Hi all - hope you are enjoying/enjoyed the book =)
I'm just wondering what everyone thinks about the representation of gender in the book.
There are of course two main boys (unless you count Aslan, but hey he's a lion) and two main girls so we at least have a balance on that level. The girls are definitely allowed a voice, and Peter asks Susan for her input on decisions. Girls aren't meant to participate in fighting " battles are ugly when women fight" p103, LWW. Although allowed to defend themselves with a bow and arrow in the case of Susan. They are allowed to be with Aslan during his 'death' at the stone table, this is not deemed too much to handle for women, they are seen as strong enough to observe and not interfere.
Peter being the oldest male is of course 'high King' at Cair Paravel. In the case of the beaver's Mr Beaver builds the dam and finds the children, whilst Mrs Beaver keeps the home-fires burning and cooking up dinner :). Of course this is a novel of another time, and considering the social protocol I think that both women and men are presented in a good light.
Lucy is really the star of the four children, she discovers Narnia and is honest and brave. Edmund goes through great personal growth and both he and Peter prove themselves in battle. Aslan doesn't seem to favor either sex, yes they are treated differently when it comes to battle, but both genders seem to be assumed to be intelligent and capable.
However we do have a male 'goodie' - Aslan and a female 'baddie' the witch. This could be criticized as women being lumped in as evil when powerful, or read as a good thing. Often women characters are unable to be powerful whether good or bad. Although the witch isn't human she is giant and jinn (?). And she's also descended from Lilith, Adam's first wife (doesn't this make her part-human?). I mention Lilith because she was Adam's wife before Eve, and refused to be subservient. I've heard she went off and had hundreds of babies and flew through men's windows at night to suck out their semen. Or so they thought in the middle ages =). (The witch could be a discussion point all of her own...)
What other points have you noticed? Would you say the genders are both respected and pretty balanced for the times? Or is C.S.Lewis sexist as he has been accused of being?How different do you think the genders would be portrayed if C.S.Lewis were writing this story today?
EDIT: Just found spark notes has a LWW section if anyone is interested in reading it...