, albeit temporarily. The narrative again
skips over the violence of the killing, most likely out of sensitivity to younger readers.
The White Witch, however, has no Deeper Magic to appeal to. She is the ultimate
"traitor" to both Narnia and the Emperor's moral law, and Aslan metes out the proper
punishment of death, thereby fulfilling the prophecy. While Edmund is forgiven,
because he has successfully discovered his fundamental goodness, the White Witch is
beyond redemption.

Over the course of the battle, Peter comes of age: when everything is over, Lucy
notices that his face has grown older. He has built on his prior experiences and has
shown that he is capable of leading Aslan's army against the White Witch without the
lion to guide him. Edmund, likewise, proves his courage by fighting valiantly; at last,
he proves that he has learned to use good judgment, rightly perceiving that the source
of the Witch's power lies in her wand. Edmund succeeds in destroying the wand,
helping pave the way to victory.

Lucy uses the gift of the vial from Father Christmas to heal Edmund of his wounds in
the same way that Peter used his gifts of the sword and shield to answer Susan's call
for help. Edmund's gift, of course, is the forgiveness of his brother and his sisters, in
addition to Aslan's act of self-sacrifice, though Edmund may not ever be aware of the
extent of the lion's selflessness. Aslan teaches Lucy not to favor one life over any
other; even though she is personally tied to Edmund, she must learn that all lives are
equally valuable. Lucy shares the vial of cordial with all of the wounded creatures,
and this becomes one of the fundamental lessons that will help her become a wise
ruler.

Edmund's transformation is completed when Lucy gives him the juice of the fire-
flower, healing him both physically and symbolically. Finally, Edmund too comes of
age: his character has undergone profound internal changes over the course of the
story, and in the battle against the White Witch he finally reveals how far he has
come. Like Peter, he is rewarded for his courage and made a Knight. The rift between
the brothers appears to be healed, and even seems to have reached a deeper level than
ever before. Peter demonstrates his awareness of how much Edmund has changed by
expressing admiration for Edmund's quick thinking on the battlefield. After the
children assume their thrones, Edmund becomes known as "Edmund the Just". To be
"just", Lewis implies, one must have experience both with justice and with injustice.

Susan's character is somewhat neglected throughout the story. Although she is a


constant, gentle presence, she has little if any impact on the dramatic events taking
place. This may largely be a consequence of the fact that she and Edmund do not
visibly clash; since it is he who is the center of the tension in the tale, Susan has little
to do if she does not directly confront him. Susan is calm, gentle, cautious, and
practical; in other words, she possesses characteristics ideally suited for a queen.
Lucy, in contrast, is far more spirited, and thus plays a greater role in the progression
of the plot.

The children's reign is just, peaceful, and good, standing in direct contrast to the reign
of the White Witch, with her Secret Police and everlasting winter. They become very
much a part of Narnia, and after some time even forget about their previous lives.
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, in other words, become a part of the fantasy. Their
memories are sparked, however, when they see the lamp-post, and return to them
completely once they tumble out of the wardrobe, back into the very moment in
which they were hiding from Mrs. Macready and the tour group. Mrs. Macready,
oblivious to the events that have taken place, announces to the group that there is
nothing of value in the Wardrobe Room, suggesting that the children's experience is
privileged. (The idea of "privilege" is further intensified by Lewis' illustration of
monarchical reign in his story; the experience of the truth, in the end, is limited to
only a select few.) Now it is Narnia that seems like a dream, but they believe in their
experience, and the lessons they learned remain with them. The Professor believes
their story entirely because his past experiences have shown him that the children are
truthful. Their fantastic story, therefore, must be real. Through this story, Lewis
suggests that fables are not impossible, but are at the very least truthful in the lessons
that they teach.

