Writing Strategies 2, session 10: December 2nd, 2011

Today, we read some sample short essay questions on “The Magician’s Nephew”, and wrote some of our own.

  1. What things are prohibited in the garden?
    Climbing the wall is forbidden; those who come to the garden must enter through the golden gates. Stealing fruit, especially for your own
    use, is also forbidden – fruit can only be taken with permission and for another person rather than for the one who picks it.
  2.  What arguments does the Witch use to try to persuade Digory to eat the apple himself or take it home to his mother? Give at
    least two for each.
    To persuade Digory to eat the apple himself, she uses the following arguments:
    * She has tasted the fruit and can feel that it has given her eternal youth and life – it works.
    * She suggests that Digory would be able to be King of the world (with her as his Queen) if he eats it.
    * She implies that she will be his wife or consort if he eats it – it has already been implied that she uses her beauty to manipulate people
    and that Digory considers her to be the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.
    * She reminds Digory that one day he will be old and weak and dying and may regret not taking his chance at eternal life and youth.
    To persuade Digory to take the apple home to his mother, she uses the following arguments:
    * She tells him that his mother will be healed.
    * She tells him that his mother will be free from pain immediately and be able to sleep without sedation.
    * She tells him that his home will be happy again.
    * She says that he will be normal, like other boys, if his mother is healed.
    * She tells Digory that his mother would be upset if she knew that Digory could have healed her but didn’t.
    * She tells Digory that his father’s heart would be broken if Digory refuses to heal her with the apple.
    * She accuses Digory of being cruel and pitiless.
    * She tries to make the Lion appear as a selfish wild animal who treats Digory as his slave.
    * She says that it would be very easy for Digory to cover up the truth of where he got the apple and what he was supposed to do with it.
  3.  In what way is the treatment of Uncle Andrew an example of poetic justice?
    In the past, Uncle Andrew has looked down on animals as things that are inferior to himself and he has felt justified in using them for cruel experiments, such as his experiments on guinea pigs when some of them exploded. Now the talking animals believe that he is an animal that cannot talk and treat him the way that a human would treat a non-talking animal, keeping him in a cage and naming him. However, their treatment of Uncle Andrew is much kinder than the treatment he has given animals – they all give him the type of food that they themselves would like to eat (the bear is especially generous) and they regard him with affection and concern (notice that they refer to him as “poor old Brandy” and hope that the food will “have done it some good”).


Answer question 1, and question 2 OR 3.

  1. What will happen to the Witch now that she has eaten an apple?
    The Witch’s wish of eternal youth and strength like a goddess has come true even though she stole an apple. However, she will be
    miserable and unhappy for eternity, because her heart is evil and it will only grow more evil as the years pass – Aslan says she will grow
    stronger in dark Magic. This experience of misery and despair that came as a result of eating the apple means that the scent of the other
    apples now fill her with horror. This is possibly made worse by her usual reaction to life and wholesomeness – notice how she reacts in
    the Wood Between the Worlds.
    She has gone into the north of the world and will remain hidden there while she learns more magic.
  2.  Name two things that make the apple tree planted by Digory different from other apple trees in our world.
    * The tree grows from a core to a seedling overnight.
    * The tree mysteriously moves even when no wind is blowing to explain or cause this.
    * The apples produced by it are very healthy, even if they cannot restore a dying person to full health.
    * The wood from the tree is magical and enables somebody to travel to Narnia.
  3. What changes come to the Ketterley household once Digory’s mother is restored to full health?
    The house becomes a more pleasant place to live in, especially as more sunlight and fresh air are let into the house. Flowers are used as
    decorations and the quality of food improves – it is implied that these things are done at Mrs. Kirke’s request. The piano is tuned, and the
    house becomes filled with music as well as laughter. Lastly, after Mr. Kirke’s return from India, Uncle Andrew leaves the London house
    and Aunt Letty is freed from the responsibility of looking after the problems he causes, as well as being freed from nursing Digory’s
The evil Queen Jadis tempts Diggory (Kimberly Skoda and Pete Cates, above) with a magic apple in a Knoxville, Tennessee, stage production of the C.S. Lewis tale "The Magician's Nephew."

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