Monday, January 21, 2002

For pure serendipity's sake it's hard to beat viruses that mail out random documents to entire address books--I get about three or four a week, and I always make a point of opening the document in a controlled environment in order to see what random love letter, economics essay or home budget I've received from a total stranger. (Kids: if you don't know how to do this without asking, don't: you'll infect your computer. End of warning.) Top of my mailbox just now is a book report from Karl Semple of English W.

The Silver Chair

The Silver Chair was the book I read. I liked this book because it had fantasy characters. The author uses personification for the animals. The imagery and characterization in this book were valuable to the story. The Silver Chair is written by C.S. Lewis and is in a series of books called The Chronicles of Narnia. My favorite part of this book is when Jill and Eustace, the main characters, come back from Narnia to the wall with Aslan and Caspian. The next thing Aslan breaks part of the wall down and lets Eustace and Jill walk through in there Narnian clothes and the bullies see them with the lion and in between them the broken wall and all run and scream. The main idea of this story is the serpent that was also the witch deceived Prince Rilian and kept him under a spell until Jill and Eustace saved him with the help of the marshwiggle.

Karl Semple
English W

I take some issue with Karl's contention that the main idea of the story is the serpent/witch plot--I suspect Karl is conflating the idea of 'main revelation' or 'main discovery' with the classic book report term 'main idea'. I'd also like to see the marshwiggle receive further development, as it is the story of the marshwiggle's redemption that adds texture to this volume of the Chronicles. I enjoyed this report very much--like Karl I have a sadistic streak, and when I read The Silver Chair at a very young age my favorite part was also without a doubt the running and screaming of the bullies. In my mind's eye I always attached the addendum,

"And then Aslan ate them all, devouring every last child who had laughed at Michael and Mary." (Mary is my sister.)

This impulse reflects both a shallow understanding of the moral universe C.S. Lewis was trying to convey to me and an unexpected appreciation for the Old Testament/New Testament schizophrenia at the heart of my Catholic upbringing.