When Lewis allowed some of his friends to read the first draft of The Lion, the Witch
and the Wardrobe, a few voiced disdain for the appearance of Father Christmas,
feeling that the character jarred with the tone of the rest of the story, as his image
stems from pagan origins that contrast with the more traditional mythical landscape of
Narnia. In the end, however, Lewis kept the character, and, over time, Father
Christmas's appearance in Narnia has been a particular source of delight to readers.
Father Christmas, it seems, is so famous that rumors of his existence have permeated
the border between Narnia and the "real" world. In other words, Lewis seems to be
suggesting that all myths and fantasies that exist in one world harbor kernels of truth
that are quite real and alive in other worlds. When the myth becomes "true" by way of
being "seen", the reader's reaction is one of awe and inspiration.

As evidence of spring spreads through the forest and the Witch, Edmund and the
Dwarf must abandon the sledge, Edmund begins to "see" the details of spring. He
takes special delight in the flowers, the sounds of rushing water, and the birds singing.
This newfound, genuine appreciation of life signals not only the that the Witch's
magic is weakening, that Aslan draws near, and that Father Christmas has come and
gone, but also that Edmund himself is experiencing a rebirth. He initially misjudged
the Witch and repressed his own intuitions, but the truth has been revealed to him,
heightening his ability to "see" the world around him.
Analysis

This first chapter immediately situates the reader, pulling him into the narrative and
introducing him to the wonders of Narnia. The time is firmly established: it is
wartime, and the children have been evacuated to the safety of the countryside for the
summer holidays. The house is a fertile place for exploration, and from the beginning
the reader gathers that the children, while on holiday, are about to be educated in
another way - a way that they would never experience in school.

The children's individual reactions to the Professor immediately give the readers
insight into their personalities. While the Professor is described as very old and
unmarried, he inspires fear in Lucy, and mockery from Edmund. The attention paid to
the different views expressed by the two younger siblings foreshadows the conflict
that is to come. Additionally, we immediately learn that Lucy reacts with humility and
timidity to the unknown, while Edmund reacts with disrespect.

Lucy is the youngest of the children, and perhaps the most apt to believe in a fantasy.
She is also the first to peek into the wardrobe that leads into Narnia. She is the logical
character to choose as the primary protagonist, since she is the youngest, and thus
more open to the joys of wonder, belief, and curiosity for curiosity's sake. There is
nothing about the empty room or the wardrobe to spark one's curiosity; in fact, it is
something that most would overlook, as is shown at the very end of the story, when
Mrs. Macready, the housekeeper, skips over the room with the group of sight-seers.
The fantasy world, it seems, is beyond the attention of adults, or at least of adults who
do not like children. Lucy's pure, childlike curiosity, however, is rewarded by the
appearance of a strange entryway, and an even stranger adventure.

By beginning the story with "Once there were four children" and concluding the first
chapter with Lucy in a strange wood beyond the wardrobe, encountering a faun,
Lewis successfully links the reader's own curiosity to the narrative. There is hardly
any time, the reader notes in retrospect, to question the veracity of Lucy's experience.
It is simply experienced. As the narrative unfolds, however, and as Lucy relates what
has happened, the reality of the experience comes into question.

It is also important to note the seasonal difference between the summer holiday and
the winter's night that Lucy walks into: everything pleasurable about a summer
holiday is reversed in Narnia. The soft fur coats hanging in the wardrobe transform
into cold, prickly fir trees. At the same time, there is still a sense of wonder. Lucy has
discovered a doorway into a fantasy land, and the lamp-post, though an odd sight in
the middle of a wood, strikes the reader almost like a painting in which the images do
not combine on a purely rational level, and yet make sense within the context of the
work. For Lucy, the lamp-post is the first signal that the wood she has entered is not a
regular wood, closely followed by the second signal: the appearance of the faun.

From the start of Chapter 7, Edmund's skeptical nature is underscored by his inability
to understand that the beaver is benevolent. Lucy's belief that Mr. Tumnus is a good
faun has, however, proved accurate - just as Peter's belief that Lucy would make a
good leader proved to be correct. In this case, Mr. Beaver offers substantive evidence
of his good nature by presenting Lucy with the very same handkerchief that she had
given to Mr. Tumnus. Token gifts are a theme that reappears frequently throughout
the novel: gifts are often used as narrative devices that move the journey forward, and
as symbols of trust and friendship that bind characters together even when they are
virtual strangers. Mr. Beaver proves that he is trustworthy by presenting the children
with Lucy's gift, and then cements their opinion of him by offering them dinner and
giving them information about Narnia, the White Witch, and Aslan.

