[DWJ] Re: The Last Battle (was witches in fiction, and exploiting)

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Wed Jun 21 13:23:04 EDT 2006


On Wed, 21 Jun 2006, estairm at yahoo.com wrote:

|I hate The Last Battle for many reasons, partly the
|end of Narnia, partly because of the Ape, but mostly
|because of Susan.  
|
|I mean, she was left alone in our world, with her
|entire family wiped out, because she forgot Narnia?!? 
|
|
|She was not a bad person, just shallow.  

Word. I've seen eloquent and well-written defenses of Lewis's
treatment of Susan, and explanations for why she really was left
out of heaven. And I put them in the same box where I put the
elegant New Historicist explanations for why Little Women's final
treatment of Jo March wasn't really shabby at all. That is, I
filed them away as interesting intellectual arguments, but they
don't really change the visceral experience I got from reading
the book both as a child and as an adult.

Here was the lesson I learned: boys are allowed to be spunky,
fallen and forgiven, or warrior heroes. Girls are allowed to be
plucky or so innocent as to be somewhat aggravating. But whereas
what boys are allowed to be somewhat resembles what boys are
encouraged to be in society (warrior heroes having some vague
resemblance, at least, to athleticism and stereotyped masculine
heroics), girls are forbidden from being what they are encouraged
to be in society (concerned with appearance and social mores).

It didn't seem quite fair to me, even as a child -- and I loved
those books, both before and after I learned about the
allegories.

-deborah
--
The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should
therefore be hushed.  A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could
hardly be propagated.  If the doctrine be admitted, rulers have only to
declare war and they are screened at once from scrutiny ...  In war,
then, as in peace, assert the freedom of speech and of the press.
Cling to this as the bulwark of all our rights and privileges.
                -- William Ellery Channing



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