Lewis vs. L'Engle

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Aslan

I would like to dedicate this first blog to the mysterious character of Aslan. A lion is a common symbol for things like strength, courage or honor; thus, it makes perfect sense for Lewis to embody these characteristics into him. Every virtuous character in the story is immediately drawn to him, and those that are not virtuous fear him. I think this relationship is common to the way the world works in general. I think that Lewis intentionally uses such rich symbolism in Aslan, especially when contrasted to the characteristics of the witch, to simplify the story for children. It allows for a simple comparison to be made and an easy understanding of the story's conflict, essentially good and evil. Lewis does however do a good job of writing in such a way that the adult reader can open this door to view the deeper connections that Aslan embodies to each of the characters. He is the antithesis of the witch's character. He is a protector and savior to the common creature. Aslan has a special tie to each of the 4 children, each of them sharing common virtues. With Peter, he shares courage and leadership, demonstrated by his military stregnth. With Lucy, he shares a purity and trust that allows for a wealth of forgiveness. With Susan, he shares the virtue of grace, always seeming to be careful and collected when making actions. Oddly enough I find the most similarities between the characters to be with Edmund, after his rescue. Edmund seems to become selfless in his bold and dangerous move to defeat the Queen, and in the same action he displays courage and the intelligence to destroy her source of power. Additionally, we learn that he grows into a wise and just king, just as Aslan. I think that the close brush with evil that Edmund experienced in his capture remolded him into the most Aslan-like of the 4 children.
Another point I would like to focus on about Asland's character is the air of mysteriousness about him. We learn that he is returning after a hundred years to this place, but there is no mention of where he was or why he left the country under the control of the tyrant White Witch. He is perhaps the most important character in the story but Lewis spends almost no time developing him. But, that I suppose is another discussion...

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