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Mobilizing meaning?: religious symbolism in film adaptations of C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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The aim of stories is often to socialize children into accepting certain dominant values held by the society in which they live. C. S. Lewis's fantasy fiction, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe ([1950] 1998), may be a case in point: steeped in Christian symbolism, it uses linguistic means such as implied meaning, for example, to convey a particular religious message. It is with this ideological focus in mind that the article will seek to explore the processes at stake in converting Lewis's text to film. In the first instance, I will provide an analysis of how Lewis's narrative works on different planes: an explicit and an implicit plane where interpretation depends on the reader's knowledge of the Christian tradition. In more general terms, I will attempt to show how, in the process of converting the text to film, a significant shift in religious ideology occurs from that of general Christian symbolism to an American conservative evangelical perspective.
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Keywords: adaptation; fidelity; ideology; implied meaning; symbolism; translation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of East Anglia.

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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