You Can’t Fight In The War, But You Can Make Dinner

The female characters in “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” are ascribed with certain gender roles.  In the beginning of the novel Susan and Lucy are compared to their mother right away as shown when Edmund tells Susan to stop “trying to talk like mom” (Lewis 2).  Susan is also the one to suggest that they wear some of the coats in the wardrobe around Narnia, acting again like a mother by preparing and taking care of everyone with her “very sensible plan” (Lewis 61).  Lucy and Susan also fall into female stereotype that woman shouldn’t fight or be in a war.  Father Christmas gives Mr. and Mrs. Beaver presents and then gives all of the children gifts as well.  Peter is given a sword and a shield to fight with, and Lucy and Susan are given weapons as well.  The girls are instructed to only “use the bow only in great need” because girls are “not to be in battle” (Lewis 118).  And even when Susan is dragged into the war when a wolf chases her up into a tree.  Susan is described as looking as if she was about to pass out, or faint and be sick, and sits in the tree until her brother, Peter, rescues her and kills the wolf.  Theses situations demonstrate the idea that women are meant to be in the house and not out fighting in war.  Lucy is also given a special gift from Father Christmas that will heal the injured or sick with just one drop.  Giving her a role as a healer or nurse figure, which is commonly a female gender role.

Mrs. Beaver also adheres to traditional notions of femininity.   When the cohort first arrives at the den they walk in to Mrs. Beaver, “sitting in the corner with a thread in her mouth, working busily with her sewing machine” (Lewis 78).  She stops sewing once everyone is inside, and with the help of Susan and Lucy, prepares dinner.  And once everyone realizes that Edmund has slipped away and they must leave too, Mrs. Beaver is the one who prepares packs for everyone so that they, “wouldn’t set out on a journey with nothing to eat” (Lewis 110).  While everyone else is concerned with making a fast get away Mrs. Beaver makes sure everyone will have food for a long travel and considers what essentials she needs to pack.  The role of making food, and preparing meals for everyone is also a traditional female role.

The White Witch also embodies female qualities.  Although she is evil and usually has cruel intentions, she exhibits mother-like qualities when she first meets Edmund.  She notices right away how cold Edmund looks and says to him, “come and sit with me here on the sledge and I will put my mantle around you and we will talk” (Lewis 36).  And after he is settled in she offers him a warm drink and Turkish Delight.

All of the female characters in the novel exhibit some form of traditional women gender roles, ranging from preparing meals to not fighting in war. Susan, Mrs. Beaver, and the White Witch all have mother-like qualities.  And Susan and Lucy fall into the gender stereotype that women should not be involved in a war but should remain act as healers and take care of the people at home.

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