Chapter Six is titled: Into The Forest.
Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.
It is a most wonderful experience, as a reader, when we are allowed to watch a beloved character head towards (unbeknownst to them) a delightful experience that we, the audience, are aware of. And here, CS Lewis provides us with that as two new characters are introduced to the land of Narnia!
Susan and Peter are our main focus in the opening paragraphs, as all the Pevensie children enter into the wardrobe. They feel cold and wet. They discover snow. And Susan finds she is sitting by a tree! We know what they have found, and we are so glad to have them there! But someone is not. Edmund speaks once in this first scene, and what he says is only fully understood by ourselves and Lucy.
“Let’s get out,” said Edmund, “they’ve gone.”
I am glad they ignored him. I am also glad for Mr Lewis’ writing here. He exercises the rule of showing, not telling, because Edmund – the beast, as Peter soon calls him – does not feel as we do about Narnia. Already he has a sickening feeling towards that magical land of Narnia that shall only grow as the story continues.
“I apologise for not believing you,” he said, “I’m sorry. Will you shake hands?”
“Of course,” said Lucy, and did.
I have three points that I wish to bring before you from this extract:
My first is that Peter is strong enough of a leader to apologise. He does not ignore Lucy out of cowardice, and nor does he pretend to have forgotten that he disbelieved her story. Displaying natural leadership, he bows to his mistake and shakes hands. Thus, affirming his acceptance that a misdemeanour has occurred and displaying his wish that it has a positive resolution.
Secondly, Lucy accepts his apology. She does not stand all high and mighty, demanding that he owe her more than a forgiving handshake. She kindly, gently, and immediately accepts his proposal.
Finally, I return to a hypothesis that I previously made in my first essay back at the opening chapter of this book: “Does Lewis write his character Lucy as a reflection of his goddaughter, or what he wishes she would become/learn?” The hypothesis now leads me to this: “Can we learn from each of Lewis’ characters individually?” For me, the answer to such a question is yes, most definitely, and I hope I can make that clear as I progress through this book.
Oh dear Edmund! What a blunder you have made!
“I say,” began Edmund presently, “oughtn’t we to be bearing a bit more to the left, that is, if we were aiming for the lamppost?
This then leads to the others realising he has indeed been to Narnia before and Peter calling him a poisonous little beast. Then Edmund does something that shows how far he has gone into his anger, self-pity, and selfishness. He hates them more for telling him he has done wrong. Such a strange thing to do I think, yet people do this quite often, because they feel the ones telling them off are stuck up – as Edmund says. Mostly they are not stuck up, but they have a strong sense of morals (be it correct or not).
What a terrible sight for Lucy as she comes to Mr Tumnus’ house, or what is left of it. A friend’s house. Her only Narnian friend. And he is gone. Taken by the Secret Police (which clearly denotes evil to our modern eye, and is a parallel to the SS that was active in Nazi Germany during the time this book was set – World War Two). She must have felt lost, heartbroken, and (as is shown) guilty.
The final point that I want to make from this chapter is at the very end where Edmund takes Peter aside and speaks into his ear. Some of it is good counsel, but it is all said in a wicked tone and leads to Edmund sowing doubt – which thankfully does not take seed. There are those who will speak good things to you in this world, and mix in a little bad so as to slip it past you unawares. Listen carefully and be cautious.
Thank you for taking the time to read my little writings. Feedback is greatly appreciated and will be read and digested. I’ll be back with Chapter 7 next week when we’ll meet the Beavers. Till then: