How to Teach The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Lewis's fantastical world of Narnia, filled with talking animals and magic, is guaranteed to hold the attention of readers. Students will also be able to connect the world of Narnia in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to their own through their experiences with family, nature, and betrayal. Students will identify key moments that lead up to Edmund's treachery and follow his path toward redemption thereafter.

Students may benefit from a familiarity with Christianity and an understanding of Lewis's relationship with religion, as there are several biblical allusions within the novel. A background lesson on the London Blitz and the evacuation of children from the city will help contextualize the story.

Summary

Sent to live in the English countryside during World War II, siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy stumble upon an entrance to the magical land of Narnia when they go through the back of a wardrobe. Narnia is under the spell of the White Witch, who has imposed an eternal winter on the land and oppresses the people and its magical creatures. Drawn to the Witch, Edmund betrays his family and joins her, but soon realizes she means to harm him in order to prevent the prophecy, which predicts that four siblings will end her reign and destroy her, from coming true. With the help of Aslan, a lion who is known as the Lord of the Wood, the children are able to defeat the Witch and become the new benevolent rulers of Narnia.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Paperback

C.S. Lewis’s allegorical tale has been a favorite of students of all ages for over fifty years. It’s the perfect book for younger students and reluctant readers, since the language is simple and the plot moves quickly.

Learn more

Objectives for Teaching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

  • Comment on the various types of transformation that occur, including character development and physical changes.
  • List the events that influence Edmund's betrayal and subsequent redemption.
  • Discuss the roles of good and evil and from where they draw their power.
  • Consider whether justice can be served if an innocent person takes the punishment for the actions of another.
  • Trace the explorations that take place, from that of Narnia to that of each character's inner self.

Key Elements and Techniques

  • Allegory
  • Fantasy
  • Mythology
  • Symbolism

Themes and Motifs

  • Forgiveness and Compassion — While betrayal is a prominent element to the story, forgiveness is always quick to follow; despite the treachery of their brother, Peter, Susan, and Lucy do not hesitate to welcome Edmund back to their family once he apologizes.
  • Spirituality — Many characters represent religious figures, specifically from the Bible, and there are also references to the history of Christianity and its principles.
  • Man and the Natural World —  When nature is left to progress on its own, all inhabitants benefit. To try to control it as the White Witch does creates a harsh environment and keeps the Narnians from living in harmony with the landscape.

Key Facts

  • Length: 208 pages
  • Publication Date: 1950
  • Lexile Measure: 940
  • Recommended Grade Band: 6+

Movies

A film adaptation of the book was released in 2005. The novel's sequels, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, also have film adaptations, released in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

Your students will love:

  • Edmund's character development
  • The magical and detailed world of Narnia

Students may have problems with:

  • The violence that takes place during the battles
  • Aslan's death
  • The complicated biblical allegories and allusions

Available from Prestwick House:

Title
Available Formats
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Response Journal

More Teacher's Guides to Literature:

See all our Teacher's Guides to Literature here.