Good, Evil and the Notion of the Self in Lewis’s Adult Fiction
Some critics have voiced concerns about the way in which Lewis depicts the conflict between good and evil in his fiction. Particular objection has been taken to ‘the savagery of the killings in Narnia’ of which David Holbrook complains (116, 119, 124). Such concerns are valid enough in a world which has seen rather too much violence. But if Barbara Johnson’s thesis is correct that in constructing monstrosities authors are in fact in some sense attempting to confront the monstrosities within themselves (Johnson 151), the way in which Lewis portrays evil takes on especial psychological significance. He at once distances himself from the dark side of himself by transferring it to fictional form, names it and in a sense identifies with it by creating evil entities ‘in his own image’, as it were. In other words, Lewis partly masks the dark side of himself by setting it in a fiction, but also at the same time, he reveals it, since the evil entities and characters in the novels and stories are his own creations. As an author, Lewis is somewhat Frankensteinian: he creates, but abhors and shrinks from his darker characters, especially those which are female.
KeywordsDark Side Spiritual Struggle Bodleian Library Willed Participation Dark Character
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- 1.Apart from the Collected Works (20 vols) of Jung himself, there is a neat explication of Jungian theory and its practice in June Singer, The Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jung’s Psychology (New York: Doubleday. 1972).Google Scholar