Dragons, giants and vampires: or, how a good allegory can get under your skin

A good allegory can change the course of history. After all, it was the story of a “sheep-napped” and eaten lamb that convicted King David of his sin against God, Uriah and his wife Bathsheba. (Not familiar with that one? Read 2 Samuel 12…) And it is my fervent prayer that a few good allegories such as Pilgrims Progress and The Chronicles of Narnia will serve to correct and direct my sons’ lives as well.

“Mom,” my 7-year-old said to me after seeing the latest release at the theater, “The Dawn Treader is a lot like that movie we watched about Christian following that path.”

I got all misty – I was so proud of his conclusion! It had been a month since we’d watched Pilgrims Progress on DVD. Although I love the themes, I’d always dismissed John Bunyon’s allegory as somewhat cheesy and simplistic, an opinion unfortunately underlined by the bargain-basement production values of the particular video we saw. What I had snobbishly dismissed as weakness is in fact the texts’ greatest strength and may help explain why this 333-year-old story has never been out of print and resonated in my son’s mind.

My second-grader saw the connection between Eustice being trapped in the body of a dragon and the travelling companions Christian and Hopeful being held by the Giant Despair – and how in each case relief and release is available.

It is easy to overcomplicate how God provides salvation for us. That the God of the Universe would care enough about each of us to provide a way for us to become his children is truly a mind-boggling thing. God strips from us the accumulation of our sin and opens the doors of traps we have walked ourselves into through disobedience. It takes true genius to make these concepts of grace readily understandable to a child without losing the vital nuances of our responsibilities in this tale.

When my sons are older and begin to think about girls, I will steer them in the direction of another writer of allegories, the amazing Ted Dekker. I just completed reading his latest novel, Immanuel’s Veins, an allegory of sin and redemption – as well as a fabulous illustration of how love in real life is supposed to work as well.

Dekker ably illustrates just how sneaky our eternal enemy is, how attractive he makes himself and his lies and how he insinuates himself almost seamlessly into our lives if we are not constantly vigilant. And, Dekker does it with the hottest fiction vehicle in the publishing business – vampires.

Yeah, it’s right up my alley. To quote another literary gem, Mary Poppins, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!”

Zombie Puss Green

Dear Agents, Editors, Media Contacts, and other employment offering individuals,

Please, don’t call me this week.

It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you, because really I do. I desperately want to tell you about my writing projects. I want to sell you on my engaging wit and my clever turn of a phrase and my unique voice – but therein lies the problem. As of approximately 6:00 last evening I am without voice. Avox. I am the Silent One.

Due to a rampant sinus infection, the best I can do is a sad little wheeze. If I want to get the attention of my boys I have to snap my fingers or clap my hands to first get them to look at me, whisper and pantomime my command (because we don’t “converse” when one of us can’t speak), then afix them with the Glare of Doom until they stop whining and go do what they’ve been told. It’s surprisingly effective. (Of course the Glare of Doom is a patented product only available to mothers and mean teachers, so you may be out of luck there.)

The worst part is not the inability to speak, though. It is the other sinus infection product, the stuff that has coated my throat and caused my vocal chords to seize up. Big, lovely, juicy chunks and blobs of zombie puss green mucus that I’ve been coughing up and blowing out of my nose. Blech! How do I know it’s zombie puss green? Because Cherie Priest explained zombie puss in great detail in Dreadnought, which I finished reading last night. It’s green, it gets crusty when it oozes to the surface and it stinks.

So this is fair warning to you all: keep your fingers away from my mouth.

And call me next week. I’m writing a biography on my life as a zombie and I think it’s going to be a best seller.

Sincerely Yours,

Jane Wells