Towards the beginning of The Silver Chair, Eustace and Jill get into a little fight which culminates in Eustace falling off the cliff to his apparent death.

“What are you doing, Pole? Come back — blithering little idiot!” shouted Scrubb. But his voice seemed to he coming from a long way off. She felt him grabbing at her. But by now she had no control over her own arms and legs. There was a moment’s struggling on the cliff edge. Jill was too frightened and dizzy to know quite what she was doing, but two things she remembered as long as she lived (they often came back to her in dreams). One was that she had wrenched herself free of Scrubb’s clutches; the other was that, at the same moment, Scrubb himself, with a terrified scream, had lost his balance and gone hurtling to the depths.

Shortly thereafter, Jill is interrogated by Aslan:

“Human Child,” said the Lion. “Where is the Boy?”

“He fell over the cliff,” said Jill, and added, “Sir.” She didn’t know what else to call him, and it sounded cheek to call him nothing.

“How did he come to do that, Human Child?”

“He was trying to stop me from falling, Sir.”

“Why were you so near the edge, Human Child?”

“I was showing off, Sir.”

“That is a very good answer, Human Child. Do so no more. And now” (here for the first time the Lion’s face became a little less stern) “the boy is safe. I have blown him to Narnia. But your task will be the harder because of what you have done.”

Given that the Narnia stories often contain allegories, or references, to something religious, this incident seems to have several similarities to the tale of Cain and Abel in the Bible:

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

(Genesis 4:8-12 ESV)

Both stories seem to involve a struggle between two people that resulted in the (apparent) death of one of them. Both slayers are confronted by God and asked specifically as to the whereabouts of their (apparently) dead interlocuter. Cain is ultimately sentenced to be a wanderer on the Earth, and Jill is sent to wander across Narnia searching for a missing prince.

The main difference seems to be how they respond to the whereabouts question. Cain lies to God and is rebuked, while Jill tells the truth to Aslan who specifically commends her for the truthful answer.

Was C.S. Lewis trying to evoke the Cain and Abel story here, and "fix" Cain's character by giving a truthful answer, or is this just a random part of the story and the connections to the Biblical account are merely imagined or coincidental?


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.