Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Last Battle

I'm so sad!  The ending.... I could see it coming. The way they talked about the train... They're going on a great adventure, but we won't get to read it because the books are over!!  C.S. Lewis wrote an amazing ending to his series.  The Last Battle had me eager to see how the story ended, but also hesitant, because I knew it was the final book of The Chronicles of Narnia.

It makes me sad that Susan doesn’t love Narnia anymore, or doesn’t believe in it.  She lived there like her brothers and sister, why did it have to be over for her?  I always felt a negativity around Susan, even in the first book (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe).  Though it was Edmund who first sided with the White Witch, the way Lewis wrote about her… I don’t know how to explain it, but it was the impression I got and in subsequent books too.  Lewis turned her into a silly woman only interested in fashion and being an adult of a "certain age", then fighting to be that age forever.  I wonder why Lewis chose to make her this way.  In The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, I felt that Lewis was not seeing women as equals or capable.  Then I felt that maybe his views changed as he wrote more about Narnia, but maybe it was Susan's character all along.  Lucy, Polly and Jill grew and loved Narnia until the end.  Will she join them eventually?  I'd like to believe so.

I hesitate to say this, but I’m a little offended by Lewis using the term “darkies” in The Last Battle.  I understand that Lewis was writing in a different time.  It didn't influence how I felt about the story (I honestly loved it), but every time someone called a Calormen that, I cringed a little.  It's not like none of the Calormen are redeemed/redeemable (Emeth being a great example) and it's only one group of individuals who use the term, but it still bothered me a little.

I have to mention how excited I was that Lewis used Plato's Allegory of the Cave.  It is one of the first things you learn when studying Philosophy.  That it's included in children's literature is amazing.  I think it really speaks to what Lewis believed children could understand.  I'm hoping that when my children are older, we'll read The Chronicles of Narnia together... and I can also teach them the Allegory of the Cave.

I'm sad that the series is over.  I loved it.  I still can't believe I didn't read this twenty years ago (am I aging myself?).  It was brilliant and wonderful.  I can see why it has endured and that children continue to read it and adults read and re-read it.  Yes, there are some controversial issues, many call Lewis racist and sexist, but I don't really think so.  Not if you look at when he was writing and what he was writing.  After all, a Calormen and an Archenlander get married and have a child.  Technically an interracial couple with a biracial baby!  That's a big deal for the 1950s  [This point has a BIG SPOILER!]  Even in this final story, The Last Battle ends with Aslan accepting all who were virtuous, no matter where they came from.  That's an ending I like. [I hope that SPOILER WARNING was big enough.]  I know that one day I'll re-read these books, whether with my children or on my own.  I think that I'll likely devour them one after the other, instead of stretching out the series like I've just finished doing.  I'm having a difficult time saying goodbye to Narnia.  It was a wonderful world to visit.


2 comments:

  1. Some of my favorite books of all time!!!!

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    1. Haha! I know what your blog title is....

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