WEB EXCLUSIVES: Deeper meanings in C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’

Marissa Mikolak

He was an atheist as a young adult attending Oxford University College in England during the early 20th century. His mother died when he was a child despite his prayers, and he lost several friends while serving in World War I, leaving him to believe God didn’t exist. Ironically, he did not particularly care for children.

But he eventually became a devout Christian and author of the famous children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia, including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which comes to life in theaters today. The novel, while a children’s story, is full of Christian allusions.

“C.S. Lewis was a very interesting man who converted to Christianity at mid-age,” children’s literature professor Vera Camden said. “It’s been said that he was one of the most significant theologians of the 20th century.”

In addition to the Narnia series, C.S. Lewis wrote several books with a theological basis including Mere Christianity and his autobiography, Surprised By Joy.

“C.S. Lewis established himself as a reputable scholar and discovered that he was drawn to popularizing his Christian beliefs,” Camden said.

Lewis, who became interested in children’s literature after spending time with the children of a close friend, wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a way to popularize his religious views in a way that would interest young people.

“The core of this novel is Lewis’ attempt to communicate from within a child’s universe the importance of belief, transcendence and moral choices,” Camden said. “It deals with children making the choice between right and wrong.”

Students who have read the book are looking forward to seeing this magical book come to life.

“I read the book in college in children’s literature and found it to be a magical book that can have a much deeper meaning to adults,” said Maria Fernandez, kindergarten teacher and 2004 Kent State graduate. “As a child, the book seems mystical, but there is a lot of symbolism that is noticeable to adults.”

Children, mythological creatures and experiences symbolize different theological ideas and figures in the book and movie.

“Each character can have symbolism and represent someone or something,” Fernandez said. “I think that college students will be able to walk away from the movie understanding the deeper elements.”

This explains why it is not just the youngest generations who are eagerly awaiting the release of this film.

“I cannot wait until the movie comes out,” senior communications major Hilary Lolli said. “I have seen and heard so much about it – I just want to see what the book is like as a movie.”

Contact off-campus entertainment reporter Marissa Mikolak at [email protected].