Friday, January 21, 2011

Top Shelf, Selection Five--The Chronicles of Narnia

As a kid, I was fascinated with the idea of passing through a doorway into another world. One of those passages was in my grandma's attic. The floorboards didn't extend all the way to the eaves. They stopped three or four feet short, forming a kind of island, beyond which there were only beams and dust covered insulation. Don't step off the floorboards, my cousins and I were warned. And I always wondered what would happen if I did. Logic said that I would go crashing through and end up in a dusty heap on the floor below. But I was not a logical kid. I thought that stepping off would send me into another place, one called "Fay," because that word had been burned into the wood above the attic stairs. Fortunately, I never got brave enough to test the idea. But maybe bravery wasn't the issue. It might have been that I discovered my grandpa had a brother named Fay.

Reading C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia is a much safer way to visit another world. I should know.  I've been there often. I love Lewis's Narnia. It's very much like I imagined the world beyond grandma's attic to be, and even better. I love the characters Narnia is peopled with, too. Puddleglum, with his grim view of life, is one of my favorites. As is Mrs. Beaver, the compulsive worrier, because she's something like me.

I also appreciate the Christian symbolism. I know that not everyone does, but I think it's the reason I keep going back to Narnia as an adult. I enjoy finding hidden truths in what I read. And sometimes, truths are hidden in plain sight. 

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