Alice_Poems - Carr 1 28 April 2006 The Poems of Alice in...

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Carr 1 28 April 2006 The Poems of Alice in Wonderland In the words of Alice herself, “It seems very pretty, but it’s rather difficult to understand. Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas – only I don’t exactly know what they are” (Carroll 92). Many poems within the text of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” are just that. They are quite interesting to read and look over countless times, but the true meanings behind them are quite difficult to decipher. Every time you read an original poem or a parodied version of a previously written poem from the story by Lewis Carroll, you come up with new possible meanings for the entire piece. And there in lies the fascination behind them. This two-part story isn’t only famous because of a Disney film adaptation; it is famous because the story and poems within it made a reader think. When a person can do something as simple as read a poem and then have their mind flooded with ideas and theories for the content and meaning of the poem, the work is a success in my eyes. Lewis Carroll is unique however, because his poems are full of made up words and phrases, which only add to the mystery behind his true intentions behind each poem. It is easy for a person to come up with a theory explaining what Lewis Carroll meant when writing each poem in Alice in Wonderland , but all it truly is is a guess. It is very intriguing to read the opinions of others when it comes to a piece of literature whose true meaning can no longer be revealed by the original author. That’s where the fun of being a fan of the written word comes into play; being able to banter back and forth with yourself concerning your very own theories behind the story, poems, and made up language by Lewis Carroll. Several of Carroll's words have become so much a part of our language that they can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary. In addition to several of the words defined by Humpty
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Carr 2 Dumpty in “Through the Looking Glass”, there is "galumph," which is defined as a combination of "gallop" and "triumphant" and means "to march on exultantly with irregular bounding movements" (Simpson 4:241), and "chortle" which is defined as a combination of "chuckle" and "snort" (Simpson 4:241). It is fairly safe to assume that these are the definitions that Carroll wanted attached to his words. There are entire websites dedicated to the attempt of revealing the true meaning of all of Lewis Carroll’s imaginary words but they only lead to arguments between fans because aside from the words that were actually defined by Carroll at one point in time, a fan can only assume what the true meaning of a made up word is. Nobody can be right and nobody can be wrong. The same goes when analyzing entire poems written by Lewis Carroll in the two stories. Three poems I found the most interesting while reading Alice in Wonderland were “Jabberwocky”, “How Doth the Little Crocodile”, and “You are old Father William”. Each
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course ENGLISH 101 taught by Professor Smith during the Fall '07 term at Rutgers.

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Alice_Poems - Carr 1 28 April 2006 The Poems of Alice in...

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