The communication of Christian truth in story, with special reference to C.S. Lewis
This thesis attempts to examine the spell which story holds, to enquire its nature, and to discuss certain parallels with Christian Truth. It analyses the way in which literature requires a fundamental 'looking away' from the self, sinking into the stories of others, before returning, refreshed and opened up by new possibilities. In the same way, it is argued, Christian Truth equally depends on an essential 'looking away' from the self - both in Creation and Redemption -, seeing one's life hid with Christ in God, sinking into the story of Christ, before returning to one's old life with increased self-knowledge. It is argued that C.S. Lewis' stories show this Christian Truth both in their form and content - insofar as they indicate man's existence to be contingent upon God. In his works, it is contended, Lewis followed the pattern of the Incarnation - adoption and adaption - wresting to evangelistic purposes literary media that were otherwise often hostile. On the other hand, this thesis suggests that in certain respects these particular literary genres - science fiction, fantasy, children's literature - inherently incline to such Christian use by their tendency to both question the nature of reality and offer a different perspective wherewith to view it. The thesis pursues three themes -order, vicariousness (or identification), escapism and realism - analysing how these are reflected in the works of C.S. Lewis, his predecessors, contemporaries and successors. The manner in which some literature can be said to 'go away never to return' is examined and religious parallels discussed, together with the way in which fantasy is often used to reveal the insanity of evil's denial of contingence. The thesis concludes by exploring the implications of this basic 'looking away' content of Christian Truth for various aspects of life.