Friday, January 18, 2019

The Moral of the Story

I rejected any approach which begins with the question 'What do modern children like?' I might be asked, 'Do you equally reject the approach which begins with the question "What do modern children need?" -- in other words, with the moral or didactic approach?' I think the answer is Yes. Not because I don't like stories to have a moral: certainly not because I think children dislike a moral. Rather because I feel sure the the question 'What do modern children need?' will not lead you to a good moral. If we ask that question we are assuming too superior an attitude. It would be better to ask 'What moral do I need?' for I think we can be sure that what does not concern us deeply will not deeply interest our readers, whatever their age. But it is better not to ask the questions at all. Let the pictures tell you their own moral. For the moral inherent in them will rise from whatever spiritual roots you have succeeded in striking during the whole course of your life.

[C. S. Lewis, "On Three Ways of Writing for Children", On Stories, HarperOne (San Francisco: 2017) pp. 62-63.]

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