LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

Grammar Post: ID Active vs Passive

 

 

 

 

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“She was killed [by zombies.]” <—- Makes sense? Yes. It’s passive voice.

“Zombies killed [by zombies] her.” <—- Makes sense? No. It’s active voice.

Source: http://blog.grammarly.com/

(In honor of Spring Break, this grammar post is both short and sweet.  Enjoy!)

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The Jungle Book Bibliography

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Cichantk, Meg. “Reception.” sites.google.com. N.p.. Web. 22 Feb 2013.

https://sites.google.com/site/lis719thejunglebook/reception.

 
Flynn, Richard. “Kipling and Scouting, or “Akela, We’ll Do Our Best”.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly . 16. 1991.

 
Inglish, Patty. “‘The Jungle Book’ Review.”classiclit.about.com. N.p.. Web. 22 Feb 2013. http://classiclit.about.com/od/junglebookkipling/fr/bl_junglebook.htm.

 
McBratney, John. “Imperial Subjects, Imperial Space in Kipling’s “Jungle Book”.” Victorian Studies. 1992. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/3828034.

 
Murray, Stuart. Rudyard Kipling in Vermont: Birthplace of The Jungle Books. Images from the Past, 1997. 198. Print.

 
“Rudyard Kipling Frame.” http://www.kipling.org.uk. N.p.. Web. 22 Feb 2013. http://www.kipling.org.uk/kip_fra.htm.

 
“The Jungle Book and Cub Scouting.” usscouts.org. U. S. Scouting Service Project. Web. 22 Feb 2013.http://usscouts.org/profbvr/jungle_book/.

 
Varley, H.L. “Imperialism and Rudyard Kipling.” Journal of the History of Ideas. 14. 1953. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2707499.

 
Wilson, Patricia, and Richard Abrahamson. “What Children’s Literature Classics Do Children Really Enjoy?.” Reading Teacher. 41.4 (1988): n. page. Web. 26 Feb. 2013. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20199804? uid=37531&uid=3739600&uid=2134&uid=2&uid=70&uid=3&uid=37526&uid=67&uid=62&uid=3739256&sid=21101731266141.

 

“Welcome to the Jungle Book Collection.” . N.p.. Web. 22 Feb 2013. http://www.junglebook-collection.nl/.

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Looking-Glass Chess

The Looking-Glass world that Alice enters in Through the Looking-Glass (And What Alice Found There) is undoubtedly a creation from the logical mind of Charles Dodgson. It is described as having “a number of tiny little brooks running straight across it from side to side, and the ground between was divided up into squares by a number of little green hedges, that reached from brook to brook.” This description is obviously a chessboard, which is a theme throughout the story. Alice encounters all of the pieces in the chess game that help her, a pawn, to reach the other side of the board and become a queen herself within 11 moves.

Being a thorough man, Dodgson included a picture of the chessboard in the Looking-Glass world of the moves that are made in the story in the exact order they take place.

Looking-Glass Chess

 

Alice begins her journey upon meeting the Red Queen at the forefront of the white piece’s side of the chessboard, who then allows her to be a pawn for the white team. The Red Queen tells Alice, “you’re in the Second Square to begin with: when you get to the Eighth Square you’ll be a Queen.” In the above picture we can see Alice begins as a pawn in the second square for move number one. Next, Alice “ran down the hill and jumped over the first of the six little brooks,” which puts her in the Third Square. After this sentence, we see three rows of asterisks, which are used throughout the story to signify that Alice has moved into the next square.

Alice then rides an unusual railway that jumps across a brook, sending Alice into the Fourth square, which is the home of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. After their discourse and poems she meets the White Queen, and she follows after her across a brook, which takes her into the Fifth Square. To her astonishment, the queen becomes a sheep, and the surroundings become a small shop of goods. She suddenly realizes she’s on a boat and rows through this square. At the end, she’s in the small shop again and she jumps across a small brook in the shop into the Sixth Square.

