Susan and Narnia

C. S. Lewis, his worlds, and his faith.

Moderators: coracle, Lady Arwen

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Evelyn » Jun 28, 2011 8:19 am

Hum, maybe your right about not giving up on Narnia, but there is still something more to her than that she just didn't believe anymore.

Take her conversation with Lucy in PC. She really acts like she can't even enjoy being there since she knows she's going home again. "You're happy to be here, aren't you?" Lucy askes. "While it lasts." Susan answers.

Its hard to muddle out. I probably should read the books again and just focus on Susan and then try this again. ;)
Merry Christmas!

"I'm here to save Elizabeth!" ~ Will Turner
User avatar
Evelyn
NarniaWeb Regular
 
Posts: 54
Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Location: riding a horse somewhere . . .
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Louloudi the Centaur » Oct 19, 2011 7:47 am

Susan not believing in Narnia anymore reminds me of the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:22.

"22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful."

Susan, in Narnia, is like the seed among the thorns to me.(In short) She believes in Aslan at first, or seems to. She acknowledges Him and the world of Narnia when she is young, in other words, she begins to grow on it. However, when she is too old for Narnia, she begins to become more worried about "nylons and invitations" than thinking about Narnia/Aslan. She is choked by the "thorns" (image and popularity) and suffers. :(

Though I've always thought Susan was a bit distrusting of Aslan/Narnia, she did at least seem to want to believe her siblings, as shown in Prince Caspian, that there is a Narnia, and a Lion. Unfortunately, she became like many others, worrying more about life than she should about her faith.
Louloudi the Centaur
NarniaWeb Junkie
 
Posts: 930
Joined: Jun 09, 2011
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Lilygloves » Oct 25, 2011 2:50 pm

That is a really good allusion, Louloudi the Centaur. It's a good illustration of how each of the Pevensies responded to Narnia. It's hard to imagine someone forgetting Narnia or trying to pretend it's all a game, but then again we Christians have difficulty imagining someone not being able to admit there is a god, not even Jesus Christ. Especially when you talk about a Creator of the universe. Could it all happen by accident? But people still put things away into their minds, even if they know it is true. Just like how Susan put it away into her mind, even though she probably knew in the back of her mind it was true.
It's easy to think that Lewis intended Susan to present the idea that people can lose their salvation, but then again, we don't know. It's not an allegory! Maybe he just wanted to add a plot twist and Susan seems the obvious choice to give that role to.
User avatar
Lilygloves
NarniaWeb Junkie
 
Posts: 573
Joined: Dec 18, 2010
Location: A diner
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Snowfaun » Oct 29, 2011 8:35 pm

One thing I thought while I read all the thoughtful posts--Susan was beautiful. In our world, that is a significant issue for a young woman. As a young woman she would be swamped with admirers, other girls would want to be like her, young men would want her attention. It was the forties, her world was a narrow one of marrying well--and she was a teenager. She'd be sought after, the belle of the school dance. In her ordinary world she was something of a princess, she was the head girl of the cool clique. That world held more interest for her than the world of Narnia. The pleasures of her ordinary life drew her away from Narnia.

Would she stay shallow as her life progressed? I don't think so because she did experience such serious and profound life and death issues in her youth, knew courage and love and family, sacrifice and Aslan. I think she would eventually waken.
Snowfaun
NarniaWeb Newbie
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 29, 2011
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Graymouser » Nov 02, 2011 8:26 am

Good point! After PC, Peter would have been studying intensively with Professor Kirke (Digory); they would not only have often discussed Narnia, but would have been delving into Classics, Literature, and Philosophy- following Lewis's own studies with the Great Knock- and also have been exploring Christianity - unlike Lewis.

Lucy and Edmund had their extra trip to on VDT- much longer than their experience in PC, which was only a few days (anybody know exactly how long?), plus they could have shared their memories with Eustace, who was closer to them in age.

