The Chronicles of Narnia is one of the most popular kids ‘s phantasy book series today and is therefore expected to hold received broad congratulations and critical acclamation. Nevertheless it has received unfavorable judgment in many countries and one of such unfavorable judgments is it ‘s supposed anti feminist positions. Philip Pullman, writer of His Dark Materials trilogy who ne’er ceases to knock the plants of C. S Lewis, commented on the series as monumentally belittling of misss and adult females ”[ 1 ]. J.K Rowling, writer of best-selling Harry thrower series ( besides a celebrated kids ‘s phantasy book series ) commented refering The Chronicles “ There comes a point where Susan, who was the older miss, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lip rouge. She ‘s become irreligious fundamentally because she found sex ; I have a large job with that ”[ 2 ]
It is really true that the Chronicles of Narnia does non laud above others any female character and that C. S Lewis was in no manner a feminist author. However, Lewis succeeds, through these books, to convey deep messages through female characters, and besides to research the power of the feminine, so much so that it should vibrate with females. Lewis does all these through characters such as positive personages like Lucy Pevensie, Polly Plummer, Jill Pole, and Aravis, and besides through the scoundrels, the White Witch ( Queen Jadis ) and the Green lady.
The first thing to observe about Lucy Pevensie is that she is likely the most of import character to C. S. Lewis as she is named after his goddaughter, Lucy Barfield, who he dedicated the first book in the series, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, to. She is the youngest of the Pevensie kids and the first to detect Narnia among them. She is therefore a kid in the book, but besides she is a female and we see the authorization of females through her character. Lucy was the closest to Narnia, and unlike Susan, her sister, she maintains this intimacy through to the terminal until she is ordered by Aslan in The Ocean trip of the Dawn Treader non to come back to Narnia because she is now ‘too old ‘ and must ‘begin to acquire near to [ her ] ain universe ‘ . ( VODT 269 )
Lucy, who is a miss, ne’er allows her gender to move as a barrier to what she can and can non make. In ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ‘ , when Father Christmas tells her and her sister, Susan that they are non to be in conflict, because “ conflicts are ugly when adult females fight ”[ 3 ]Lucy responds to him stating “ I think I could be brave adequate ”[ 4 ]. She believes that whatever a adult male can make, a adult female can make every bit good, therefore believing in her equality with males. It is subsequently revealed to us in The Horse and his Male child that she fought courageously in many wars and was ‘as good as a adult male ‘ ( happen commendation ) and this must hold been why she was known by her people as “ Queen Lucy the Valiant ”[ 5 ]. She hence proved Father Christmas ‘ earlier statement of conflicts acquiring ugly when adult females fought, incorrect by contending and lasting. Her brevity was besides displayed in The Ocean trip of the Dawn Treader, when Lucy was needed to travel and undo the enchantment for the unseeable work forces. She defies their protests, telling them non to seek and halt her, despite the hazard of confronting a really powerful prestidigitator, who we find out nevertheless, to be Aslan.
Although Lucy Pevensie breaks the position quo by lifting above her gender, she still represents all that is female and what is beautiful about it. One really feminine facet of Lucy is her love of apparels. In the Horse and his male child, when she foremost meets Aravis, she talks about ‘getting apparels for her, and
all the kind of things misss talk about on such an juncture ‘[ 6 ]. She is besides really sort and truthful. In The Ocean trip of the Dawn Treader, when Eustace is down with mal de mer, Lucy forgives his rude and acrimonious behaviour towards her and uses her affable to bring around him. She is therefore portrayed as greathearted and mature sing her immature age, and these properties are as a consequence of her muliebrity.
Lucy, who is argued by critics to be a kid and therefore non a true representation of females was addressed several times in The Ocean trip of the Dawn Treader as a LADY. This proves that although she was a kid, Lewis recognized her as a true representation of Females. In the same book, through the apposition of Lucy and the ship which is described as being ‘a beauty of her sort ‘[ 7 ]with ‘her lines perfect ‘[ 8 ]and ‘her colourss pure ‘[ 9 ], it seems to be Lucy, instead than the Ship, who is being described here. Lewis therefore, through Lucy, portrays what a powerful adult female is, one who is confident of her muliebrity but is besides able to lift above it to take on challenges and hazardous projects.