In the Sixth Square, Alice has a pedantic lesson with Humpty Dumpty, who teaches her the imaginative aspect of language. Leaving him, she meets the White King and his soldiers and encounter a problem regarding Plum Pudding and a group of strange animals. After leaving the Lion and Unicorn behind, Alice enters the the Seventh Square.

In the Seventh Square,  Alice is almost taken by the Red Knight. However, The White Knight comes to her aid, takes the Red Knight, and accompanies Alice to the edge of the Eight Square.

At this point, Alice jumps across the final brook and suddenly is crowned a queen. This is not the end of the game though.

Alice then attends her own coronation dinner. The Red Queen and all other attendants aggravate Alice to the point where she throws a tantrum. In her fury, Alice grabs the Red Queen and shakes her, taking the piece and winning the game.

Thus, in eleven total moves, Alice moves across the chessboard as a pawn and becomes a queen. She then takes the Red Queen and wins the game. The only issue, which even Dodgson confesses, is that the sides take their turns out of order. However, the actual moves can be mapped out and recorded as Alice journeys across the Looking-Glass world. Such a complex scheme truly proves Dodgson to be a logic-loving and mathematical genius because one can read this novel through the distant view of a chessboard.

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Nonsense as “Kid-sense” and Biography in Lewis Carroll’s Poems

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I’m sure we all know that adorable AT&T commercial where the representative asks the children if they would rather have a big tree house or a small tree house.  I’m not exactly sure what the little boy says about the big screen TV and the wire and the position where you would have to hold the wire?  Nonetheless, the gist of what he says is nonsense.  It is not supposed to make sense to the audience.  It seems like nonsense to the adult audience, however, it makes sense to the children.  Nonsense is like “kid-sense.”  After the little boy explains his big screen TV reasoning, the representative says, “That’s a pain in the bones isn’t it?”  To this, the children reply together in agreement, which suggests that the children understood the little boy’s explanation. 

This idea of nonsense as “kid-sense” is a major theme in Lewis Carroll’s works.  I think that Carroll writes in the mind of a child, so what seems out-of-the-ordinary for adults makes perfect sense to the children who read his works.  His poem The Walrus and the Carpenter represents this kid-sense.  The entire poem seems like nonsense at first: who would put a walrus and a carpenter together?  The poem has the most random combinations of characters and images, but in the end, Carroll provides some life lessons: don’t trust every adult.  This may be an underlying message to children because of his pedophilia accusation?  He is known to embrace the Rousseau ideology of the innocent, beautiful child and he is also known to have an interest in the hobby of photography.  So what does he do with these two? He decides to take pictures of innocent, young girls that embody the Rousseau child image.  Some people may have thought this was weird, but in the Romantics era, a celebration of idealized children was common.  Carroll even requested in his will that he wants the pictures that he took of all the young girls to be returned to them or trashed.  He seems to respects these women as his best friends, unlike what any real pedophilic old man with a strange obsession to young girls would do.  So, I think that the message in The Walrus and the Carpenter of being careful of which adults to trust comes into play with Carroll’s personal background.  He warns other young girls that not all older men have good intentions like him.  

Carroll’s personal life also comes into play in his poem in Through the Looking Glass: “A boat beneath a sunny sky.”  This poem represents darker undertones and perhaps some dark moments that he experienced in his personal life.

Overall, the poem uses a sad tone.  Words like “die,” “Autumn frost,” and “slain” present dark images.  Furthermore, Alice Liddell’s name is hidden within the text of the poem and she is regarded as the phantom that still haunts him (Lewis Carroll) and that haunts the poem.  The poem is suggestive of the ties Carroll lost with his young, best friend, Alice Liddell, and he mourns about it in the poem.  However, he ends the poem with the line “Life, what is it but a dream?”  (Carroll line 21).  Why does Carroll end the poem here?