And not only being the belle of the ball: after PC, Susan was 13; she was 14 when she went on her trip to America (as I pointed out before, in Summer 1942, the height of the U-boat campaign :-o ), and would have been 17 in 1945.

That's two years younger than my mother, who also lived through the Blitz, as did my father's younger sisters who were the same age (Aunt Gladys the same as Susan), and a lot of their war stories were about how exciting it was to have the attention of, and go dancing with, all those American and Canadian soldiers, and of course that continued for a few years after. (two of my aunts were war brides who married American soldiers when they were 19).

We see a bit of this in the movie VDT when Lucy briefly becomes "Susan".

Another thought: Susan comes back from America, eager to tell all about her experiences, only to find that Edmund and Lucy, not to mention her horrid little cousin Eustace, have been on a much grander voyage, back to that wonderful place from which she has been banned (as she might see it). She might feel resentful at being reminded of that, and not getting all the attention, and turn away to the grown-up world, forcing herself to believe that it was all make-believe.
The difference is that people wanted to hear the stories, whereas I never met anyone who wanted to read the essays
Graymouser
NarniaWeb Nut
 
Posts: 137
Joined: Feb 23, 2011
Location: Formosa- the Beautiful Isle
Gender: Male

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Anhun » Nov 02, 2011 4:56 pm

To me, the Susan situation is an illustration of Lewis' proto-feminism. Women have the same potential for courage and virtue that men have, as we see in grown-up Lucy. But society in Lewis' day pressured and morphed many women into becoming inferior creatures whose only value was in their external beauty (hence nylons and lipstick :-* ). Susan succumbed to this because, at the beginning of her Narnia experience, she was already on the threshold of adolescence, and would have started internalizing adult gender roles to some extent. Lucy on the other hand, was still a little girl when she entered Narnia. She did all of her growing up in Narnia, before she came back and did it again in England (REALLY weird when you think about it).
User avatar
Anhun
NarniaWeb Nut
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Dec 29, 2010
Location: P3R-233

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Nov 03, 2011 2:36 am

:ymapplause: Anhun, I think you have hit a bullseye in your analysis of Susan. And I think other points made by GM & Snowfaun are tremendous also. :D Maybe the main difference all along between Susan and Lucy is that Susan would not ask questions, preferring to accept the status quo, unlike Lucy. Susan was a follower, rather than the leader she sometimes thought she was.

When we first see them in LWW, whenever Susan had anything to say, it was usually 'is it safe'? 'I wish we'd stayed at home', or 'let us return back to home'. Or 'ugh'. When Father Christmas said that girls weren't to be in the battle, Susan accepted the status quo but Lucy considered whether she would be brave enough to try. And it was Susan who felt most threatened by the idea that Lucy had been telling the truth about her discovery of Narnia, or that Lucy had really seen Aslan at the gorge in PC.

Although she was young enough to run around in children's games, learn to excel at sport, and enjoy the delights of Narnia the first time around, Susan's idea of a satisfactory pastime at the beginning of LWW was to listen to the radio and read books. Although we learn that Susan had won prizes for swimming and was a skilled archer, she took little joy from her accomplishments. In fact even reading the book I wondered if Susan really enjoyed that second trip to Narnia. Perhaps it was too humiliating that it was her horn that was the means of summoning all the Pevensies to Narnia. There was only a week or so to stay there, with a rather sensational party at the end of it, before Susan returned back home for ever.

By VDT, even reading books was not contributing to either Susan's schoolwork, or her ambitions in life, and so she was able to accompany her parents to America, where she had her best chances of learning to socialise, just as we saw in the film VDT. No wonder that Susan fell by the wayside, when Narnia no longer matched her ideas of everyday reality and her ideas of what was expected of a grown lady. I wonder though if Susan learned anything from her experiences in Tashbaan. ;)

Graymouser wrote:Another thought: Susan comes back from America, eager to tell all about her experiences, only to find that Edmund and Lucy, not to mention her horrid little cousin Eustace, have been on a much grander voyage, back to that wonderful place from which she has been banned (as she might see it). She might feel resentful at being reminded of that, and not getting all the attention, and turn away to the grown-up world, forcing herself to believe that it was all make-believe
.