Another female character in the Chronicles of Narnia is Polly Plummer, who appears in The prestidigitator ‘s nephew, which is chronologically the first book in the series, as this is when the Land of Narnia is discovered by Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer, Digory who we find out subsequently to be Professor Kirke. Polly is non afraid of her muliebrity and is interested in ‘girly ‘ things, such as apparels. When she foremost entered the room full of people turned rock, Polly showed an involvement in the apparels, noticing that ‘any one of these apparels would be 100s of lbs ‘[ 10 ]. She is therefore cognizant of her muliebrity and is non scared to demo it.
Aravis is a major female character in the 6th book of the series, The Horse and his Boy. She is from the land of Carlomen. Aravis is in all senses of the word, resilient. She is from a land where females are minority and are forced to get married work forces against their free will. When she is forced to get married Ashoshta Tarkaan, she runs off from her male parent and her land, to her friend, Lasaraleen, seeking safety and protection. She is besides non the stereotyped adult female at that topographic point and clip ( Calormen ) . Aravis was a adult female who ‘had ever been more interested in bows and pointers and Equus caballuss and Canis familiariss and swimming ‘[ 11 ], unlike her friend, lasaraleen, who was into ‘clothes and parties and chitchat ‘[ 12 ]. She therefore Rebels against her civilization and her household, in order to accomplish felicity and freedom.
When Shasta, the narrative ‘s supporter, first meets Aravis, he thinks she is a a calormen adult male. She therefore disguised herself as though she were a adult male. When he finds out that she is non a adult male, but in fact a miss, she loses her standing before him and he begins to ignore her. They begin to hold a relationship which is full of battles, wrangles and dissensions. Aravis nevertheless, subsequently apologises to him at the terminal of the narrative where she says, ‘I ‘m regretful I ‘ve been such a hog ‘[ 13 ]. She shows her adulthood here by apologizing foremost for her sick behaviour towards Shasta, and this behavior was due to the fact that he was from a lower societal category, or so she thought, for it is revealed subsequently in the narrative that he is prince Cor, the twin to prince Corin, the boy of the King of Archenland, King Lune. Aravis nevertheless, is subsequently extolled in the narrative when she marries the crown prince, prince Cor, and with his male parent ‘s decease, she becomes the Queen of Archenland.
It is impossible to lose the connexion Lewis makes between Calormen and the in-between E. He describes The Calormen as a land where adult females are forced to get married work forces, which is the Muslim pattern of most of the in-between E. Calormen is besides a desert state with Equus caballuss and donkeys, much like the Middle East. Lewis, through this word picture, was protesting against feminine favoritism in these countries of the universe, showing Aravis as a reflecting beacon of hope for laden females, to be empowered and fight for their basic rights, merely as Aravis did by running off.
Lewis besides depicts this subject through the villainesses in Narnia, the White enchantress and The Green lady ( Emerald Queen ) . The White Witch was foremost introduced in the first novel, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. She is the first scoundrel of Narnia that the reader brushs but she is non portrayed in deepness. The most the reader can garner is that she is powerful ( she turned Narnia to an ice land ) , evil and beautiful. Lewis describes her as a “ great lady ”[ 14 ], holding “ a beautiful face in other respects, but proud and cold and austere. ”[ 15 ]One interesting item nevertheless, is her line of descent and this gives the reader penetration into who the white enchantress truly is. She is of Lilith, who was Adam ‘s first married woman. The Lilith here is a fabulous animal which has been portrayed in other writers ‘ and poets ‘ plants. George Macdonald, a strong influence on Lewis ‘s work, describes Lilith as “ radiant in her perfect form ”[ 16 ], likened to the enchantress, her girl, who has “ a beautiful face ” .
