Tomorrow at Dorothy Sayers Classical School here in Louisville, I am planning to teach the 5th and 6th grade boys about allegorical/heavily symbolic literature. As an example, we will be looking at the following:
“Aslan on the Stone Table” (excerpted from The
Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)
and Susan held their breaths waiting for Aslan’s roar and his spring upon his
enemies. But it never came. Four Hags, grinning and leering, yet also (at
first) hanging back and half afraid of what they had to do, had approached him.
“Bind him, I say!” repeated the White Witch. The Hags made a dart at him and
shrieked with triumph when they found that he made no resistance at all. Then
the others– evil dwarfs and apes– rushed in to help them, and between them they
rolled the huge Lion over on his back and tied all his four paws together,
shouting and cheering as if they had done something brave, though, had the Lion
chosen, one of those paws could have been the death of them all. But he made no
noise, even when the enemies, straining and tugging, pulled the cords so tight
that they cut his flesh. Then they began to draw him towards the Stone Table.
said the Witch. “Let him first be shaved.”
snip, snip went the shears and masses of curling gold began to fall to the
ground. Then… the children, watching from their hiding-place, could see the
face of Aslan looking all small and different without its mane. The enemies
also saw the difference.
he’s only a great cat after all!” cried one.
what we were afraid of?” said
they surged round Aslan, jeering at him, saying things like… “How many mice
have you caught today, Cat?” and, “Would you like a saucer of milk…?”
once Aslan had been tied [to the Stone Table,] [t]he Witch bared her arms… Then
she began to whet her knife… Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped
down and said in a quivering voice,
now, who has won? Fool, did you think that by all this you would save the human
traitor? … Understand that you have given me Narnia forever… In that knowledge,
despair and die.”
children did not see the actual moment of the killing. They couldn’t bear to
[C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
(HarperCollins 2001 edition), 180-181]