I wonder if Susan really did come back from America, mentally as well as physically. I liked the idea that Susan was a typical teenager of those pre-Women's liberation times - in a rush to get to her majority at 21 so that she could have a nice fancy wedding and domesticity at home. I doubt she had to force herself to do anything. Susan had merely grown away from her siblings, who had found other pursuits and interests more in keeping with both their personalities and with their memories of Aslan.
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 8438
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Apr 03, 2012 4:00 pm

Leah Betts wrote:Like a lot of people I believed that Lewis excluded Susan from Aslan's Country because she had the gall to mature and move on to "lipstick and boys". Lewis may have had many problems when writing the books - his sexism and misogyny, his fat hate in PC and his stereotyping of Islam etc. etc. but people are right that Susan didn't enter Aslan's Country because she didn't die. She's been given a chance to redeem herself with a long life.


Welcome to NarniaWeb! :ymhug: Yes, Susan, and why she wasn't in the train smash, is a fascinating topic which has kept a lot of people entertained almost separately from the Narnia stories themselves.

Personally, I don't see C.S.Lewis as sexist, racist or stereotyping of Islam. I've heard he didn't like to study Sheharazade (Arabian Nights), a series of stories allegedly told by a princess, the latest of a series who had been married to some Persian prince or other who executed any new wife who displeased him. Also called 1001 nights, this collection of stories kept the murderous bridegroom entertained so that he kept putting off the inevitable execution. There is even a Sheharazade reference in HHB, where Aravis, a Calormene Tarkeena, has had good training in story telling. It is also clear from both HHB & LB that the religion practised in Calormen has nothing to do with Islam, being polytheistic and idolatrous in nature. And considering Women's Lib hadn't yet happened til after CSL died, in 1963, he did well to have even Lucy able to answer back so clearly and effectively any examples of sexism his male characters showed. :p

The more I read comments about the ending of Chapter 12 of Last Battle, the more I am beginning to think that there is something fishy about Peter's, Jill's, Eustace's and Polly's remarks about Susan. For it is not only what is said there, but what is not said that is bothering me. C.S.Lewis, himself, (Letters to Children, 1957) wrote:

“The books don’t tell us what happened to Susan. She is left alive in this world at the end, having by then turned into a rather silly, conceited young woman. But there’s plenty of time for her to mend and perhaps she will get to Aslan’s country in the end . . . in her own way.”

According to Doug Gresham commenting at the end of the Focus on the Family Last Battle CD's, C.S.L also felt he could not write any more Narnia stories without their being forced and that seven was a good number. Lewis almost invited people to write their own stories to fill any Narnian gaps, and plenty of fan-fiction writers have taken him at his word over Susan. He has also made many remarks throughout the Narnia series about eavesdropping, and Aslan's telling people only their own stories. Nevertheless, there has been much debate online over Whatever happened to Susan

One writer, Neil Gaiman, even wrote in 2004 a short story about Susan and her role in Children's Literature, called The Problem of Susan, part of his published anthology, Fragile Things, which has also been debated hotly online. This adult tale has a journalist, Greta Campion interviewing an elderly Professor of children's literature, Susan Hastings, whom the journalist believes is the same Susan Pevensie who lost her siblings in a train accident many years previously. Greta says (Gaiman, 2004 pp 193-4) in this story about a story about Susan:

"It's just that I remember that sequence so vividly. In the Last Battle. Where you learn there was a train crash on the way back to school, and everyone was killed. Except for Susan, of course. ....You know, that used to make me so angry...

All the other kids go off to Paradise, and Susan can't go. She's no longer a friend of Narnia because she is too fond of lipsticks and nylons and invitations to parties. I even talked to my English teacher about it, about the problem of Susan, when I was twelve....

