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What Inspired C.S. Lewis to Write the Chronicles of Narnia?

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Ximena Reynoso

on 15 April 2014

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Transcript of What Inspired C.S. Lewis to Write the Chronicles of Narnia?

What Inspired C.S. Lewis to Write The Chronicles of Narnia?
"You can make anything by writing."
Boxen
Boxen was an imaginary world that C.S. Lewis and his elder brother, Warren came up with when they were young.
- Also known as Animal-Land
- First was played with stuffed animals, and other toys
- Eventually grew into something bigger
- Plays, stories, and maps of Boxen were made
When C.S. Lewis was sent to boarding school, Warren would send him reports of their fantasy world. In basic ways Narnia can be compared to Boxen (an example would be that in both worlds animals can speak).
J.R.R Tolkien and C.S.Lewis
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit, was one of Lewis' closest friends.
- Both part of literary circle, The Inklings
- Both had brilliant, creative, imaginative minds
- Helped each other with their writing
- Tolkien helped Lewis see difference between reason and imagination, and how the Gospel has both
- Lewis, along with the Inklings, encouraged Tolkien to share his works
- Clive Staples Lewis from Belfast, Ireland
- Born November 29, 1898
- Nicknamed Jack when he was young
- Had older, and only brother Warren
- Played "Boxen" (imaginary world, characters, etc.)
- Mother passed away when Jack was nine
- Sent to boarding school soon after tragedy
- Attended Oxford University
- Served in World War I
- Returned as a Tutor of English Literature at Magdalen College
- Became Christian
- Became famous author
- Written around 60 books
- 1956 Lewis married Joy Davidman (American poet/ writer)
- 1963 Lewis passed away, but there remained a great legend
Who is C.S. Lewis?
-C.S. Lewis
Lewis' Faith and Belief
Lewis had considered himself to be an atheist from a young age (his mother's passing impacted that), but found that he really wasn't.
- He read Phantases by George MacDonald
- While he read he saw a bright shadow, that he later found out was holiness
That day his mind was baptized, but it took a bit longer for him to actually do it.
In 1931 he turned to God. He said he felt the "steady, unrelenting, approach of him whom I earnestly desired not to meet." He gave in and prayed one night, "the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England."

"if we take that step, it involves losing what we call ourselves. That doesn't mean that all people who accept Christ are going to be exactly like one another."

-C.S. Lewis
1944-03-21
C.S. Lewis surrendered to God
Lewis' Love for Literature

The Inklings
- Informal literary group at Oxford University
- Was mostly made up of Christian friends
- Met at each other's dorms, or sometimes Eagle and Child pub
- Lasted from early 1930s to 1950s
Some members included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, W.H. Lewis, John Wain, Charles Williams, Gervase Mathew, and Owen Barfield.
Those gatherings impacted C.S. Lewis very much with his writing.

The Silver Chair
book cover
- People around Lewis also affected his belief
He found it hard to be an atheist around believers (this was around the time he was part of the Inklings)
- Accepted that God is God but didn't believe Jesus is his son
- One day he just accepted it

Although these two grand writers were close, Tolkien disliked the Narnia series. He thought that the mixture of myths and legends was too much. He didn't think that dwarfs, fauns, giants, and Father Christmas should be in the same story. He didn't think that Lewis had filled in the details, but apart from his dislikes their friendship remained.
Plaque in the Eagle and Child pub
C.S. Lewis loved reading and writing from a very young age. That passion stayed with him ever since.
- Wanted to be famous poet around age seven
- Whole family was into literature
- After WWI he was determined to become poet
- Failed at that
After he turned to God he began writing about Christianity. His books from there on were very successful, The Chronicles of Narnia included.

