“The Magician’s Nephew” is one of the books in “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, which was one of the first prequels created by an outstanding writer C.S. Lewis. The book, being destined to children, is still interesting for the large audience because the author raises very important themes, which are always relevant and attract not only children but also adults. In this regard, the theme of the eternal conflict between good and evil is one of the major themes, that the author conveys successfully in his book.
In fact, “The Magician’s Nephew” is the prequel to “The Chronicles of Narnia”, which gives insight to the beginning of the entire story. The book focuses on adventures of Digory Kirke, the would-be professor Kirke and Polly Plummer, his close friend. Digory and Polly find occasionally the door to Uncle Andrew’s study, where they get involved in his magical experiments. They travel from England to another world, where they are pursued by Witch Jadis. In attempt to escape, they return back to England but they are still followed by Witch Jadis. As they attempt to bring her back to her world, they travel again with Uncle Andrew, Frank and his wife, Helen, to the world of Aslan, who has just started to create the new world. Digory brings the magic apple to plant in Narnia to expel the witch and takes the apple to heal his seriously ill mother. As their adventures come to the end, Digory and Polly become lifelong friends.
In fact, the book focuses on different themes, among which it is possible to single out the theme of the conflict between good and evil, which is the milestone conflict of the entire book. Digory, Polly and Uncle Sam as well as Aslan represent the good side, who confront Witch Jadis as the representative of the dark side. Evenually, good wins as Digory expels the witch but, as she tasted the magic apple, she has become immortal that implies the eternity of evil. However, her immortality brings her nothing but sufferings because “a length of days with an evil heart is only a length of misery” (Lews, 2008, p. 241).
At the same time, the book contains a number of symbolic issues and characters. For instance, the author attempts to show the power of speech and granting this power by Aslan implies that Aslan is playing God. Also the author shows the weakness of humans in face curiosity. Digory cannot resist to his desire to learn more that makes him pushing the bell and awakening Witch Jadis. On the other hand, curiosity leads to knowledge, which, though, people do not always come prepared to learn.
The author uses simple and picturesque language, which helps readers to perceive the entire story easily and read the entire book from first page to the last one with the keen interest. At the same time, the author keeps the audience in suspense to keep the attention of readers focused on the events depicted in the book. Interesting and involving plot is backed up by symbolic characters: Uncle Andrew is a symbol of a scientist, who cannot really control effects of his discoveries; Digory is a boy, whose curiosity often takes control over his mind, Polly indecisive but easily following the lead of others, namely Digory; the Witch Jadis is a symbol of evil; Aslan personifies God or Creator.
Thus, the book is one of the most successful novels written by C.S. Lewis.
Lewis, C.S. (2008). The Magician’s Nephew. New York: Routledge.
Schakel, Peter J. (2005). The way into Narnia: a reader’s guide. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.
Sammons, Martha C. (2004). A Guide Through Narnia. Regent College Publishing.