Thursday, January 7, 2016

A is for Aslan

Debra's current read aloud is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

I read C.S. Lewis' classic tale back when I was a kid: I believe it was fourth or fifth grade. I remember liking the story, but I have to admit I didn't get a lot of the hidden meaning in it. And I also have to admit that I really didn't enjoy the rest of the series. If fact, I think I stopped reading after the third book because I lost interest.

As an adult I've grown to appreciate, and understand, the hidden depths of that story. And so it's a read aloud favorite in my class each year. The kids love the adventure of the story, and I'm fortunate that in my school we can talk about what the characters represent.

Aslan is the Christ-figure in the story. He sacrifices himself to save others. And, just like Christ, he rises again to fulfill the prophecy in the story.

It got me to thinking...I rarely write a story with such deep, hidden meanings or connections and representations. I do try to give my characters depth and let their actions, words, and environment help the reader learn about them and relate to them, but I don't use a whole lot of symbolism when I write. Perhaps it's the genre. Although I've read modern romance that gives a nod to Shakespeare and Jane Austin (among others) in their themes and plots.

Do I need to include more symbolism? Maybe. Maybe not. Don't get me wrong, I think romance can tell a deep, meaningful story, but I also think it's more for escapism rather than literary discussion and dissection. I really don't think anything written by Debra St. John will ever be required reading in a lit class, but who knows...maybe folks find hidden meanings in the things I write, even if it's mostly unintentional on my part.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Debra
www.debrastjohnromance.com

9 comments:

  1. Interesting discussion, Debra.
    I have read that while some romance readers look for an escape from daily life, others find answers to life problems. They take away a "lesson" about how a heroine deals with a problem similar to one in their life. They see how the hero perseveres, how the couple finds the HEA at the end.
    I wouldn't mind doing both.

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    1. Romance does tend to walk that fine line of being pleasurable escapism and realistic. At least in the contemporary and historic genres.

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  2. I actually read and loved the entire series as a child, although I'll admit the hidden meanings escaped me. But I agree with you that I don't think romance is the place for hidden meanings and a lot of symbolism. It's a different genre.

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    1. I do need to go back and read the one that's based on the Creation story. I think now they consider it the 'first' book in the series, while in 'my' day, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book.

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  3. I confess I have never read any of the Narnia books! I would agree, however, that romance is probably not the best place for symbolism - although one reader of my 'Changing the Future' novel somehow found a parallel between the tense relationship between the hero and heroine, and the rumblings and eventual eruption of the volcano i.e. a symbolism that I did not consciously use in the story!

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    1. See? I love it when things like that happen. :)

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  4. I've not read any Narnia books either, they simply didn't appeal. I've always read the type of books I write, as did my mother before me. I think writing romance must be in my genes.

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    1. Romance is definitely my preferred genre for writing, and for reading most of the time. Although, I do have to say, the more I write romance, the less I read it. It's too easy to fall into someone else's style, language patterns, etc., if I'm reading and writing in the same genre at the same time.

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  5. I loved Narnia as a child, but read it as a good story rather than looked for symbolism. Yes they have changed which is now considered to be the 'first' of the series. I actually don't think I go looking for any symbolism I just enjoy the story, whatever the genre.

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