Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Narnian Parallels

As part of our homeschooling day, my children are giving reports on which of the Pevensie children, from C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, was their personal favorite, and why. The younger children are giving oral reports, and the older ones, written reports.

We have greatly enjoyed going through these books as a family. We purchased the entire set of them, unabridged, and Andrew has already read them all. Riley and Dylan are making their way through as well. To pass time, and to bring a measure of peace and quiet to our ridiculously long, twelve hour car trip to visit Trever's mother in Kentucky last month, we listened to a dramatized version of these books. We were able to get through several of the books, but not all of them, during our time in the van, there and back. It served well in getting the younger children interested in these lovely stories.

When I asked Liberty and Josiah which Pevensie child was their favorite, I was surprised to hear them both give the same answers... They struggled between Peter and Lucy. Josiah settled on Peter, and Libby on Lucy.

Libby's answer was simple. Lucy was the smallest and she is a girl. That was good enough for her.
Josiah likes Peter because he is the biggest, and he is smart and strong. A very sensible choice.
These two, Libby and Josiah, made me think of something interesting that people tend to do when choosing someone to admire, to like. We tend to choose either someone we are very much like, someone we can relate to, or else we choose someone we are not like at all, but very much wish we were.

Libby relates to Lucy, a girl, small(ish), and sweet.

Josiah wants to be like Peter, big, tall, smart, strong, brave.

I am still awaiting the other children's essays, but if I were to write one, I would have to tell you my favorite has always secretly been Edmund. This is a bit remarkable for me because I tend to like characters I am remarkably UNlike, and in this instance, I adore Edmund because I relate to him.

Edmund, who is snared early on in the story line by the white witch, who is rotten through and through and horribly deceived and who is only ultimately saved from her clutches when Aslan, the great lion, dies in his place and rescues him.
Edmund, who spends the rest of the story humble, valiant, brave, GRATEFUL. He realizes he would not be where he was were it not for Aslan, he understands temptation with a wisdom the other children do not. He is the one who stops to consider things the most often, humility overcoming pride. I feel Edmund, of all the children, has the most accurate picture of himself, his weaknesses and need.

I can so powerfully relate to this character.

Now, normally, it is the characters I am least like, who I like most. Jane Austen's Jane, from Pride and Prejudice, for example. She is so unassuming, so sweet, always willing to give another person the benefit of the doubt, never even thinking an unkind thought. She is gentle and the epitome of kindness and beauty. *Sigh*

Or Beth, from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. The shy wallflower, content to be home with family, never craving a spotlight. Gentle, loving, self-sacrificing.

I wish to be more like these characters.

I am more like Austen's Elizabeth, or Alcott's Jo.

But I am learning, like Edmund, that without my saviour, Jesus, I am lost, arrogant and rotten and horribly deceived with self-importance. Through His great sacrifice on my behalf, I emerge, humbled, mellowed, profoundly grateful.

And in a beautiful paradox, the more time I spend with Him, the more of the gentleness and kindness that I admire in those other characters becomes mine.


  1. What wonderful books they are, and how much they can teach children.

  2. Beautiful post, Amy. It IS interesting to see what characters we relate to in the material we read. Thanks for sharing some of your school's day with us.

  3. We love the narnia books too.
    I think that what you say about Edmund is so true. He has the greatest understanding of who he really is and the incredible gift that he has been given.
    I also tend to admire those characters that I'm least like. I love Jo and Elizabeth for their passion and strength and wish I could borrow a little of their fiestiness for myself!
    God Bless Amy
    thinking about you :0)

  4. I spent a large portion og my growing up wishing so hard that I would be a Jo! And only now do I realise that this is what we shorten our Joshua to! I KNEW before I got to that bit that yo were going to say Edmund- and why! Mattman likes Peter best, because he is so brave and strong. I like Lucy- trusting, believing, ready to step through the door, no matter what! But I was also with your fb commenter who said Eustace! I cried when he flies Edmund over the hills in the movie and you realise that he is the dragon!

  5. Oh Mags! You always make me smile so.
    That commenter was my baby sister, and she has a sneaky way of cheating and putting things she's not allowed. LOL

    I take it you have seen the latest movie, then? I BAWLED when Reepicheep went to Aslan's land. B A W L E D! When I saw my children were not choked up nearly as much as I thought was decent, I asked them, aghast, whether they had hearts and souls?!?! Hahaha! See? I am *so* Jo and Elizabeth! (Longing to be more like sweet Suzy up there ^, or Jane, or Beth...) but all the same, Jesus seems to be sanding off the rough edges. *wink*


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