In 1920, Eglantyne Jebb, founder of the Save the Children Fund, said, “It is the children who pay the highest price for our short sighted economic policy, our political blunders, our wars.” In reference to the latter of the three negative phenomena, the twentieth century was possibly the most belligerent in history, with three world-changing wars:1 the impact of these and other traumas upon the survivors is still a young field of study. For World War II alone, deaths are estimated at between 50 and 70 million.2 In England, where C. S. Lewis spent World War II and where The Chronicles of Narnia begin their adventures, over 60,000 civilians are thought to have died in air raids.What place can a children’s story possibly have in the narrative of trauma and survival? This essay argues that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe3 responds to trauma and dislocation in England during World War II with the provision of an imaginative, liminal space in which problems can be safely confronted through those which are analogous to the real world, thereby providing a measure of articulation and subsequent healing for the victim of trauma and betrayal. Further, because this literature is unattached to a particular time and place, it remains available for all children who suffer possible trauma.
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- War and the Liminal Space: Situating The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the Twentieth-Century Narrative of Trauma and Survival
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