She said that even though Susan had been refused Paradise then she still had time to repent while she lived."


Please note that in Gaiman's story, how inaccurately and sloppily both Greta the journalist and her English teacher quote both the relevant Last Battle incident and C.S.Lewis, himself. Now C.S.Lewis was a Professor of English literature at both Oxford and Cambridge and used to picking his words very carefully indeed. Including in the Last Battle.

A correspondent in this Problem of Susan discussion noted that right at the end of Last Battle, Lucy finds out that her Non-Narnian parents, who had, unbenownst to her, caught the same train to Bristol, and had therefore been in the train accident, had also gone to Aslan's Country, no doubt accompanied by unnamed fellow passengers.

It is worth noting that Susan wasn't at the 7 Friends of Narnia meeting that Tirian attended. And it cannot be emphasized more, that Susan wasn't killed in the train crash. Unlike Peter and Edmund, she was not on the station platform. Nor was she in the train, like the rest, when the train collided with the station. A real train crash, as Aslan, himself, pointed out, due to human error. Based on one that really did happen in UK at the time C.S.Lewis wrote Last Battle.

I'm finding it more and more ridiculous that this sloppy misreading of Last Battle has so many people, especially atheists like Phillip Pullman, expressing so much disapproval of a fictitional children's literature character like Susan being debarred from a Paradise they don't believe in anyway, even in real terms, let alone a children's novel. Apparently they think that Susan was debarred on account of her conforming to everyday materialist concerns, rather than her dismissing Narnia as children's games. However, what are atheists, themselves, saying when they argue that there is no world but this one? There is no life after death, there is no salvation, and that the central tenet of Easter and Christianity (John 3: 16) is a lie?

What did Peter actually mean when he said that Susan was no longer a friend of Narnia? And why would he be the one to say so? Why not one of the others? And why did each say what they were meant to?

P.S. I have highlighted CSL's own comment in red, and the quotation from Gaiman's short story in blue.
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 8438
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby DawnTreader07 » Apr 04, 2012 6:44 pm

Leah Betts wrote: and it being her fault (not that it was, but it's written like that) that Jadis was raised.


Really? I didn't see that at all! Not that you are wrong, of course. But I got the impression that Aslan held Digory alone responsible, since the only thing he really asked Polly was if she had forgiven Digory for "the violence he did you in the House of Charn" or whatever exactly it was.
"Daughter, I have now lived a hundred and nine winters in this world and have never yet met any such thing as Luck. There is something about all this that I do not understand: but if ever we need to know it, you may be sure that we shall."
DawnTreader07
NarniaWeb Regular
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Dec 05, 2011
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby stardf29 » Apr 04, 2012 9:27 pm

Certainly, Lewis's view on women has changed much over the time he was writing the Chronicles, and that can definitely be seen if you observe the books over their publication order and see the female characters in battle more often in later books.

That said...


Leah Betts wrote:But oh, yes, he was sexist: ...Polly always being interested in dresses...

(* - I will admit that girls didn't wear trousers often when Polly was living - it just grates from a modern perspective and Lewis could have easily shown Polly as a First Waver feminist who rejected what her society tried to force on her.)


This is a really odd assertion to make regarding Lewis being supposedly sexist. Is it particularly wrong for a girl to be interested in dresses? Is there any need to make sure that our female characters have absolutely no trace of any interest in "girly" things?

What if a girl character I wrote is one that really likes dresses, not because that's a sort of "default" for all my girl characters, but because, well, she likes dresses? Yes, it's one thing to write a bland female character who's all into all the usual "girly" things with no other notable traits, but what about female characters who perhaps like certain "girly" things, dislikes other such things, and likes some things girls aren't typically associated with?

Likewise, yes, Lewis could have easily written Polly as an outright feminist... but did he have to? Do you think there has to be at least one female lead character in every story who is a "First Waver feminist" that staunchly opposes what society expects her to be? Is a work necessarily "sexist" if there is no such character, even if the female characters that do exist are not complete, stereotypical "girly girls"?

