Let us consider imagery in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Imagery and allegory are something that prevail through out his Narnian chronicles, in various forms and ways. Imagery is certainly something Lewis added intentionally, though allegory probably, from Lewis’ own testimony, worked its way in on its own.
Think of Aslan, for example: what is he? He is strong physically, he is large, he is dangerous. He is playful, he is generous, he is merciful. He is something that only God or the divine could be. Aslan is the lion of Judah, in The Magician’s Nephew, he is seen creating Narnia, the world, out of nothing. Aslan is Christ, he sacrifices himself for Edmund and the rest of Narnia. Aslan could be said to be the Spirit, in the sense that he is always working in Narnia, even when he cannot be seen, heard or felt.
Another piece of strong imagery is the albatross, in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Again this piece of imagery focuses more or less around Aslan. When the Dawn Treader and its crew are trapped in the Dark Island, Lucy spies an albatross breaking through the clouds and mirk, a symbol of hope and light. This albatross then leads them out of their predicament, into the bright world again.
Or there is the lamb, another piece of imagery from Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Towards the end of the book, and towards the edge of the world, Capsian, Edmund, Lucy and Eustace encounter a lamb on an island, by a fire. The said lamb speaks to them and eventually is revealed to be Aslan and reverts to the form of a lion. Of course in the Bible there is the image of Christ as a lamb, a sacrifice, an atonement, an image of meekness and humbleness. It is interesting that Aslan takes the form of a lamb in this scene, for it is in this scene, where it is most obviously alluded to that he is known as Christ in the world of Edmund and Lucy, and the lamb is a symbol directly associated with Christ in that world.
Through out Lewis’ work imagery plays a strong role. This can also be seen in his space trilogy, or his speculative novel, The Great Divorce. Strong imagery and allegory go hand in hand in Lewis’ work, one by design, and the other his Christian faith seeping into the narrative.