Literary Paper on the Magician's Nephew

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In the novel "the Magician's Nephew", C.S. Lewis uses experiences from his own childhood to form the character of Digory in his own likeness. C.S. Lewis replicates much of his autobiographical information, regarding where he lived, his personality, and his own adventures, to create a character that is both believable and dynamic. Throughout the novel, “The Magician’s Nephew”, much of the personal information regarding Digory, closely resembles that of the author C.S. Lewis. Digory and Lewis were both confronted with the death of their mothers at an early age, both were sent to live in a place they had no desire to be and both went long periods of time without seeing their fathers. We find out early on in the novel that Digory’s mother is very ill and not expected to live much longer. The novel begins with Digory meeting Polly when he climbs over a wall and is brought face to face with her. The Author writes, “The face of the strange boy was very grubby. It could hardly have been grubbier if he had first rubbed his hands in the earth, and then had a good cry, and then dried his face with his hands.” (The magicians Nephew p.2) This beginning already has the reader intrigued as to why a boy would be crying. The chapter later goes on to say that his “mother was ill and was going to…die.” (p.4) C.S Lewis was about the same age as Digory when his mother took ill. In the program “Questions of God” Lewis says “When my mother became ill, there were voices and comings and goings all over the house. Our whole existence changed into something alien and menacing, as the house became full of strange smells and midnight noises.” Times like these would bring any boy to tears. C.S Lewis was no different, and he gave to his character Digory the same hardships as himself. Not only was Digory tormented with the looming death of his mother but he was also forced to live in a place he had no desire to be, amidst people he had no desire to be around. After Polly had vocalized her observation that Digory had been crying he said, “And so would you, if you’d lived all your life in the country and had a pony, and a river at the bottom of the garden and then been brought to live in a beastly Hole (London) like this.” (p.3)C.S. Lewis, was also not a fan of England. In his auto biography “Surprised by Joy” Lewis says, “No Englishman will be able to understand my first impressions of England, the strange English accents with which I was surrounded seemed like the voices of demons. But what was worst was the English landscape… I have made up the quarrel since; but at that moment I conceived a hatred for England which took many years to heal.” This hatred for England is made clear when Digory called it a “beastly hole”. This is something else that C.S. Lewis gave Digory to have in common with himself. After the death of Lewis’s mother his father was so stricken with grief and unable to care for his children that he sent C.S. Lewis to boarding school. From this time until he was 16 he saw his father very little. Digory’s father is also absent during the novel. Digory’s father is away in India for work. With his father away and his mother so ill he is sent away to his Aunt and Uncle, neither of which treated him well. The circumstances of Digory so closely resemble those of the writer, it is clear to see that Digory is a representation of C.S. Lewis.

Not only are the circumstances in Digory’s life similar to those of the author, their personalities are similar as well. Both were very stubborn and head strong. In “School Days” C.S. Lewis said, regarding boarding school, “I never ceased by letter or by word of mouth to beg my father that I might be taken away.” This stubborn and strong willed personality is evident in Digory as well. For example, when Digory and Polly enter the world of Charn all Polly wants to do is leave the miserable place and says, “Lets go home”, however Digory will not hear of it and his stubbornness makes Polly give in....
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