Through the Wardrobe...

“Edmund was already feeling uncomfortable from having eaten too many sweets, and when he heard that the Lady he had made friends with was a dangerous Witch he felt even more uncomfortable. But he still wanted to taste that Turkish Delight more than he wanted anything else” (42).

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950) presents food as synonymous with sin as it explores the power of greed and gluttony. As Edmund transgresses in to the unknown world of Narnia, he encounters the antagonist of the novel, the cruel and malevolent White Witch. Initially disturbed by the White Witch’s unfriendly manner and odd interest in his siblings, Edmund is no longer concerned once he receives the enchanted Turkish Delight. The Witch’s supposed generosity is pure artifice, but Edmund no longer cares, effectively blinding him from the dangerous situation in which readers find him. It is significant that the narrator informs readers that the Turkish Delight causes greed as “anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it” (38), but it does not alter the perception of the White Witch nor does it directly cause Edmund to obsess over the food after the Witch parts from him. If this were true, then Edmund would be absolved of his wrongdoing. Edmund’s sin does not lie in the eating of the Turkish Delight, but his over indulgence and his obsession with it. He allows this sweet dessert to obscure his moral compass and invade his thoughts. When not under the direct influence of the Turkish Delight, and reunited with his siblings, he has the opportunity to regain his moral awareness. However, he actively decides not to and dwells frequently on the memory of the sweet food, as "he thought about Turkish Delight and being a king [...] and horrible ideas came in to his head" (67). His fixation ultimately leads to his undoing.

The story of sin and consumption is not one unique to this narrative. Edmund’s consumption of the Turkish Delight makes reference to the fall of Adam and Eve, who were punished by God for eating from the tree of knowledge. Through this one act, Edmund effectively seals his fate as the fallen figure through consumption and obsession with his favourite sweet food.

Given Edmund’s preoccupation with this sweet food, it was important to try and discover what makes this sweet dessert a favourite above all else. Turkish Delight is believed to have originated in Istanbul in 1777. Invented by Bekir Affendi, Turkish Delight or Rahat-Locum as it was known then, became a staple favourite of all the confectionary in his sweet shop. As Rahat-Locum conquered the market in its native country, it was not long until it generated enough interest to be shipped worldwide. It was first introduced to the western world in the nineteenth century, and was renamed Turkish Delight to be shipped back to Britain. Its exotic reputation and sickly sweet flavour made it a major delicacy among the upper-classes of British society. It remains just as popular and widely produced today. Most famously in Britain, Fry’s Turkish delight is produced by Cadbury and has been since 1919.

Works Cited
Lewis, C.S. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. London: Collins, 1997. Print.

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