I think that the line is both sarcasm and a reference to the Rousseau idealized child.  Rousseau’s innocent, pure and beautiful child image is presented in the poem because children dream “as the days go by” and dream “as the summers die.”  No matter what ugliness, sin, or sorrow happens, the child still possesses innocent thoughts like a free-flowing dream.  Life is like a dream to these idealized children where no dark images exist. 

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Jean-Jacques Rousseau 

On the other hand, through a sarcastic reading, I think that Carroll points out his sorrow from losing his friendship with Alice Liddell.  The entire poem juxtaposes light images with dark images: “sunny skies” and “Autumn frost,” and “memories die” and “waking eyes.”  One positive image is erased by a dark image, which ultimately shows Carroll’s sad feelings about losing Alice Liddell.  So, by saying life is a dream, he sarcastically comments on his own sad life that he lives without his close friend.    

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Alice Liddell

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The Motif of Corrective and Confusing Speech

In Carroll’s Through The Looking-Glass, as well as his first book, there is a consistency of characters questioning everything Alice says, or correcting her; more so in Through The Looking-Glass, I find. It is a motif that spans both stories to the very end, and, for me at least, can make me nauseous at times, due to the literalness and word-picky characters in his stories. For poor Alice, I hardly know how she bears with it all, constantly having her words and sentences reevaluated and given meanings she hadn’t first meant, then being told that she should have said what she meant; which I’m sure, if she had said exactly what she meant, it would have been questioned and evaluated just as harsh.

Some major instances of this motif in Carroll’s Through The Looking-Glass are the scenes when Alice meets the red queen, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the white queen, and Humpty Dumpty.

With the red queen, Alice says that she lost her way, in which the queen replies, “‘I don’t know what you mean by your way,’ said the Queen: ‘all the ways about her belong to me.'” For poor Alice, such a reply would be considered extremely rude an outbreak, especially in the social aspects of England at the time. Alice is simply saying a normal utterance: that she lost her way. Like most all the people of Wonderland and in the Looking-Glass, the red queen takes this literal, and, because she is a queen (and very ignorant, I may add), she automatically assumes Alice is claiming that all the ways are her’s.

red queen

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are much worse to her though, suggesting that, because the red king is perhaps dreaming of Alice, that she doesn’t really exist — that she couldn’t exist in two places at once. Instead of messing with the very words she speaks, they mess around with her logic, convincing her, to a point, that she is not real!

“‘And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you’d be?’

‘Where I am now, of course,’ said Alice.

‘Not you!’ Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. ‘You’d be nowhere. Why, you’re only a sort of thing in his dream!’

‘If that there King was to wake,’ added Tweedledum, ‘you’d go out–bang!–just like a candle!'”

Poor Alice, this even provokes tears in her eyes. This is a clear example of the cruel nature of the characters in Carroll’s books; perhaps they don’t mean to be cruel, since their logic is based off of nonsense and a common theme: that we rely so much on language to convey meaning to everything, that if those meanings are meddled or messed with, our existence shrivels up to the size of a useless, slugging snail.

The last scene I want to note, is that of Alice meeting Humpty Dumpty, who may just be the worst of them all, in terms of messing with Alice’s words. When Alice tells Humpty Dumpty her name, he follows with, “‘It’s a stupid name enough!'” Then asks what it means. Of course, Alice doesn’t understand why a name must mean something. Humpty Dumpty declares that it does, in fact; that his own name describes his own shape and good looks quite well. Similarly, Alice tells him her age, “‘Seven years and six months.'” Humpty Dumpty, of course, tells her that she’s wrong, that if he meant how old she was (which he pretty much did), then he would have said it. Then he says that her age is better left off at seven, then further messes with her words.

humpty-dumpty

Poor Alice, such interactions could make one go mad. Clearly, Carroll meant all this upon the reader; it creates an atmosphere of nonsense, which is entertaining to children because it can be funny at times, and they don’t have to use much of their brain to get it. For me, I find it entertaining but at the same time, a bit angry at the characters and wanting to put an end to their nonsense, for some of it is so uncalled for. This is the motif in Carroll’s books. It works. It is original. It is a classic, with an everlasting place in our society.

