Once, Always


 

Once, Always - The Susan Pevensie issue.

Since I first read the Narnia books as a child I’ve  wondered, why? Why did C.S. Lewis seem to punish Susan, condemn  her for the crime of being it seems, a young woman.  As someone with a close relationship to their own sibling and parents, I found it cruel separating Susan from her family. Many others have also debated the reasons - a useful plot device to illustrate the faith and commitment of the other characters – to demonstrate that unlike them, Susan was easily distracted, easily corrupted. Perhaps the fictional result of the accepted attitudes of  a certain age - an inability to recognise that the desire for glamour are not inherently wicked.

My opinion is that C.S. Lewis had created a strong, independent female character and  rather than celebrate this, chose instead to dismiss her – no development towards redemption.   And so I resolved to tell Susan’s side of the story. To demonstrate that she was not condemned for poor choices but rather that she followed her destiny based on her own decisions.

And then there is Jadis. Again strong, independent. Undeniably violent, but with the delusions and excessive ambition that any modern celebrity or politician needs  to succeed.

Exploring an alternative world for both Susan and Jadis also made me aware of those expectations of women following  WWII. My own grandmother, managing two jobs and raising a family, alone -   struggling to find her place in the peace that followed.

Finally, Once, Always is my tribute to C.S.Lewis. His creations, even when inspiring such a response, remains a continuing joy to this reader. The fact that I felt compelled to defend Susan and Jadis is a testament to the enduring power of characters and their ability to live beyond mere printed words. Without them, my own writing -  my life -  would be poorer.    

Once, Always - click to open PDF

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