Department

Department of English

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Aronstein

Description

In J.R.R Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories” he writes that these stories are “wide and deep and filled with many things.” According to Tolkien, these stories have four elements: fantasy, recovery, escape, and consolation. The purpose of this paper is to examine how these elements function in C.S. Lewis’ children’s novels, The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis’ novels have a loyal group of followers in the rel igious community. The elements of the fairy story function as a framework for revealing why these novels are so influential in this religious community as well as outside that community. For example, Tolkien explains that an element of the fantasy novel is that it contains an internally consistent secondary world. This is important psychologically in order to gain the readers’ trust of the story. The “recovery” takes place when the reader is able to see something in the real world in a different light after experiencing the fantasy world. In the “escape” elements of the real world are suspended and the “consolation” is the ending of the novel when good overcomes evil. Identifying elements of the fairy story in Lewis’ novels helps explain the method in which the stories function in a reader’s imagination.

Comments

Oral Presentation, University Honors Program/English Honors

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C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia through the lens of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories”

In J.R.R Tolkien’s “On Fairy Stories” he writes that these stories are “wide and deep and filled with many things.” According to Tolkien, these stories have four elements: fantasy, recovery, escape, and consolation. The purpose of this paper is to examine how these elements function in C.S. Lewis’ children’s novels, The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis’ novels have a loyal group of followers in the rel igious community. The elements of the fairy story function as a framework for revealing why these novels are so influential in this religious community as well as outside that community. For example, Tolkien explains that an element of the fantasy novel is that it contains an internally consistent secondary world. This is important psychologically in order to gain the readers’ trust of the story. The “recovery” takes place when the reader is able to see something in the real world in a different light after experiencing the fantasy world. In the “escape” elements of the real world are suspended and the “consolation” is the ending of the novel when good overcomes evil. Identifying elements of the fairy story in Lewis’ novels helps explain the method in which the stories function in a reader’s imagination.