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Humpty Dumpty’s Meta-Narrative

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As per our discussion in class, Lewis Carroll–through the agent of his characters–was able to insert a philosophy of language and literary comprehension. Humpty Dumpty most explicitly demonstrates this throughout his interaction with Alice, when she reveals her confusion and the difficulty of understanding the poem “Jabberwocky” presents her. Humpty Dumpty swiftly informs her that he deconstruct the ambiguity of the words (and of course goes on to translate an entire stanza).

Humpty Dumpty is actually discussing the linguistic side to Alice’s encounter with the surreal. Her wonderland/looking-glass world does exist under the same conditions as “the real world,” therefore, the semantics and pragmatics of language there would not follow the same rules.

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master      that’s all.”
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

I brought up the point that perhaps Carroll was trying to illustrate that meaning is subjective to the individual, and that when reading the text, the reader should also be applying their own meaning, unadulterated by others opinions. Carroll deliberately wrote “Jabberwocky” to be an interactive work, so that readers wouldn’t be subjected to a poem that already had an abundant amount of interpretations (which it still does), but by using nonsensical words instead, no one could fully claim they knew what the intended meaning was.

The conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty also address the connection between language and reality. Throughout Alice’s adventure, she confronts the problem of existence and the true nature of things as a result of the altered label she is no longer familiar with. Conceptually she is able to conjure an image of whatever is being discussed, but she is consistently disoriented by the skewed definitions, and the arbitrary nature of the conversations she finds herself participating in.

Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice that he makes up the definitions of the words he uses, which would indicate a complete irrelevancy to any message he was trying to convey–except the message Carroll is conveying through Dumpty, which is (in part) an understanding of human expression through language.

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The Nostalgia of “The Walrus and the Carpenter”

In the past couple of weeks, there has been – naturally – a discussion of nonsense that has stemmed from our study of Lewis Carroll’s two Alice novels. With Carroll’s extensive employment of nonsensical concepts, scenarios, and even words, it is, of course, essential that we do this – however, I think that much of the value in his work lies not in the nonsensical but rather the familiar found therein. Specifically, the two poems in Through the Looking Glass, “Jabberwocky” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, are appealing to many for their seemingly inherent evocation of nostalgia and youth.

jabberwocky

One of the things that I first asserted in our discussion of nonsense was something similar to what I am asserting here: that the value of many children’s works – and of nonsensical works in particular – is their cultural cache and familiarity. For example, the opening lines of “The Walrus and the Carpenter” (The time has come / the walrus said / to talk to many things) are almost universally recognizable among English speakers. Even those who have not read either Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass will recognize these poems, often unaware of their source or context. Is the value or appeal, then, in Carroll’s words to be found in the symbolism or subtext of the poems? Perhaps instead, it is merely the lyrical and rhythmic appeal of his verse; this, too, is where I believe the appeal of nonsense in general lies.

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There is room here, too, for the discussion of “the canon of sentiment”; how many of us were excited to read Alice merely to flesh out the context for a story we are so familiar with? While sentimentality and cultural iconography are not entirely conflated, they are certainly borne from similar impulses – and certainly non-academic, in the way that we would traditionally select a work for canon.

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The Shifting World of Through the Looking Glass

What is life but a dream?

Much like its predecessor, Through the Looking Glass showcases Lewis Carroll’s love for seemingly nonsensical characters, dialogue exchanges, and world. However, it can be argued that the world showcased in the sequel surpasses the original world of Wonderland in its  non-linearity and bizarre occurrences. One of the biggest differences between Wonderland and the world within the looking glass is the completely random shifts in settings that pop up in the sequel. Carroll purposely sets up a setting and a set of characters only to change them completely without notice. The motif can be in interpreted several ways, but I believe Carroll included this odd device to reinforce the idea that real life can be as nonsensical and random as the looking glass world.

