Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Liberties and Liberation!

I am working assiduously on my Reepicheep essay!

It is probably pathetic that I'm taking this so seriously. I miss school. I miss writing papers. (Yes, I'm a geek.) But most of all, I love Reepicheep. He is one of my favorite characters of all time.

The Chronicles of Narnia had a huge impact on my childhood. I fell in love with the idea of talking animals: creatures who were as intelligent as humans while still being beasty. (Not beastly.) Pattertwig the squirrel is flighty and hyperactive, hides nuts, and chatters incessantly. The dogs are energetic and loyal and loud. The Beavers build a dam--and a house. (There is never a good explanation for the sewing machine, though. We never see such a high-tech item again.) All the animals' traits become more pronounced when they get excited.

Is it any wonder I have tried to re-create a new Narnia in my Papizan chair? Why else would a grown woman have over a hundred stuffed animals with fancy names, funny back-stories, and individual personalities? Why else would my animals "talk" while maintaining their own natures?

Shylock the Squirrel patters around my kitchen table, chattering and scouting for Captain Crunch cereal. Scheherezade ("Sheree") the tiger tells stories and threatens to bite your fingers off if you interrupt her. Or threaten her baby, Periazade. Or try to steal the pie she has claimed for herself. My lion Ozymandius ("Ozzie") ("The Great and Powerful Oz") is conceited, and arrogant, but in a lovable way. Charlene the cat eats tuna fish from my food storage.

They have formed their own nation in my living room. (They chose a Parliamentary system even though they're small enough for town-hall-style direct democracy. Primarily to drive Cheryl nuts, since she hates Parliamentary systems. Also because they love Question Time. Why hunt each other when you already have a blood sport? Way better for vicarious disembowlment than the Olympics. Especially since even the smallest animal may have the wittiest tongue, if not the longest legs.)

Indeed, nothing inspired my imagination better than Narnia. And of those characters, Reepicheep was the most wonderful. He was valiant, noble, funny, loyal, courteous, cheerful, thrifty, brave...

Well, probably not thrifty. (And certainly not obedient!) But he loved liberty. And he liberated my pretend play.

I think Lewis was demonstrating that even the smallest creatures can be brave through Christ! ("Are you a man or a mouse? Are you a mouse or a lion?" "I, sir, am a MOUSE!")

Granted, my perspective has changed since I read the books at seven. (And eight. And nine. And ten. And eleven...) But to see my childhood hero attacked with unfair and unfounded arguments...! Such libel! Such liberties with the facts!

Some of you may wonder: if Reepicheep is so quick to challenge mortal combat in defense of his honor (and dignity, and pride, and...), why is he not the one refuting this calumny, this character assassination? No doubt Reepicheep would have challenged these baseless assertions swiftly if he were here. (And, loathe to fight a lady, he would have asked my sisters to name champions.) He was, however, "translated" into Aslan's Country, where he is no longer concerned with our poor, ephemeral "shadow" copy of the world. Do you expect Robin Hood to write apologetics from Heaven? Of course not. What's that? Robin Hood isn't real? Well, neither is Reepicheep! (I'm just glad he isn't around to hear me say that.)

Do you expect C. S. Lewis to refute this from Heaven? (He has probably already drafted a reply, which we will all get to read once we, too, have passed beyond this mortal plane. I look forward to gloating when that esteemed author endorses my arguments. Not very Heavenly of me, but very human.)

Well, failing those two primary sources, you get me. I may come across as comic. I may seem silly. I may even prove pathetic. (I am certainly too competitive.) But...

"On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No!....I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch --
AND I WILL BE HEARD." -- William Lloyd Garrison, The Liberator

I have defended Reepicheep's sanity, honor, and dignity with Lady Liberty. I will further defend him with my pen! To the death!

The post should go up...um...any day now.


Carrie said...

Gail...your logic doesn´t follow at all. The emotional connection you have towards reachicheep does nothing to disprove his argued insanity.

oh wait, never mind, this isn´t the actual essay, this is just the pre-essay....the rambling rant of justification for its tardiness. Now I understand. Very well. Carry on!

Gail said...

Thank you!

Precisely! This explains my passion for proving his mental competency! (Well, demonstrating. "Proving" was more alliterative.) Because if he is crazy, then I am crazy! (Heaven forfend!)

As Eric would say, "Dat would be dweadful!"

I would be interested in hearing your arguments explaining why you think a judge should stick him in the loony bin.

Gail said...

P.S. A complete rough draft is done. Mom is looking it over for me. All that remains to be done is for me to mercilessly axe half of it. :( Still, if I can babble for nine pages in Reepicheep's defense, it's a good sign, right? Plenty of material to work with there!

Jon said...

Did you hear that??? I think Carrie was slandering Reapicheep again, Sweetheart. Go ahead and call her out. Let's see her take on your cake baking skills. HA!

Gail said...

It would be unfair of me to take advantage of Carrie's current situation. She is living with a host family in Spain, with limited access to their kitchen and to a grocery store.

These circumstancess would throw my inevitable victory into doubt.

I would challenge her to an essay-writing contest, but she is in a Spanish-language immersion program. Asking her to compose papers in English would waste her linguistic opportunities. (And if she wrote the paper in Spanish, I wouldn't be able to read it.) She also has homework, friends, outings, and other things filling her schedule.

These factors would also throw my inevitable victory into question.

Tomorrow is Bastille Day. Perhaps you could negotiate a cake out of that glorious occasion. Vive la France! Vive la Revolution! Vive Madame la Guillotine!

Maybe Reepicheep was French...?

Gail said...

My last comment was unclear. I meant, I would win no matter what, but if we were not competing on a level playing field, it would raise a cloud of suspicion.