Preface by Elizabeth Baird Hardy
Chapter Four. Guarding the Gift of Memory in The Silver Chair 78
Chapter Four Guarding the Gift of Memory in The Silver Chair “Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.” (Ch. 2) he Silver Chair (1953), the fourth of the Chronicles of Narnia to be published, follows the adventures of Eustace Scrubb and his school friend, Jill Pole. In fleeing the bullies at their English boarding school, Experiment House, Eustace and Jill call upon Aslan and the two are instantly transported to Narnia, where Aslan tells Jill that he has in fact called them into Narnia for a difficult task. A few months have lapsed in England since Eustace’s return from Narnia in The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader,” and about fifty years1 have passed in this country. Eustace realizes with a shock that his good friend, the boy king Caspian the Tenth, is now an aged man near death. In the tradition of “unlikely” child-saviours,2 the children learn that they are called to do what thirty of King Caspian’s best champions (knights, centaurs, and good giants) have failed to do (53): to search for the long-lost Prince Rilian and return him to his father’s house (29). The informing metaphor of this novel is memory. Memory signi- fies consciousness of spiritual identity as free subjects of Aslan, what the children have at the outset—and loss of memory signifies en- slavement to evil, what the enchanted Prince Rilian suffers under. In order for the children to achieve their task, Aslan gives Jill four signs she is to remember...
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