Classroom Sneak Peek: 8th Grade Literature, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; an Analysis of the Allegories

As a literature teacher, one of the best things that can happen in a class is for students to be so intrigued by a theme or idea that they explore it on their own. This year in 8th grade literature, the students were particularly struck by the Biblical parallels between Narnia and the Bible. Students spent multiple class periods arguing the possible allegories, pushing past the more obvious connections to tease out possible less-apparent similarities. As a final project, students compiled their observations in an essay, complete with a cover illustration. Ella presented thoughtful comparisons in a clear, organized way. She restricted herself to analyzing a few of the most striking characters and included good support from the Bible. I was particularly intrigued by Ella's "weak" parallels; she makes some connections which I've never considered. Not only did Ella present good content, but she demonstrated a strong grasp of form and structure. She employed an introduction with a clear thesis, made use of topic sentences, wrote a satisfying conclusion, and meticulously documented her references.  ~ Miss Carissa Davis, Upper School Literature

In many books, it may seem like all of the ideas and characters are new and original.  Although it is a great story, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe looks to be the opposite.  The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is very similar to the Bible, and this is particularly evident in the characters in the story.

            Some of the strongest parallels between The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and the Bible are demonstrated by Turkish Delight, the White Witch, and Aslan.  Turkish Delight, an extremely delectable confection, represents temptation because it is used as motivation to do something evil.  1 Timothy says that temptation will “plunge people into ruin and destruction” not far from what happens to Edmund when he is lured to the evil White Witch, who offers him Turkish Delight in exchange for the betrayal of his friends.[1],[2] The White Witch, also known as Jadis, can be compared to the devil because of her use of temptation. She uses temptation and evil magic to get others on her side. Last is the comparison of Aslan to Jesus. In the book, Aslan is prophesied to “put all to rights” in Narnia, including the White Witch.[3] Aslan also died in place of Edmund after he had sinned, just as Jesus died for our sins.  After dying, both Jesus and Aslan rose again, in both body and spirit.[4],[5]

The next set of parallels are not as strong, but still very plausible.  The mice who are present just after Aslan’s death untie him, which can be compared to when Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus down from the cross and placed him in the tomb.[6] The Angel Gabriel is like Father Christmas because both portray messages of good news.  Father Christmas is also a sign of the White Witch’s power weakening, which is a joy and relief to the beavers and children.  Lewis also writes about Deep Magic, a set of rules created by the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea.  This Deep Magic can be compared to the laws of the Old Testament in the Bible, because both are a set of rules created by God or a godlike figure. 

A few of the weakest comparisons include the four children and the stone knife.  The children could be disciples, specifically Judas, John, and Peter.  Edmund would be Judas because they both betray their friends and Christ or, in Edmund’s case, Aslan.  Lucy would be John because she is the most loyal to Aslan and Narnia, and both Peter and Susan would be the disciple Peter because they at one point doubted Narnia like Peter denies Jesus three times in Matthew.[7] The stone knife could represent the spear in the Bible because they are both weapons used at the time of death.  However, the spear is used to wound Jesus and not to kill him, unlike the stone knife, which the witch used to kill Aslan in chapter fourteen.[8]

All this being said, it is not determined whether or not C.S Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, meant to include so many connections between this book and the Bible.  The characters may have meant something to Lewis.  Because Lewis was an apologist, the story of the Bible was already in his head and he could have just transferred these ideas to his book on accident and kept it in the final.  We may never know the truth about how these parallels appeared in the book.  These mysteries are intriguing because everyone can draw their own conclusions from these small hints and this creates the unique story of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe that we enjoy today. 


[1] The Holy Bible, ESV, 1 Timothy 6:9 (ESV).

[2] C.S Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (HarperCollins, 2000), pg.37-40.

[3] Ibid, pg. 79.

[4] Luke 24:36-43.

[5] Lewis, pg. 162-163.

[6] Matthew 27:57-60.

[7] Matthew 26:69-75.

[8] Lewis, pg. 155.