The name "Aslan" is heard for the first time in this chapter, and the reaction that his
name elicits is an interesting one: the children all feel a sense of mystery, but for
Edmund, the mystery is mingled with horror. His character is at odds with Aslan's
very existence, while the rest are filled with a sense of warmth and peace that reminds
them of the coming of summer. In fact, each child's reaction to the name "Aslan"
appears to express their very essence: Peter feels brave; Susan feels graceful; Lucy
feels excited; and Edmund feels frightened.

The character of Aslan himself is introduced with great care. We hear about him long
before we ever see him, thereby heightening the sense of anticipation. Mr. and Mrs.
Beaver both express wonder that they have met real Sons of Adam and Daughters of
Eve. In a clever reversal hinted by the book on Mr. Tumnus's shelf entitled Is Man a
Myth?, human beings are talked of, but never actually seen. Similarly, although Aslan
has not been seen in a very long time, he is nonetheless a figure that the creatures of
the forest have no trouble believing in. The White Witch, by contrast, is very much
present: her magic is palpable, and Mr. Beaver explains that she aspires to be human,
but is, in fact, an imposter. Her desire to be a real human is an expression of her
insatiable craving for the power that the children innately possess by virtue of their
humanity. The "almost human" aspect of the White Witch is emphasized by her
genealogy, which Lewis grounds in the Hebrew myth of Lilith, Adam's first wife.
Historically, Lilith has been cast as the "darker" side of femininity: she is a woman
characterized by insatiable sexual cravings and alliances with demons. Eve, by
contrast, is often portrayed as the "proper", obedient wife. (Note: As Lilith was
created at the same time as man during the seven days of creation - and not fashioned
from Adam's rib - she has since become a symbol for the feminist movement.) The
link between the White Witch and Lilith has been heavily criticized by feminists, and
has been interpreted as a reinforcement of Lewis's misogynistic tendencies.

Mr. Beaver also furthers the siblings' understanding of the prophecy that is a topic of
much discussion in the forest. According to the prophecy, when two Sons of Adam
and two Daughters of Eve assume the four thrones at Cair Paravel, the White Witch
will be defeated. Mr. Beaver essentially suggests that the children are the ones who
will fulfill the prophecy. The first step that they must take is to reach the Stone Table.
The trouble, of course, is that without Edmund all four thrones cannot be filled. The
outcome of the journey, therefore, rests on whether Edmund will be able to resist
temptation and rejoin his brother and sisters.

The evening that the children spend with the Beavers is yet another example of the
theme of shared meals, recalling Lucy's lunches with Mr. Tumnus and Edmund's
enchanted snack in the sledge of the White Witch. The image of a house being opened
to visitors and a meal being shared intensifies the trust that binds the community
together. The image also recalls the story of Christ sharing a meal with his disciples
and being betrayed by a single man: like Judas, Edmund leaves the Beavers' house,
headed for the home of the White Witch. Edmund betrays his brother and sisters, as
well as Aslan, whom he has not yet met.

It is important to note that Lewis places Lucy, the youngest of the children and "a
truthful girl," in a privileged position: she is the first to visit Narnia, the first to see the
red-breasted robin, and the first to notice Edmund's disappearance. The narrative
seems to suggest that "seeing is believing," in that sight is the key to a belief which
aims for an absolute good. Narnia is to be explored; the bird is to be followed; and
Edmund's eventual transformation is to be trusted in.

When Edmund eats the Turkish Delight he is being gluttonous, has fallen into
temptation and betrayed his family. “Children’s lit. demands not only that its heroes
eat in a civilized manner, thus avoiding gluttony, but also that they eat the right sort of
food…their desires outweigh the social etiquette that they should have learned.” The
white witch giving him the food and hot drink is playing a motherly role.

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