Gender Roles in Narnia

1647 Words7 Pages
Regarded as one of the most beloved children books of the twentieth century, C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has found its way into the prolific canon of British literature and into the hearts of both children and adults alike. Published in 1950, this tale of a frost-bitten wood, fauns, and other fantastic events is masterfully written to appeal to all ages. Set during World War II in England, four children are sent to live with an old professor in a mansion in the English countryside. The scenery soon changes as a retreat into a mothball-infested wardrobe magically transports them into a world beyond the farthest reaches of their imaginations. As they learn of the plights of the many oppressed woodland creatures in…show more content…
Since Father Christmas is a good character whose opinion it to be trusted by the average child, it appears that the “true” role for women in Narnia excludes them from battle entirely. Yet, although this could be construed purely as a negative outlook on women, Lewis makes sure to add a more clear criticism of men. Very soon after this incident, Mrs. Beaver urges the party to move along and not dumbly “stand there talking . . . just like men” (117). It is here that another perspective, a feminine viewpoint, is added. This proves to establish men as boorish and slothful. This, in addition to the previous example, is a display on the popular opinion of men during Lewis’ time: that they are chauvinistic and hardly helpful. Although the criticisms of men are present within the novel, the negative treatment of women is much more prevalent. This is most obvious in the depiction of the traditional roles of women. Much like Father Christmas is a catalyst for commentary on his own gender, Susan Pevensie, the oldest of the Pevensie daughters, is included in the novel mainly for an avenue for Lewis’ opinions of women. In the same passage in which we are introduced to Father Christmas, Susan is given a “little ivory horn” (116). Holding no value as an instrument form combat, the horn is meant for one thing: calling for help. This confirms the stereotype of women solely as
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