Harmonizing to Macdonald, Lilith takes the signifier of a white leopard sometimes and is besides cold to touch. This resembles Lewis ‘s description of the enchantress ( which we know of class to be Lilith ‘s descendent girl ) as being covered “ with white pelt up to her pharynx ”[ 17 ]and environing herself with ice and snow. This therefore suggests a clear and concrete nexus between the two characters from the different narratives. It is hence necessary to observe that Macdonald was a true truster in female beauty and power and normally upheld the female as a hero, merely as he does in his narratives. Her word picture in white portrays her as seeming Godhead, and her ability to adhere the Kingdom in ice and snow reflect her huge power. In actuality, the enchantress was evil and impure, hence her white coloring material served to lead on the people into believing that she was sanctum.
This huge power is her devouring idea and it is shown where she says refering Edmund ‘s life ; “ He belongs to me as my lawful quarry… His blood is my belongings. . . I have a right to kill. ”[ 18 ]This hungriness for power farther ties her to the fabulous animal of Lilith, who MacDonald writes of stating “ Her first idea was of power ” ( 1896 Macdonald 154 ) and who held the sentiment that her power to take manifested her right. All these show the immense power which the enchantress had, and in The Magician ‘s Nephew, Lewis describes her more in deepness, as Empress Jadis, and another even more powerful quality of hers is presented: Seduction. This as we see subsequently, depicts the power over work forces which she has, signalling female high quality over adult male, which is a cardinal political orientation associated with Female Empowerment.
Queen Jadis, who is the scoundrel in The Magician ‘s Nephew, is believed to be the white enchantress in an earlier clip, and here, Lewis goes more in deepness, developing the complexness of her character. She is described as possessing an awe inspiring beauty. This beauty nevertheless, is merely perceptible by males. Queen Jadis is “ seven pess tall and dazzlingly beautiful ” ( nephew 72 ) , nevertheless this beauty of hers is “ terrorizing ” ( 80 ) and Lewis goes on to depict her as possessing “ fierceness ” ( 80 ) and “ abandon ” ( 80 ) . Digory is of the sentiment that “ In all his life, he had ne’er seen a adult female so beautiful ” ( 52 ) , but Polly could non see anything particular. This proves the fact that her beauty was merely perceptible to males. His uncle every bit good, Andrew ( The Magician ) is captivated by her beauty, burying how awful she had been to her and ‘thinking more and more of her fantastic beauty ‘ . To Uncle Andrew, she was so beautiful that he kept mumbling to himself “ A dem all right adult female ‘ ( 73 ) mentioning to the Queen. In his head, He had expansive ideas of come ining a relationship with the ‘Superb Creature ‘ ( 73 ) and this shows the sum of power her beauty had on him.
Lewis refers to The Empress as ‘Her ‘ ( 82 ) , utilizing the capital missive ‘H ‘ . By making this, the writer is certifying that she is non a mere person, but a divinity, a goddess. She is described as ‘Queen of Queens and Terror of Charn ‘ ( 82 ) , presenting panic to States such as ‘Ferlinda and Sorlois, and Bramandin ‘ ( 89 ) , which she must hold conquered and destroyed. She is so seen in the streets of London, doing much panic and crushing up the Police with a metal pole which she uses to strike down the Police and any other individual in her manner. As she does this, the Cabby, who is subsequently made King of Narnia, stretches out his manus to touch his Equus caballus, Strawberry, and The Queen instantly bellows ‘Dog, unhand our royal courser. We are the empress Jadis. ‘ The whole scene here depicts the enchantress ‘s huge power. One interesting thing to note is when she speaks to the Cabby. She refers to herself as ‘we ‘ . This does non intend that she was with others, but her strength was as though she were non one but multiple individuals at the same clip.
In Narnia, she eats the out fruit and this lengthens her yearss and she additions ‘unwearying strength and eternal yearss like a goddess’. ( 162 ) . She so proceeds to convert Digory to take a bite, or travel and give his female parent, instead than giving it to Aslan. She seduces Digory, perforating into his bosom and talking sweet words to convert him to move as she wants. In the terminal, Digory does non fall for this enticement and he flies back to Aslan. However, through the whole episode, the reader is made cognizant of the brilliant power of seduction, difficult to defy, a power strongly associated with females. She does non acquire destroyed, but she is to wait many old ages before she can come back and demo her power in Narnia. In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Jadis, known as the White Witch there was a level character. Lewis ‘s retreatment of her in The Magician ‘s Nephew proves his belief in the importance of adult females to the narrative. This averment hence means that Lewis was a truster ( whether consciously or wily nily ) in Female Empowerment and this Ideology resonates- sometimes subtly and sometimes non so subtly- through this series.
