Wednesday, October 2, 2013
This novel is such a great example of how imaginative children's literature can be. The strength of C.S. Lewis as a writer can be shown by the imaginative power his novels have on children. Since I did not go abroad I do not have any experiences of a voyage. However, I would like to talk about a book that I read in middle school that brought me on a journey to a different world. I distinctly remember being in the library at my middle school and handing a book over to the librarian to check out. The book was East, by Edith Pattou, a book that I don't think a lot of people have heard of. It's a long book about 530 pages so the librarian doubted that I could read it and asked me if I was sure that I wanted to check it out. I believe I was in 6th grade when I read this book so for a 6th grader that is a lot of pages, but I was very determined to read this book and told her, "Yes!" I could never back down from a challenge to read a book. And how could this librarian doubt my reading skills, aren't they supposed to push you to new reading levels?! Well the book was challenging to read but I loved everything about it. The narrative structure was set up differently from other books I have read before so they was something to adjust to. Each chapter was narrated by a different character. One chapter it was the main protagonist, the next her father, then her brother, and mother. It was quite interesting to read from so many perspectives. At the age I was at it was hard at times to keep up with the changing point of views but eventually I caught on and enjoyed the character switch. The main character Rose travels a lot in the novel and as her reader I was so into her story and fascinated by everything that was going on that I couldn't help but travel with her. In the novel she travels to a castle with a polar bear and stays in the castle where mysterious things occur. As I was reading I felt like I could imagine what the hallways and rooms in the castle were like right down to the last detail. I'm sure the author used a lot of descriptive details and imagery to catch readers and bring them into the plot. I was so captivated and allured by the polar bear character and what would happen to him and Rose that the long number of pages didn't even bother me. That's the beauty of travel, even when you're reading, you're having such a great time that you don't even realize time or pages are passing. As a reader I got caught up in the narrative and escaped into it. Even now, ten years later I can still picture some things in my mind that I pictured when I was reading East. This kind of fantasy book that East is defined as is perfect for young readers who want to get into reading. C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia are similar to the world of Narnia because it is all make-believe but so much fun. I love how the reader can escape in a fantasy novel like no other genre. The mind can truly expand itself because there are no barriers in fantasy fiction. And a young audience can really appreciate a talking lion like Aslan. If high schoolers had to read Narnia they might push it aside because they think they're too cool to read about a make-believe world. C.S. Lewis' novels are perfect for the child who is still holding onto the innocence of childhood. I think that Lucy is such a strong example of the innocence of childhood because she is so, I'm going to actually say, lionhearted. She always believes the best in every person she meets and is the best a person can be. When I read the ending to the Voyage of the Dawn Treader I was practically crying during the moment between Aslan and Lucy. If I was Lucy I would be really sad about never coming back to Narnia too as well as not seeing Aslan ever again in the form of a lion. The symbolism was so strong in Aslan's words to Lucy and knowing what they mean about Christianity it was like I could feel God's love right from the words, "But there I have another name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there." His words are mean that everything in life has a purpose and although life is mysterious at times, that is a part of the journey of life and yes we may get lost from time to time but we eventually find our way back. C.S. Lewis was lost in his faith for some time before he returned to it. In the novels Aslan mysteriously appears and disappears and comes back again just when we need him. In a way he represents God or Jesus in our lives. Sometimes we really need God's strength to make through the day. Other days we are okay without him, but knowing He is always there is so reassuring that it makes everything okay. I'm sure that Lucy hearing Aslan is in her "real" world somewhere made her feel better about never being able to brush Aslan's beautiful, long mane something she often did to show her affection towards him.