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,