Why does it "grate from a modern perspective", then, that these fictional girls aren't these avid feminists that you want them to be? Or perhaps, a better question: do the Chronicles of Narnia need to be a book series that supports (the good aspects of) feminism, or can it be a book about what Lewis wants it to be about, and leave the pro-feminism stuff to other books?

Regarding Susan's case, it is clear to me that the problem isn't that she got interested in makeup and boys, and that alone caused her to completely revoke her friendship with Narnia. Rather, she got obsessed with makeup and boys, made that kind of life her idol, and that meant there was no room for Narnia in her heart. As far as I see it, they could have said "she started playing professional tennis and is so obsessed with that that she doesn't care about Narnia anymore" and it would be the same thing (only there would be a bunch of angry letters and posts about Lewis's claiming that tennis is evil).

The key here is that it's not that she was interested in "nylons and lipstick and invitations" that caused her to fall away, but that (direct quote from the book, emphasis mine):

"She's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations."


A bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely shows how she has allowed things that could be good in and of themselves if they don't rule your life to rule her life.

But yes, she's still alive at the end of LB, and so she still has time to repent.
"A Series of Miracles", a blog about faith and anime.

Avatar: Kojiro Sasahara of Nichijou.
User avatar
stardf29
Moderator Emeritus
I'm on a goat.
 
Posts: 14353
Joined: Mar 11, 2005
Location: Waiting for you at our secret base...
Gender: Male

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Ithilwen » Apr 05, 2012 1:03 am

Leah Betts wrote:But oh, yes, he was sexist: ..."crying, just like a girl"...

As for a character saying "crying, just like a girl", that reflects the character's opinion; not necessarily the author's. The girls in the Chronicles have a few good shots of their own. Girls don't have a map in their heads "because our heads have something inside them." And don't forget Polly's comments of, "How very like a man!" every time Digory does something that irritates her.

Lewis didn't have boys running down girls -- Lewis had children of both genders running down both genders. Why? Because, that's basically what kids do. "Girls rule, boys drool!" "Ewww, girls have cooties!" It's a phase kids go through. And a realistic touch to a book series that definitely has a theme of childhood in mind.


~Riella =:)
User avatar
Ithilwen
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 5885
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Location: Taking over the world while twirling my evil girlstache.
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby starkat » Apr 05, 2012 5:43 am

Leah, you seem to be making the assumption that every single solitary female would hate their clothing no matter what. I'm going to go ahead and tie this back in to Christianity here.

Morals, laws, and guidance for behavior stems directly from the Bible in Western culture. But society of that era pulled their concept of modesty straight from the Bible.

This is just one of the verses I could use to argue my point.

Deuteronomy 22:5 wrote:The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.


I'm well aware that there were specific garments for men and women at the time that the verse was mentioned, but the same holds true for this era as well.

Lewis was keeping within his era for style and his faith for writing Susan and the other women the way he did. He meant absolutely no disrespect to them individually or as a gender.

We have gotten waaaaay off course from the actual topic of this thread though. Time to get back to this:

220chrisTian wrote:So, why does Susan not enter Aslan's Country? Will she ever? And more importantly, what are the reasons for her faithlessness?

Discuss away! :)


Susan didn't enter Aslan's Country because she walked away from the faith of her childhood and didn't allow it to grow into the faith of an adult.

1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.


It doesn't mean that she wouldn't at some point in her life, but it was something she had done up until that point. She "rushed ahead to the silliest time in one's life" without remembering what she had been through to get there. Her priorities were placed on the wrong thing instead of on God where they should have been.
User avatar
starkat
Moderator
 
Posts: 18794
Joined: Feb 26, 2004

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby Ithilwen » Apr 05, 2012 11:28 am

Leah Betts wrote:And I'm sorry but the way he has Miraz say "You talk like an old woman!" and the way that some characters are excluded from seeing Aslan for being "plump" (both of these are in PC) are sexist and fat-hating (respectively) no matter how you look at it.

