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Mice in Narnia

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Mice in Narnia

Postby Aravis Narnia » May 03, 2010 4:44 am

I have noticed recently that mice are portrayed very positive in the Chronicles of Narnia. In LWW they chew away the cords, in PC and VDT the talking mice are very supportive and helpful, and in LB the mice bring food to Tirian.

Did C.S. Lewis have a special fondness for mice? Is it know if he or his stepsons had pet mice? Having pet mice myself, I am thrilled that he has portrayed them so positively. But not everybody likes them. Is this part of the larger environmental message stating that every creature has a role?
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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby daughter of the King » May 03, 2010 12:53 pm

Aravis Narnia wrote:I have noticed recently that mice are portrayed very positive in the Chronicles of Narnia. In LWW they chew away the cords, in PC and VDT the talking mice are very supportive and helpful, and in LB the mice bring food to Tirian.
Well, other animals are portrayed positively too. Horses are always on the good side, as are most birds, and big cats such as leopards and lions. So I don't think we can assume that he had a special fondness for mice just going off of that. However, I think in Letters to Children he mentions a mouse that was living in his apartment. I don't think it was a pet mouse, though. Other than that, I've never read anything about C.S.Lewis and mice.

Aravis Narnia wrote:Is this part of the larger environmental message stating that every creature has a role?

There's a larger environmental message? :-\
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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » May 04, 2010 6:54 am

I think implying that there's some sort of "larger environmental message" is a rather large stretch of the imagination. C.S. Lewis, like most people on planet earth, had a fondness for animals, and that fondness carried over into his writings. I'm guessing that many people didn't keep mice as pets back in those days, but I suppose, given Jack's amiable nature, he could have befreiended the mouse living in his home. (In fact, I'd like to think that's true, having a fondness for little critters myself.)
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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby Berserker » May 04, 2010 7:49 pm

In mythology, mice have represented inconspicuous innocence, courage in the face of overwhelming adversity, and the value of good deeds, no matter how small. Aesop's fable "The Lion and the Mouse" is probably the oldest and most famous example of this archetype, and undoubtedly served as inspiration for C. S. Lewis.
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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby DOECOG » May 04, 2010 8:49 pm

Lewis was indeed fond of mice. According to a podcast I recently heard, (sorry I couldn’t find a link :(, but it’s under iTunes: look under Narnia A-Z, then R is for Reepiceep) he had pet mice as a child and at Oxford he put out crumbs of food for mice. Also, in one of his other stories (I think it’s Boxen, but I’m not sure) he has a mouse named Peter for one of his major characters. As someone who is very fond of mice myself, this has always been a little extra draw to Narnia.
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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby DamselJillPole » May 05, 2010 12:08 pm

Mice play important roles in a lot of stories, look at Cinderella. I also believe it has something to do with the short stories DOECOG was suggesting that Jack and his brother made up as kids and he remembered those.
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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby Aravis Narnia » May 06, 2010 5:47 pm

Yay for pet mice! I did not know Jack had pet mice- that is wonderful! I wonder if pet mice appeal to people like us. I wonder what Joy would have thought of pet mice had Jack kept them as an adult.

Berserker- while most people would never think of me as a mousy person (after all I am loud and assertive), the truth is that almost all of those traits apply to me (except for the inconspicuous one). I wonder if those are some of the reasons why I have always liked mice and have never been afraid of them. I grew up in a place where gender roles are somewhat tighter than in the USA. No other woman in my family liked mice- and one otherwise very feminine girl in a show about a school was deemed tomboyish simply because she was the only girl in her class not afraid of mice!

Mice make fantastic pets. They are smaller and lesser maintenance than rats, do not chew crazily like gerbils do, and are nowhere near as irascible as hamsters are.

And yes, there is a large environmental message in Narnia. It especially shows up in LB, but there are undertones (and more explicit aspects) in the other books. Respect towards animals and plants is always encouraged. And characters use the natural resources wisely. So yes, there is an environmental theme.
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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby Boy Scout » Jul 25, 2010 6:57 am

Yes Lewis did seem to like mice, I read this in "C.S.Lewis's Letters to Children." I do suppose that there is sort of an enviromental message. But you must remeber That the trees and animals in Narnia can talk, (Which is a sippler way of saying that they ave souls like you and me.) so it would be wrong to kill them. However C.S.Lewis was not one to say, "Hey we should give human rights to trees in our world!"
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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby Elluinas Mirion » Jul 25, 2010 11:36 pm

Read through the middle of "That Hideous Strength", there's another bit of a scene with mice in it.

Specifically Jane notes "How huge we must seem to them!" as the mice scamper on the carpet cleaning up the crumbs. It is sort of a parallel to how tiny WE appear to the angelic Oyarsai of those stories.

The mice are just one piece of the great chain of being from slime up to elves and angels and so on. Only Lewis had an altogether different appreciation of non-human life than most people. A scholarly discussion can be read in God, Humans, and Animals: An Invitation to Enlarge Our Moral Universe, written by a man who probably has all the answers now, having died recently of pancreatic cancer.

Snippet: "This is a book about animals and the moral life. The kinds of questions it raises are profound and consequential: Do animals have moral standing? Do human beings have moral obligations to animals?... Robert Wennberg finds it troubling that society at large seems to care more about such concerns than the Christian community does..."

In addition to mice, there are also guinea pigs which are mentioned in Magicians Nephew, specifically, Uncle Andrew uses them as experimental subjects which Digory finds morally objectionable- (presumably cockroaches weren't available 8-} )!

Actually, DOECOG, and others, if the mouse in Lewis House WERE wild that would also be in keeping with his ideas. The whole idea of keeping pets is something just un-Lewis. It's basically a form of slavery. There's a passage in "Perelandra" at the tail end where he mentions why narnians dont keep pets.

"Mice want crumbs, and we want clean carpets. This should never have been the cause for a war" (War in this case meaning mousetraps and cats).

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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby Elvenhelm » Jul 29, 2010 7:35 pm

We had a house mouse last year, and he was actually really cute the way he scampered around and peeked out at us. He was very fast and it was amusing watching our chubby, incompetent cats trying to catch him. He eventually found his way outside. We called him "our little Narnian experience".
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Re: Mice in Narnia

Postby Aravis Narnia » Aug 01, 2010 2:33 pm

It is wonderful that C.S. Lewis has such a positive and healthy attitude towards mice and rodents in general. Part of the overall environmental message in Narnia- respecting the animals, yes all of them.

While I am not opposed to medical and scientific experimentation in animals, it has to have guidelines and standards. Very much opposed to animal cruelty here.
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