What are The Chronicles of Narnia?
The Chronicles of Narnia are seven, fictional books written by C.S. Lewis, that are quite different from other children stories.
Things that make them unique:
- Have Christian message behind them, but it's not very noticeable
- Have a mixture of different myths and legends
- Were not expected to be written by C.S. Lewis, since he was a serious man
- The books were published only a year, or bit more apart
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Published 1950
- Second book in the series
- First book published of series
- Dedicated to goddaughter
- Movie of it
- How four siblings come to Narnia and help save it
- Christian message: Crucifiction and resurrection
My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can take it down from the upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be
your affectionate Godfather,
C.S. Lewis
From: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
book cover
Prince Caspian
book cover
- Published 1951
- Fourth book in series
- Pevensies out of Narnia for one year, but hundreds of years passed in Narnia
- Second time there
- Narnia's falling apart, so they help bring old wonders back
- Become friends with Prince Caspian
- Peter and Susan's last trip to Narnia
The Voyage of Dawn Treader
- Published 1952
- Fifth book of series
- Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia with Eustace (their disliked cousin)
- Go on voyage to find lost Narnians and Aslan's Country with Caspian
- Find what they're looking for
- Last trip there for Edmund and Lucy
- Aslan tells them he's in their world, but in different form
The Silver Chair
- Published 1953
- Sixth book in series
- Eustace and friend, Jill go to Narnia to escape bullies at school
- Help Caspian find his son, Prince Rilian
- Defeat "Lady" of the Green Kirtle, who kidnapped Rilian
- Reunite father and son
- Return to their school
- Change school for the better with Caspian and Aslan
The Horse and His Boy
The Magician's Nephew
- Published 1954
- Third book in series
- Shasta (real name Cor) runs away from Calormene to Narnia with talking Narnian horse, Bree
- Meet Aravis and her talking horse, Hwin
- She ran away from arranged marriage
- Have adventures along way to destination
- Reach Archenland
- Meet King Lune (Shasta's biological dad)
- Tells Shasta he is prince of Archenland and that he has a twin, Corin
- Win battle against Colermen, and stay in Archenland
- Cor becomes king and marries Aravis

- Published 1955
- First book in series
- Digory's mother is gravely ill
- His Uncle Andrew experimented on him and Polly with magic rings
- Sent to other worlds
- See Aslan create Narnia
- Accidentaly bring evil into it (Empress Jadis)
- Aslan lets Digory take magic apple to his mom
- Scare away Jadis
- Kids return to London and give apple to Digory's mom and she is healed
- Bury magic rings and apple core together (Years later the tree becomes a magic wardrobe)

The Last Battle
The Horse and His Boy
book cover
The Magician's Nephew
book cover
The Last Battle
book cover
"I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live like a Narnian as much as I can even if there isn't any Narnia"
-C.S. Lewis
The Voyage of Dawn Treader
book cover

"All my seven Narnia books... began with seeing pictures in my head. At first they were not a story, just pictures. 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' all began with a picture of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: 'Let's try to make a story out of it.'"
It All Began with a Picture...
Excerpt from Lewis' essay:
"'Are -- are you there, too, Sir?' said Edmund.
'I am,' said Aslan. 'But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.'"
-C.S Lewis,
Voyage of Dawn the Treader
- Published 1956
- Last book published, last of series
- Ages passed in Narnia
- Tirian is king of Narnia
- Shift and Puzzle (an ape and donkey) work together and cause harm to Narnia
- Impersonate Aslan
- Narnia and Colormene crumble
- Tirian prays to real Aslan for help
- All humans who have been to Narnia appear (Digory, Polly, Peter, Susan, Edmund, Lucy, etc.)
- Tash (Colormene god) also causes harm
- Narnia is destroyed
- Aslan appears and calms them down
- Tells them they won't be sent away again because they left the "Shadowlands," or how we say are dead
- They live together forevermore in joy, gladness, and love
- The real story began from that point, which "no one on earth can read"


So What?
The "So what?" in this project is greater than it may seem. What I'm pointing out is that C.S Lewis' inspirations, which are part of his experiences, are a great example of how to search and find. He went from being an atheist to being a Christian. When he found himself, he found success not only in his work, but in his life.
C.S Lewis has written many great books, but I chose his Narnia series, because they're a bit different. They're meant for children, but the message behind each book is for all people.
We also can find success and joy. Whether it's in school, or work, or life in general. Lewis lived through a lot and, like him, we have inspirations which effect our own story. The matter is where to go with them, and what to make of them, good or not.
C.S Lewis
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