The "You talk like an old woman" bit certainly isn't sexist. For one thing, you have to keep in mind who is saying the line -- the villain of the story, who is both silly and temperamental. And for another thing, he is most likely referring to a stereotype concerning -- not women -- but just as it says, old women. The "grandma" image and the "old busybody neighbor" image has been well known in both stories and real life for as long as anyone can remember. Both of these images appear in stories without being accused of being sexist. And both of these images are a realistic thing to use as an insult by villainous characters who, in their hearts, honor strength and military warfare.

Same as the people above, I see nothing wrong with a character who likes dresses, and see no need for her to have to rebel against society in order to escape the sexist allegations.

And, personally, I have seen nothing in the Chronicles at all that indicate that C.S Lewis was sexist.

So, why does Susan not enter Aslan's Country? Will she ever? And more importantly, what are the reasons for her faithlessness?

I believe that Susan did not enter Aslan's Country because she is still alive. She will if she repents before she dies. And the reason for her faithlessness was idolatry -- letting worldly, material things push out her beliefs in the truth.


~Riella =:)
User avatar
Ithilwen
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 5885
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Location: Taking over the world while twirling my evil girlstache.
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby johobbit » Apr 05, 2012 12:08 pm

MOD NOTE:

As starkat mentioned on the previous page, this thread has veered way off topic. It's past time to get back to the topic at hand: Susan and Narnia.

Thanks.
User avatar
johobbit
Moderator
 
Posts: 15808
Joined: Feb 06, 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada ... under the northern sky
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Apr 05, 2012 6:49 pm

Thank you, johobbit, especially as there is also a thread in Talking about Narnia forum about why people don't like Narnia. The last time I posted here, was because I am getting more and more convinced that people are misreading that particularly infamous passage in LB about Susan. Believe me, C.S. Lewis certainly was not saying in that passage anything like Gaiman's Greta the journalist says in this quote:

Gaiman 2004 p193 wrote:All the other kids go off to Paradise, and Susan can't go. She's no longer a friend of Narnia because she is too fond of lipsticks and nylons and invitations to parties.


Unfortunately, that is the way it is usually taken as this debate has also shown quite convincingly. Even though starkat's statement that "Susan didn't enter Aslan's Country because she walked away from the faith of her childhood and didn't allow it to grow into the faith of an adult", might sound right, in principle at any rate, it isn't right either.

Earlier in LB, Tirian appeared at a meeting of the 7 Friends of Narnia like a guest speaker whose ghost speech writer has left him high and dry. When Tirian passes the stable door he realises he is meeting the same 7 Friends of Narnia he saw at the meeting, no longer dressed in their strange clothes, but nice comfortable ones people could enjoy wearing.

But it is then, not at the meeting, that Tirian realises that Susan is missing. So he asks "Where is Queen Susan?". Peter answers him by saying:"My sister Susan is no longer a friend of Narnia" (LB pp 127-8, my ed) And then Peter concludes this section by saying "Well, don't let's talk about that, now" (ibid) which effectively stops Ed and Lu saying anything more.

I always thought whoa, there has been a family dispute of sorts. Peter does seem unhappy with Susan. But he doesn't say that Susan is no longer a friend of him or his siblings, does he? Was the argument something to do with Narnia, then? Of course it was!

I'm not altogether convinced either that Peter spoke for Edmund and Lucy, who had nothing to say at this stage. However much he was high king and their big brother, Su, Ed and Lu never thought twice about arguing with Peter if they had to. It wasn't till years afterwards that I realised that Edmund and Lucy had both been at the siege of Anvard on Susan's account whilst Peter had been in the North fighting giants. They, not Peter, had to bail out Susan on that occasion.

The next to speak was Eustace (ibid): "...whenever you've tried to get her to talk about Narnia, or do anything about Narnia, she says, 'What wonderful memories you have! Fancy your still thinking about all those funny games we used to play when we were children.'"

