February 2, 2006

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Syllabus

I will be teaching a junior high level class for our homeschool coop for the book The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe from the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. In order to keep all the students on the same page and to help them I have created a syllabus with assigned reading, topics we will cover and some potential discussion questions for each week. It also includes a glossary of terms and some websites for future reference. This can be used as a The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe lesson plan.

I thought I would include it here if anyone wanted to see what we will be studying and utilize it in their own groups. My formatting is a bit off here but all the information is here. I just ask that you keep the credit and copyright with it and link to this website if you post parts of it online. Our class is designed to meet just 6 times. This could be modified to be longer or shorter with ease. It can also easily be used at the high school level with slight modifications as well.


The Chronicles of Narnia Academy Class Syllabus

Students and/or parents please feel free to contact me via email at tenniel@gmail.com in between classes with questions or for clarification.

Course Objective:
This class will look at the book "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" by CS Lewis to examine literary concepts such as allegory, metaphor, mythology, fantasy archetypal, as well as concepts of good and evil. In addition we will examine parallels with the Christian faith demonstrated throughout the story and characters of the book covering topics such as repentance, faith, prophecy, self-sacrifice and the death and resurrection of Christ.

Student Responsibilities: All students are expected to have completed assigned reading and come prepared to participate in class discussions and projects. Use the course schedule below as you read to take notes and think about what we may discuss. Each student is expected to bring his or her own copy of the book to each class. You will also need to have a central location to keep all your notes, a binder or notebook for example. The bible will be referenced and required reading from time to time as well. Each student will turn in and present a final project no later than April 7th. Project details will follow in class.

Course Schedule:

This is the tentative schedule of topics we may cover; any changes will be announced in class or via email. Use this schedule while reading to help you prepare for possible class discussions. Of course particular points of interest to students may guide the class discussions sometimes as well. Please realize we will most likely not discuss all the topics listed each class but these are meant as a guideline to help you as you read. Please check the schedule for any additional weekly notes.

Week One
Assigned Reading
: Chapters 1-4
Topics Covered: Introduction to the course, Reading critically, C.S. Lewis and the main characters of the story. Introduction to different literary concepts: such as allegory, extended metaphor and parable.
Class discussion: Do you believe The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe an Allegory for the Christian gospel? Why or why not? How can we dig deeper into a story and find other meanings? How does understanding literary concepts help us to read more critically? What other literary terms could be used to describe Narnia?

Week Two
Assigned Reading:
Chapters 5-8
Topics Covered: Introduction to Literary Concepts of Mythology and Fantasy Themes.
Christian Concepts of the defense of the unknown (think of Lucy and defending the land of Narnia to her siblings), repentance, faith and the role of prophecy.
Class discussion: Discuss the challenges of defending the unknown based on faith and personal experience in both the book and our own faith walks. Discuss the different ways Peter and Edmund handle repentance. Are you more like Peter or Edmund in terms of repentance and admittance of wrong? Discuss some ways that C.S. Lewis uses classic mythology in the land of Narnia. How important is prophecy in Narnia and in the Bible?

Week Three
Assigned Reading:
Chapters 9-12, also read at least one human encounter with God from the bible. Some examples to choose from are Moses and Saul.
Topics Covered: Introduction to Literary Concepts of coming of age and the traditional fantasy archetypal of walking through the land of the dead.
Christian Concepts of encounters with God and repentance
Class Discussions: How does Peter’s confrontation with Fenrus change him? How does this demonstrate traditional literary concepts? How do the characters’ first encounters with Aslan compare and contrast with human encounters with God in the bible? Discuss Edmund’s repentance and how it is similar to challenges we face in our own struggles.

Week 4
Special Note:
Please bring your bible to class this week
Assigned Reading: Chapters 13-15, also Mark Chapters 14 -16 in your bible
Topics Covered: The Betrayal, Self-Sacrifice, Mockery, Death and Resurrection of Aslan and Christ
Class Discussion: What are the similarities and differences between the story of Christ and the story of Aslan? What literary concepts, if any, do these similarities and differences demonstrate. What other religious parallels can be seen through this part of the story?

Assigned Reading:
Chapters 16-17
Topic Covered: Literary and Christian concepts of the battle between good and evil. Transition between fantasy (Narnia) and real-world (England). Finishing where you started, coming full circle in the conclusion.
Class discussion: How does the final battle demonstrate classical literary concepts of good versus evil? What parallels can be drawn to the battle between good and evil in the bible?

Final Week
Assigned Reading:
Classmates Projects
Class discussion: Is Narnia an allegory for the Christian gospel? How can we implement the lessons we have learned in our own Christian walk?

Select Glossary of Terms

Allegory - (AL-eh-GOR-ee) An allegory is a narrative story with two meanings. The main purpose of an allegory is to tell a story that has characters, a setting, as well as other types of symbols, that have both literal and figurative meanings. It is also sometimes considered a narrative that serves as an extended metaphor.

Extended Metaphor - is a long-drawn out comparison. It takes the basic comparison that makes a metaphor, and then it expands it by adding even more comparisons.

Metaphor - a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally mean in order to suggest a similarity. Often two objects are compared that are not alike.

Parable - a brief and often simple narrative that illustrates a moral or religious lesson.

Myths - stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use supernatural events or characters to explain the nature of the universe and humanity.

Fantasy - is a genre of literature that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of either plot, theme, setting, or all three.

Archetype - is an idealized model of a person, object, or concept from which similar instances are derived, copied, patterned, or emulated.

Dryad - a female tree spirit in Greek mythology. They are also known as tree nymphs.

Nymph - In Greek mythology, a nymph is any member of a large class of female nature entities, sometimes bound to a particular location or landform.

Dwarf - is a short humanoid creature in Norse mythology, fairy tales, fantasy fiction

Naiad - In Greek mythology, the Naiads were a type of nymph who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks, as river gods embodied rivers, and some very ancient spirits inhabited the still waters of marshes, ponds and lagoon-lakes.

Note to students and parents

These definitions are compiled and summarized from various sources. They are not meant to be used as official definitions for anything. Rather they have been written for your use in trying to understand these concepts.

For more precise and accurate definitions I encourage you to look up the words in dictionaries and other reliable resources. These are not meant as a substitute but rather as clarification.

Other Resources for your enjoyment only

Note to Parents - Please note, I have not read through all the material on these sites. I encourage you to preview all and any site you let your child read. I am only offering locations for further information and can not be responsible for all the content found on the sites. Thanks for your understanding and enjoy your journey through Narnia.

http://cslewis.drzeus.net/ - Into the Wardrobe, a C.S. Lewis website
http://books.narnia.com/ - Chronicles of Narnia Book website with many features and information, including chronological book order.
http://narniaresources.com - Free Downloads
http://www.narniaweb.com/content.asp?id=8&cat=2 - Character Ages

If you have not already read them I encourage you to continue reading the Chronicles of Narnia if you enjoyed this book! I would recommend the Magicians Nephew next (it happens in Narnia time prior to this story and all the rest occur after this one).

Lastly, I encourage you to contact me if you have questions. I come across resources all the time about the land of Narnia and C.S. Lewis. If you would like me to email you these websites from time to time as I find them please email me and I will include you on a list that I will email resources to. Thanks for taking this adventure through Narnia with us!

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