Till We Have Faces, Four Loves, And Narnia Analysis

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Many have accused C.S Lewis of being a misogynist. This accusation comes from his lack of support for the feminism movement of the twentieth century. However, while Lewis could not be labeled a feminist, he is far from the misogynist label given to him by critics. Rather than choose to favor one particular gender over the other, in his later life Lewis stated that he had, “a preference for people (Leeuwen 259). This article will analyze the role of gender in Lewis writing, particularly in Till We Have Faces, Four Loves, and Narnia, within the grander context of the twentieth century and seek to prove that Lewis’s statement about his “preference for people (Leeuwen 259)” is true.
In order to understand how Lewis’s idea of gender compares and
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One of the most important woman who shaped Lewis view was Dorothy L. Sayers who was able to help Lewis become more open to women. Through her influence, Lewis came to realize that his father had a large impact on the way that he viewed women, saying that prior to meeting Sayers he, “dimly realized that the old-fashioned way (my Father did it exquisitely) of talking to all young women was v[ery] like an adult way of talking to young boys (Leeuwen, 107). While Lewis was greatly influenced by Sayers, he continued to hold on to his, “Platonic notions of gender because they were intertwined with his theology (Bartels 336).” Throughout his years of writing, there seems to be a constant seesaw between his tight grasp on his traditional beliefs and his openness to better understanding women. This is seen in his works Till We Have Faces, published in 1956; The Final Battle, published in 1956; and Four Loves, published in 1960.
In Till We Have Faces, gender stereotypes are largely eradicated. The struggles that the book suggests are ones which both genders face. Leeuwen states that this work represents a removal from Lewis’ earlier works which, “neatly lined up characters in terms of masculine and feminism stereotypes (Leeuwen 54).” It is through this work, whose two main characters, Orual and
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I prefer people (Leeuwen 107).” This may be because Lewis himself did not fit neatly into either of these roles and did not want to force his characters to do something that he could not do himself. Even though Lewis wished to create characters that break gender barriers, one issue that is often brought up is “The Problem of Susan”. This refers to the scene in the Narnia book The Final Battle when Susan is the only one of the Pevensies that is not allowed into Heaven, or the ultimate Narnia. The reason that Lewis gives his readers is that, “Susan had been ‘interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on growing up’ (Bartels 324).” While many readers took this as a sexist comment, the intent of this passage was to highlight the problem of worldliness, one that is often talked about in the Bible. In other words, while the other Pevensies took the narrow path that led to Heaven, Susan chose the wide path which led her astray. If Lewis would have been more mindful of the way he described Susan choosing the wide path and how the method he chose could have been taken as sexist, it might have been more effective. Alan Jacobs argued that this was, “a red herring, distracting readers from the larger problem of gender in the writings of C.S Lewis, problems which are deeply

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