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Good quote from C.S. Lewis - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Good quote from C.S. Lewis
In my quest to review children's books, I'll be referring frequently to C.S. Lewis's "Three Ways of Writing for Children." Found this quote about people who want to restrict fairy tales because they're "too frightening."

Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker. Nor do most of us -find that violence and bloodshed, in a story, produce any haunting dread in the minds of children. As far as that goes, I side impenitently with the human race against the modern reformer. Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let villains be soundly killed at the end of the book.

Amen. There is nothing to add.
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Comments
amamama From: amamama Date: June 6th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Amen. *nods*
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: June 6th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fantastic.
alkari From: alkari Date: June 6th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agree 100%. Lewis and his friend Tolkien really understood fantasy and its role, for both children and adults.

If I had a time machine and invisibility cloak, I'd love to go to some of the Inklings' meetings!
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: June 6th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
The TARDIS! With one of those perception filters! Ah, I was born too late...
scionofgrace From: scionofgrace Date: June 6th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
::standing ovation::

I love that man.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 7th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm not entirely clear in what CS Lewis is trying to say...

I understood the whole not restricting fairytales to children.

but is he saying to leave them gory so children can learn?

i'm confused
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 7th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I'm not entirely clear in what CS Lewis is trying to say...

He's saying that the horrible things in the world are always going to be there, and the existence of monsters in fairy tales is symbolic of it--but unlike "realistic" fiction, fairy tales also have the existence of real heroes to vanquish them. In a bit more context, he's saying that nothing will stop children from being afraid (he cites his own paralyzing nightmares about insects), but that fairy tales can teach them to be brave in the face of it.
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: June 7th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely - and the base for the Susan Death school of child rearing :). You can't make the monsters not exist, but you can teach them that the monsters can be beaten.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 7th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)

what??

"the Susan Death school of child rearing"

are you talking about Cs Lewis susan or that's just a coincidence?

i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: June 7th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: what??

No - Susan Death is a Terry Pratchett character, but I'm pretty certain that this C.S. Lewis quote is the source of her unique (and very effective) way of teaching children to stand up to the things that go bump in the night. I've always liked her style.
sreya From: sreya Date: June 7th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I think I've always felt this way, but could never express it so clearly. Thanks for sharing it.
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: June 7th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish I had Hogfather here so I could quote what Pratchett says in the same vein. :(
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: June 9th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE C.S. Lewis, and he is SO right about fairy tales . . .
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