C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a tale of wonder and magic that has been a hit among students of all ages for over sixty years. The fantastical world of Narnia, filled with talking animals and mythical creatures, is guaranteed to hold the attention of even your most reluctant readers. Whimsical elements aside, 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.

Even though it’s best known as an entertaining children’s novel, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe can also be interpreted as a Christian allegory in which Aslan represents Christ. If you choose to examine the book from this angle, consider providing students with an overview of Christianity and Lewis's relationship with religion, as he incorporates several biblical allusions within the novel.

In addition, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe offers a glimpse into British history. At the beginning of the story, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are evacuated from their London home due to the Blitz, a series of bombings by the Germans that affected the city during World War II. Like the Pevensie siblings, real British children were sent to live in the countryside with friends or relatives, and, because of the wartime circumstances, they were often unable to return home. A brief background lesson on World War II-era England and the evacuation of children will help contextualize the story.

Summary of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Key Facts

  • Publication Date: 1950
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Lexile Measure: 940
  • Recommended Grade Band: 6-8

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, a sorceress 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.

What Your Students Will Love About The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

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

Potential Student Struggles With The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

  • The violence that takes place during the battles
  • The complicated biblical allegories and allusions

Learning Objectives for 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.

Literary Elements in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

  • Allegory
  • Allusion
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Conflict
  • Fantasy
  • Foreshadowing
  • Mythology
  • Symbolism
  • Theme
  • And more!

Major Themes in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Forgiveness — 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.

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Spirituality — Many characters represent religious figures, specifically from the Bible, and there are also references to the history of Christianity and its principles.

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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.

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Other Resources for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Order The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Resources from Prestwick House

Resource Format
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Paperback Student Edition
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Teaching Unit Reproducible Downloadable 30-Book Set
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Response Journal Reproducible Downloadable 30-Book Set