The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Summary
by C. S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe book cover
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Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe treats questions of truth and lying, love and hate, good and evil, and forgiveness and revenge with honesty and respect for the reader's intelligence. While Lewis's thoughts on these subjects are interesting in themselves, the ideas become even more exciting within the context of a fast-paced and imaginative adventure story. The novel is filled with mythical creatures, humorous moments, and suspenseful situations. Although many events and characters seem improbable, the four children in the book—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy—are realistically portrayed. They are well-rounded characters with individual strengths and faults.

The ideas in the novel apply to the real world as well. The government of Narnia is totalitarian. One person creates the rules, has power over all aspects of people's lives, and does not allow others to challenge or object to the rules in any way. Written a few years after World War II had ended, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe provides allusions to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi government in Germany. Lewis wanted to convey the idea that evil exists in the real world and must be faced with courage and honesty if people are to be happy and free.

His religious ideas can also be applied to the real world. In a way, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is an explanation of Lewis's Christian values, even though he never overtly preaches. The values of unselfish love, sensitivity to the needs of others, and willingness to combat evil all help Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter bring happiness to Narnia.

Summary

(Novels for Students)

Chapter One: Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe

It is wartime, and four siblings (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) are sent away from their home in London to escape the air-raids. They go to stay at a large house in the country, where live a funny-looking old Professor (to whom they take an instant liking), a housekeeper named Mrs. Macready, and three servants. At the first opportunity the children explore the house, and after walking through a labyrinth of stairs, corridors, and rooms, they come to a spare room that is empty save for a big wardrobe. Uninterested, Peter, Susan, and Edmund move on, but Lucy stays behind to check out the wardrobe. She gets inside, moves through rows of fur coats and, to her amazement, walks right into the middle of a snow-covered forest at night. A light shining in the distance catches Lucy's eye and she goes toward it: it is a lamppost. As Lucy is wondering how a lamppost got to be in the middle of a forest, a Faun carrying brown-paper parcels steps out of the trees. The Faun is so startled at the sight of Lucy that he drops all his parcels.

Chapter Two: What Lucy Found There

The Faun introduces himself as Tumnus and invites Lucy back to his cave for tea. He serves lots of food, tells delightful stories, and plays a tune on an odd little flute that puts Lucy to sleep. When she wakes up, Mr. Tumnus starts crying uncontrollably and confesses to being in the pay of the White Witch, an evil queen who makes it always winter but never Christmas in Narnia. Her orders to him were that if ever he was to see a Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve in the forest, he must capture and deliver them to her. Mr. Tumnus explains that he was just pretending to be her friend so that he could lure her to his house, wait until she fell asleep, then sneak out and tell the witch, but now that he has gotten to know Lucy, he cannot bring himself to turn her over. Lucy thanks him, and he leads her back to the lamppost. She returns through the wardrobe and runs to tell her sister and brothers all that has happened.

Chapter Three: Edmund and the Wardrobe

Lucy's siblings do not believe her story, and when she tries to prove it by showing them the inside of the wardrobe, nothing is there except coats. Lucy is very upset, and Edmund makes matters worse by teasing her. A few days later, however, Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe during a game of hide-and-seek, and he too discovers Narnia. Edmund...

(The entire section is 3,379 words.)