Now this at least hints why Susan wasn't at the first meeting. But why would Susan want to discuss old Narnia times with Eustace anyway? Remember how scathing he was about Narnia at the beginning of VDT when he was eavesdropping on Edmund and Lucy? Remember how he made limericks about Narnia, and people getting barmier and barmier? But why would Peter be upset by Susan making such comments to Eustace, which is how I first read it?

Well might Susan say something like that to Eustace just to stop him teasing her, too. Remember also, that Susan liked to be seen as grown up, often patronised her younger siblings, that she had gone to America in VDT, didn't know about Eustace's change of heart and we don't even know if she ever found out about what happened to Prince Caspian, let alone his son Rilian. Though when someone online drew a comparison with what Eustace says in this quote and what he heard from the Queen of Underland at the end of Silver Chair, I did see the point in spades. Didn't LOTGK also accuse Jill, Eustace, Puddleglum and Rilian of playing at games like children, inventing a world better than her own?

However, it wasn't until I read this extract right now that I realised that Eustace was saying that Peter had been trying to get Susan to attend meetings etc, not Eustace, himself. So now we know that not only did Susan not attend that meeting with Tirian, but she wouldn't have attended any meeting Peter called that mentioned Narnia, anyway. So how does Eustace know first hand about what she had been saying to Peter on earlier occasions? Oh yes, Eustace is Susan's cousin, don't forget. Did he want her to meet Jill Pole, his friend from his Silver Chair adventure? Did Susan even want to know about that incident? So if she wasn't attending meetings, how did Susan ever meet Jill? Or did she meet Jill at that end of SC party where Jill wore the Narnian gear? Did Susan, showing off her adult status at that time say something patronising about the standard of dress that schoolgirls like Jill would have? Proving just how keen Susan was in being grown up. Or was there some other social occasion where Jill would have met Susan?

It is also Jill who tells us next: "She's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations.", which hints where Susan has got to whilst the meeting was being held. And this is a real red herring. Yes Susan might be overly wrapped up in dressing her best in the latest fashions in lipstick and stockings for those invitations, but she wouldn't have upset Peter if she had just missed a meeting to attend a party, important or not. There had been parties galore in Narnia. The PC romp through Narnia was one huge party. In Tashbaan the parties had been in Susan's honour as Rabadash's prospective bride. Peter had even put on parties, hastiludes, tournaments and other festivities to entertain Rabadash at Cair Paravel. And at the end of LWW when we learn about Queen Susan the Gentle and her marriage proposals, there is a strong suggestion that Rabadash wasn't the only one seeking Susan's hand in marriage.

Peter is upset, not only because Susan didn't attend that meeting, or any other meeting for that matter, but also because she probably wasn't even interested later in what happened at the meeting at which Tirian appeared. If he had even tried to give her a big brotherly reminder to watch out for Rabadash types at the party she attended instead, that, too, would have gone down like the proverbial lead balloon. And how dare she patronise her elder brother when he was referring quite properly to something Narnian that was not at all childish!

What Polly has to say clinches what Susan has been up to. Now where or when in Narnia or outside of it did Polly meet Susan? Or does that really matter? Polly is the voice of experience in this conversation. We don't know how she spent her life, other than that although she was always friends with Digory, she didn't choose to marry him. Why would she after his sexist outburst in Charn about women, engagements and marriages? By the way, notice how the Professor doesn't say anything? Because after what Professor Digory had to say as a boy in Charn, he really would have been sexist to comment about Susan in any way whatever. Especially if he had been so good as to give the "friend of the bride's family" speech at the wedding. Besides, he knew from LWW that Susan, deep in her heart, still felt those Narnia adventures were barmy and that she had only been giving Lucy the benefit of the doubt.

Susan didn't enter Aslan's Country, because she wasn't at the meeting and so was not involved in any way in the Narnia plans. She didn't enter Aslan's Country, because, unlike Mr & Mrs Pevensie, she wasn't on the train to Bristol. So, to answer Tirian's question, where was Queen Susan?

