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Lewis: Gender to the Extremes

Lewis: Gender to the Extremes

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Published by Monica Kempski

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Published by: Monica Kempski on Sep 29, 2010
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11/08/2010

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Monica KempskiShort Paper #2WGST 199-01Professor Uman2/3/10
Lewis: Gender to the extremes
C.S Lewis created the story of Narnia, where the powerful masculine Aslan attempts todefeat the White Witch, a demonic being who is feared by all and pure evil. Jean Graham notesin her article " Good and evil become polarized along gender lines: the deity remains masculine,while the two witches replace male characters in assuming responsibility for the fall of mankindand the crucifixion of mankind's Savior" (32). Indeed, Lewis’ examples of using the wickedCirce and Lilith as basis for the White Witch, serve to show that a woman will utilize her powersto enforce evil. On the other hand, Lewis portrays Aslan as the male virtuous savior, displayingthat men are the ultimate power for doing good. Thus, Lewis implied that a woman should not begiven power because she will use it for evil and bring about catastrophe to the world.Lewis formulates the White Witch two characters originating from earlier works aboutmystical and terrible woman forces. First, the White Witch is comparable to Circe. Circe possessed a powerful wand which with she turned her competitors to pigs. The White Witch alsoyielded a wand with which she turned her enemies to stone. With this power, she is able tospread fear over the citizens of Narnia so that no one opposes her. Then, she can exercise her complete control and carry out her evil plans.Lewis directly references the White Witch being from “your father Adam’s first wife-they call her Lilith” (85). Lilith was beautiful and used her seductive power to meet her horrid
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goals. The White Witch is very similar in this way. First and most forwardly, she is described ashaving “a beautiful face” (38). Then, she uses her wand to produce Turkish Delight to enticeEdmund to do her bidding. Perhaps she had done this to appeal to his selfish nature, by givinghim food, (something he seems to deeply care about) and to offer him a rank over his brothersand sisters. In this way, she is seducing him to do her bidding. Because Edmund is only a boy,she preferred to satisfy his selfish side, rather than his sexual side. At his stage in life, he would probably not find her sexual appealing to the point of desire. Thus, the White Witch is seductiveto accommodate his personality rather than his sexuality. With achieving the goal of havingEdmund bring his brother and sisters to her, she can kill them and end the prophecy that the twosons and daughters of Adam will destroy her reign in Narnia. In eliminating her over throwerswho are the only good forces in Narnia, her powers become unstoppable and she can continueher realm of disorder that she has created. With her powers of controlling the people, spreadingfear, and eliminating her opposition, Lewis created a dangerous female character that is a threatto humankind.Aslan is in direct comparison with the Christ figure, the greatest hero and powerful savior of the Catholic Church.“He is the King….word has reached us that he has come back” (85).Thus, Aslan is like Jesus because he comes to the world in a great time of need to save the people. Aslan is the ultimate protector, so it is no coincidence that he is a lion. A lion has always been a symbol of masculine power and courage, which is exactly what Narnia needs to defeat theWhite Witch. Aslan is also a Christ figure because of his sacrifice. He gave his life for Edmundat the hand of the White Witch. The White Witch, in turn is like the devil because she hasinfluenced Aslan (the all powerful benevolent opponent) to give himself up with her ambition of retaining her power. Thus, she invokes chaos and evil on Narnia by taking away the people’s
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