- Unavoidable, but highly speculative: in extension of yesterday's brief discussion on Alice's growth as representation of real world growth through childhood and adolescence (the idea (and that as supposedly subconscious inclusion by Carroll) and its connection to Tenniel's illustrations are credited to Richard Ellmann and Selwyn Goodacre, respectively) and in tandem with the odd conjoining (meta-story: they are one and yet separate) of story-Alice and Carroll (who is not exclusively the same as Dodgson), this growth away from her feet could be looked at as further evidence of predicted separation anxiety on the part of Carroll. Alice will grow up and away from Carroll, who will miss her--and misses her terribly--once it finally happens.
- The attribution of the male "Esquire" to this girl's foot may come Latinate languages' (French, of course, is most likely in this case) masculine gender pie or ped for foot--pied in French.
- What of the rabbit, symbolically speaking and as contrast/foil to Alice? Carroll intended him to be "elderly, timid, feeble, [and] nervously shilly-shallying" (from Carroll's "Alice on the Stage").
- "...'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!"
- Math puzzle! (Hint: the secret is in the bases.)
- Many of the poems that show up in Alice are parodies of popular rhymes of the time. Certainly they're better in contrast against the originals than alone. Copied below is Isaac Watt's poem "Against Idleness and Mischief" (aren't you glad you didn't have to memorize these for "lessons"?). What interests me here is not the fun (though tremendous fun it is) of Carroll's parody, but his placing it into the mouth of poor and now much frustrated Alice. This is another change wrought upon her without her foreknowledge or consent. I just can't let myself believe that it's simply some bizarre symptom of Wonderland on the brain, but an effect of its creator; but why then, if he's so fond of Alice, would Carroll do this to her, for she clearly is uncomfortable with it? Thoughts? (While reversals are a common and influential motif in Looking Glass such is not the case for Wonderland.)
- The notion of swimming in tears has always repulsed me.
- I wonder if Carroll was ever concerned that he might be smothering Alice, or that he maybe worried that others might have thought so. Thankfully, in Wonderland, Alice survives the sea of tears. Are they exclusively hers (okay, that beggars an obvious answer: Carroll, of course; but what of it?)?
- (Not an issue for this reading: an alternative approach to this book could easily be that of inter-lingual translation. Supposedly the mouse came from a childish misreading of "muse" in the brother's Latin grammar book, and then the subsequent faux pas of cat and mouse, not to mention (what a stupid colloquialism: "not to mention," when it's always followed by the very this it claims will not go mentioned) the foot from earlier.)
- Interested in John Tenniel and political humor? Well, lucky you, they go right together! Tenniel illustrated a political cartoon in the magazine, "Punch." Search for some of the cartoons online; they're hilarious.
- Carroll makes his first visible appearance here at the end of chapter 2 as the Dodo. Dodgson (have I even mentioned that Lewis Carroll is the pen name for Charles Dodgson?) stuttered and was labeled by himself and others "Dodo-Dodgson"). The other members of the party at the shore are Reverand Robinson Duckworth as, duh, the duck; Alice's older sister, Lorina, as the Lory; and her little sister, Edith, as the Eaglet.
Against Idleness and Mischief
by Isaac Watts
How doth the little busy bee
by Isaac Watts
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
How skillfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labour or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
If you have questions about jargon or context through any of the passages, just post a comment and I'll find the answer for you.