Apart from the enchantress, Lewis besides introduces another female scoundrel into the universe of Narnia, known as the green Lady. The Green lady is the Villainess in The 6th book of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Silver Chair. She is foremost presented as the enchantress who kills the King Rilian ‘s Mother, in the signifier of a snake. She is associated with a serpent here and thereby can be described with its properties, cunning, slithery and lifelessly. The reader associates her Emerald coloring material to her green-eyed monster and collusive nature. The Witch nevertheless, employs this coloring material for another intent. The coloring material viridity besides signifies life and so she uses this coloring material to lead on Rilian- the crown prince- that she is to get married him.
The first clip the Green lady appears in her human signifier, Rilian sees her and depict her as the “ the most beautiful thing that was of all time made. ”[ 19 ]It is evident here that the prince Rilian has fallen under her seductive power, much like how Uncle Andrew fell under that of the Queen Jadis in The Magician ‘s Nephew. The Lord Drinian, who is older, more mature and more experienced, besides notices her distinguishable and brilliant beauty. He nevertheless seems to be immune to her seductive powers because although he remarks that she was ‘The most beautiful lady he had of all time seen ‘[ 20 ], ‘It stuck in Drinian ‘s head that this reflecting green adult female was evil. ‘[ 21 ]Rilian is captivated by the beauty and seductive powers of the green lady, and because her motivations, names or beginnings are non given, these powers are attributed to her muliebrity instead than anything else.
Her seductive powers are one time once more seen in full force when she appears to the kids, Eustace, Jill and Puddleglum. Here non merely her physical visual aspect, but her idiosyncrasy as good capture the kids. Her address is described as being ‘as Sweet as the sweetest bird ‘s vocal ‘ and her frock, which was a ‘fluttering frock of dazing green ‘[ 22 ]enraptured the kids, apart from Puddlegum, who ‘s misanthropic behavior kept him safe from the Witch ‘s powers. The kids, because of her delusory beauty and politeness, suspected no concealed danger with her and even when the note prince Rilian, who was inactive beside her, they thought that his behavior was due to his desire to ‘look at her and to her lovely voice ‘[ 23 ]instead than due to the power of this ‘simply super ‘[ 24 ]adult female over his ideas and actions. Her delusory and seductive powers therefore, are non limited to prince Rilian, but extended to about anyone who comes into contact with her.
In the concluding battle between the Emerald queen and the kids, she tries to convert the kids that faith in Aslan and the Overworld is misplaced, and that their cause, which is to happen salvation, is ineffectual. She uses her seductive and delusory powers to acquire her message across and their lone salvaging grace is Puddlegum, who is fastidious in his religion of Aslan and the overworld. The scene here is strikingly similar to the scene in the Magician ‘s Nephew when Jadis tries to lead on Digory into eating the fruit which Aslan instructed him non to eat. It is therefore of import to observe here that the Chronicles of Narnia is a Christian fable and these two femme fatales here represent the fallen angel, Lucifer, who takes the signifier of the snake in the Garden of Eden and deceives eve into eating the out fruit. Puddlegum here is God ‘s salvaging grace to the kids, who represent the kids of God. Although the lady of the green kirtle is defeated here, her power nevertheless is really evident and one can non but admit that Lewis depicts the amazing and cryptic powers a adult female can hold over people, one that can merely be resisted by particular grace ( from God ) .
In Conclusion, through the Chronicles of Narnia series, Lewis has sent a strong message across, which is the authorization of females. He depicts this power of adult females non merely through both good and evil, demoing the dichotomy of power, and picturing adult females as finally worlds, edge to take between either good or evil. It is therefore with ill-conceived grounds, assorted biass, and shallow analysis that critics attack Lewis ‘s plants. Lewis, much like his friend J. R. R Tolkien have the subject of the authorization of females strongly vibrating through their plants, and whether or non this was knowing is non the of import thing here, merely that such positive messages are present in his plants.