For all we know, Queen Susan was at Bristol, waiting for her parents to arrive. She might not have known that her siblings were on the train as well, being deep in Bridezilla mode at the time. Like in 'childish' fairy tales, beautiful Queen Susan the Gentle, having finally met her Prince Charming, has gone off to get married and live happily ever after, now she is 21, legally an adult, and can do as she likes, possibly as a Mrs Somebody in Bristol. Which is why 21 just might be the silliest time of one's life, until 18 became the age of majority. Let us hope that Prince Charming, whatever his views on royalty, doesn't turn out to be another Rabadash.

C.S.Lewis wasn't being sexist. Women's libbers would have applauded Polly and C.S.Lewis in the 1970's. Through Polly, the voice of experience, C.S.Lewis was warning girls like Susan, like myself as a young girl, that 'happily ever after', like beauty, doesn't go on forever. Only heaven goes on forever. Oddly enough, the need to warn girls like Susan against being influenced too much by fashion, fairytales and convention, and the need to warn against neglecting girls' educations, in favour of their getting married once they were adults, were exactly the reasons why we needed Women's Lib in the first place.

Leah Betts wrote:And I'm sorry but the way he has Miraz say "You talk like an old woman!" and the way that some characters are excluded from seeing Aslan for being "plump" (both of these are in PC) are sexist and fat-hating (respectively) no matter how you look at it.


Not at all. Those school uniforms that Susan, myself and many others wore in the 1940's and afterwards, in UK & elsewhere did really make us look dumpy, despite rationing during WW2 and the later age of austerity ensuring that nobody actually could be described as 'fat', not even me. :D Typical girls' school clothes in those days were just as dreadful as the attire described in PC, worn compulsorily in Telmarine schools run by the likes of Miss Prizzle, to force conformity on everyone, if nothing else.

These school uniforms consisted of horribly thick black stockings, that snarled and laddered anyway, as stated in PC, to cover calves revealed by heavy serge box-pleated tunics, which sagged halfway down one's calves at the back after a few wears, cut girls' silhouettes in half horizontally, unlike the vertical lines of trousers and long dresses, and were a nightmare to keep clean. And except for Gwendolen, neither Miss Prizzle nor the other girls in her drearily untrue history lesson, in her drearily conformist school, wanted to meet Aslan. No wonder Susan would embrace the glamorous nylon stockings and lipstick advertised so romantically at that time.

There is a real danger in expressing views simply from hearsay, or from second hand sources like Greta the Journalist, whether about Narnia, C.S.Lewis' alleged sexism or whether about Susan and why she wasn't suitably killed for entry into Aslan's country. It is better to go and read the books oneself. Carefully, to show the proper reference to one's quotes and to show exactly where it was written. And to think what C.S.Lewis really meant to convey.
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 8438
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

Re: Susan and Narnia

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Apr 09, 2012 11:03 pm

Events in PC should go something like this: (my corrections in red)

Day 1 - arrive at Cair, in evening identify it
Day 2 - rescuing Trumpkin, hearing story - row boat to GlasswaterNight - Lucy's vision
Day 3 - Hike. Incident with bear. Lucy sees Aslan at cliff's edge. Group runs into Telmarine outpost and retrace their steps. Night - Lucy meets Aslan
Day 4 - Boys and Trumpkin arrive at Aslan's How, Girls depart on Narnia romp.
Day 4-5 - Parleying for boys
Day 5 - Duel for boys and Battle of Beruna II
Days 4 and 5 girls - romp and reunion with boys after Battle of Beruna II
Day 6 - cleaning up ...
Day 7/8/9 (hardly likely 10) - back in English clothes - back through the door.
User avatar
waggawerewolf27
NarniaWeb Zealot
 
Posts: 8438
Joined: Sep 25, 2009
Location: Oz
Gender: Female

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests