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"The Jabberwocky" is told by an impartial third-person omniscient narrator who describes the setting and the story of the boy who defeated the Jabberwock. The poem is marked by its cyclical nature, with the first and last stanzas being the same. This structure implies that the speaker is omniscient through his ability to understand the setting before and after the Jabberwock is slain.
"The Jabberwocky" is written in the past tense, although it switches to present tense when the man speaks. The man warns his son about the dangers of the Jabberwock in Stanza 2 and rejoices in his son's victory in Stanza 6.
The title "The Jabberwocky" comes from the Jabberwock who is the poem's main antagonist. The Jabberwock is a large, dangerous creature that is a true terror to the characters. Lewis Carroll devised this poem as a nonsense poem, and the title is fitting in that the Jabberwock is an invented creature like many of the words in the poem.
Carroll was fascinated with puzzles and wordplay, and he channeled this fascination into his writing of the Alice in Wonderland books. However, the first verse of the poem "The Jabberwocky" was written a decade before his writing of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). He wrote the first stanza for the magazine Mischmasch which was a family magazine that he and his siblings wrote. The poem was originally titled "A Stanza of Anglo-Saxon Poetry" and was composed in old English script. The nature of the original poem was satirical and poked fun at the classic literature of the time.
This study guide for Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.