5 of 34 people found the following review helpful
more like the Chronicles of Hate,
This review is from: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2) (Paperback)The best book of the series is the "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe".
Some of the more worrying aspects of this series are the depictions of all White Europeans as basically good upright people in tune with nature and animals. Dark skinned people worship a false-gods filthy, evil and destroying nature etc.
Don't believe me read "Horse and his Boy" and the "Last Battle" and see how any non white people are depicted, this is a disgrace. ...
"In his time, people thought it was amusing to make fun of other cultures. We don't.
I'm not sure if the "rights sort" of message is being projected....
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Apr 2008 11:17:34 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Apr 2008 11:23:07 BDT
A. Scott says:
Have you failed to notice that the most evil, godless character in this book and the entire series is the Snow Queen.... a White woman?!
I honestly despair of some people........... just shut up!
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2008 20:51:02 BDT
J. dean says:
The Snow Queen apears twice "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe " and briefly during the "The Magician's Nephew". The racism critique is based on a negative representation of other races, particularly the Calormenes. The Calormenes are described as oily and dark-skinned people who wear turbans and pointy slippers and are armed with scimitars. This depiction has been cited as a blatant comparison to the traditional attire of Islam and Sikhism. The Calormenes worship the "false god" Tash, who is portrayed as a stereotypical Satanic being requiring evil deeds and sacrifices from his followers.
PS I'm not alone Philip Pullman, has warned they are stories of racism and thinly veiled religious propaganda that will corrupt children rather than inspire them.
He complaint that the Lewis's books portrayed a version of Christianity that relied on martial combat, outdated fears of sexuality and women, and also portrayed a religion that looked a lot like Islam in unashamedly racist terms.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jun 2009 16:45:56 BDT
K. Chase-Rahman says:
j dean - your arguments are important and valid, but you really should have set them out better in your actual review, rather than putting them in a reply to a negative post. Do eveyone a favour and edit your original review to flesh out your arguments - it will add greatly to the debate about this book. I haven't reviewed the book, because I am torn between it being one my favourite books as a child and latterly finding out some deeply unpleasant things about it.
Posted on 6 Sep 2009 11:26:20 BDT
Yes, Philip Pullman did warn against them but he's hardly perfect in portraying a religion as corrupted and malevolent. At least, in Narnia, C. S. Lewis doesn't state the actual religion. It could be construed as something other than Islam, in His Dark Materials, it is stated numerously that it is Christianity (and I think Catholicism also). Being a Christian, I could find this offensive but interpret it as a work of fiction as the Narnia Chronicles should be treated also. I've never come across a child who's read the Narnia books and found that they are advocated towards hating/fearing dark skinned people, or think that women are less than equal to men. You should let them enjoy the magic of the books and then afterwards if they're mature enough to recognise the "thinly veiled religious propaganda" and "stories of racism" then they're old enough to ignore them. Britain is becoming a cosmopolitan country; I doubt any child would advocate these beliefs if only for offending their friends.
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Oct 2010 21:08:16 BDT
Sean Higgins says:
The Narnia chronicles are meant as a christian allegory and as a christian of his time he would have seen muslims as dark forces. Although a good man CS Lewis was after all a devout christian and you would naturally expect this from such.
Posted on 6 Dec 2010 16:11:10 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Dec 2010 16:12:54 GMT
Ed Mellor says:
Oy! The Narnia books aren't racist. That was the stereo-type in those days. Anyway the baddys in thwe horse and his boy a black men but if they were white skinned would that mean c.s lewis was being racist to us? some people... (i dont know if you noticed but jadis is white!!) Also i am ten years old and ive read all the narnia books and im 1/4 indian and im not predijuiced against other cultures and neither is anyone else theese days.
Posted on 24 Jan 2011 10:34:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 25 Jan 2011 09:13:30 GMT
There is some validity to the race point, yet I do not believe it is as simple. Jadis, the primary corruptor of Narnia, is clearly what you'd term "White Europeans" - as are all progressively more corrupt kings / queens preceding her (see the statues description). Throw in uncle Andrew from The Magician's Nephew and the scattered references to the European war for good measure. So claim that CSL perceived "all white Europeans as basically good..." does not quite stack up. Now the Calomenes, and this is where it gets trickier. CSL needed a culture which would provide a certain antithesis (as he saw it) to his version of Christianity. And with all due respect to Christian-coloured reviews here, it is the 'Saracens' that Christians have historically seen as their opposites, ever since the Crusades, possibly earlier. While 'the Saracens' happen to be non-white, I think that CLS is projecting a prejudice which is not racial but inherent in his religious paradigm. Modern day Christianity is supposed to have moved away from this - and other - prejudices. Personally, I am somewhat sceptical as to what degree and with how much sincerely, but this is off-topic. In CSL's defense, I will point out that he did not project the Calomenes as Narnia's Muslims - at the very least, the Calomenes are polytheists and practice human sacrifice. Neither is true for Islam.
I'd also point out that my Indian wife did not seem to be bothered by any of the above, i.e. by the "problem of race". She felt more uncomfortable about the "problem of Susan" (gender) and overall strong Christian message of the series, us being atheists. As to the former, I think that the reference to "lipsticks, nylons and invitations" can be equally interpreted as gender stereotype - or simply as reference to superficial (from CSL's Christian perspective) lifestyle, quite gender-agnostic. As to the latter - Narnia books do represent Christian allegory, like it or not. But so do many fairy tales of Oscar Wilde, as an example. And we can still enjoy them.
What it all comes down to is this "There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are either well written or badly written. That is all" (OW). From this perspective, I enjoy Narnia books and find His Dark Materials a bit of a struggle. Which does not make me any less of an atheist - or my wife any less Indian :) In fact, growing up in a pefectly free-thinking household and being well aware of Christian docrtine I did not even connect it with Narnia until much later, when someone pointed it out to me.
Posted on 28 Mar 2011 15:32:23 BDT
medway bookworm says:
I read this book way, way back when I was 7 or 8 and absolutely loved it and the rest of the Chronicles. Not coming from a religious family I made no Christian connection at all. Maybe we should just remember that the books were written in the early 1950's when religious/feminist attitudes were very different to those of today and that the books should simply be read and enjoyed for what they are - simply wonderful stories beautifully enhanced by Pauline Baynes gorgeous illustrations.
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2011 10:40:01 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 27 Oct 2011 10:40:33 BDT]
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2012 09:56:59 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jan 2012 09:59:15 GMT
Anthony R. Dixon says:
To be fair to Pullman, I can't recall the word Catholic or any of its derivatives appearing in the His Dark Materials trilogy, only 'Magisterium'. If any readers recognise, and are offended by, any similarities between the dark, authoritarian Magisterium and the Roman Catholic Church then perhaps they should re-examine their beliefs.