"What is this babbler trying to say?" Acts 17:18

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What Stories Can Do

Among many good quotes from C. S. Lewis's On Stories, a book of 20 essays on reading, writing and appreciating (you guessed it) stories, is this one that explains the ideal he strove for in the Chronicles of Narnia.

I thought how stories of this kind could steal past a certain inhibition which had paralyzed much of my own religion in childhood. Why did one find it so hard to feel as one was told one ought to feel about God or about the sufferings of Christ? I thought the chief reason was that one was told one ought to. An obligation to feel can freeze feelings. And reverence itself harm. The whole subject was associated with lowered voices; almost as if it were something medical. But supposing that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them appear for the first time in their real potency? Could one not thus steal past those watchful dragons? I thought one could.

"Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said." in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature pg. 47. Harcourt, inc. 1982

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