A peek into the bizarre carriage scene.

The first major example of this motif occurs in chapter 3 when Alice inexplicably goes from running down a hill to being thrust inside a carriage and being badgered for not having a ticket. She undergoes bullying from the carriage guard  and its passengers, has her thoughts read by everyone on the carriage, and is scrutinized under microscopes. I think Carroll potentially included this encounter to showcase the way situations sometimes deprives people completely of their preparedness. The complete tonal shift reinforces this idea, with the tone first being curious and whimsical to anxious and troubled. The prevalent sense of helplessness Alice experiences in the carriage, particularly the insults aimed at her from the characters, also adds to this stark tonal shift. Although seemingly random, I think Carroll possessed a method to his madness through complete scene changes.

Alice and her kitten, the ear to her muse.

Although many of the scene changes in the novel represent a shift from tranquility (at least what can be considered tranquil in the world) to chaos, the final setting change at the end represents a stark departure from this trend. When Alice becomes queen, a nonsensical and disastrous dinner is held in her honor. At the climax of this dinner, Alice awakens and learns the entire ordeal was a dream. I think this shift at the end directly links to the poem that ends the story, which’s final line states “Life, what is it but a dream?”  (line 21). This particular shift gives the reader an interesting insight into Carroll’s opinion on life in a very melancholy yet philosophical line. When Alice awakens, she attributes figures in her life (such as her cats) to to characters in her dream and recounts the dream to one of her kittens. Her desire to make sense of the dream and remember all the details could indicate a desire to return to the looking glass world. This relates to the sadly nostalgic tone of Carroll’s poem, which sounds like he experienced life as a dream and perhaps mournfully misses it. This could sum up a huge theme of the book, which emphasizes attaining happiness no matter the circumstances, even if it’s achieved through a dream.

Carroll’s employment of drastic scene changes represents both the positives and negatives of the randomness of life. Although I may not agree with his feelings regarding happiness and its pursuit, I find his weaving of nonsense with philosophical themes quite admirable as a writer.

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Lewis Carroll is but a dream?

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Within Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass we see  again several instances of logic.  Carroll prompts his readers to ponder what things actually mean in this text  by crafting a world where things are not as they may appear.  This hold true to Lewis Carroll’s life as well,  Virgina Woolf has stated that “we think we have caught Lewis Caroll; we look again and see an Oxford clergyman, We think we have caught the Reverend C.L. Dodgson, we look again and see a fairy elf” (Woolf, 1948).

Within the text we see Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum tell Alice the story of the walrus and the carpenter and the oysters with the end results of the oyster being devoured by the walrus and the carpenter not getting any. This causes Alice to feel sorrow for the carpenter and the oysters.  However, the Tweedles caution her against her sympathy since the carpenter’s intent was to do the same.  Also, Alice enters into the woods where things have no names and happens upon a deer.  The deer does not who she is either or that Alice is a human.  When they come upon a clearing their clarity returns and the deer runs from Alice frightened.  Once again confusion has occurred.  Alice and the deer both had less fear when they did not know themselves or what the other was.  This is a contrary notion to people thinking they would become more scared if they were to forget who they were.

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The Tweedles also have Alice wonder what would happen if the Red King were to awaken from his slumber.  They believe she would disappear entirely because they think she is what he is dreaming of and nothing more.  As readers we are under the assumption that Alice is the one who is dreaming of some sort and so it would be her that should awaken and have the Red King disappear.  This concept of Alice’s dream leads me to the ending of the novel when Carroll questions what exactly it is that has occurred.  Even Alice herself does not which is the case once she has returned home.  She does not know if she was dreaming or if it was the King.  Carroll frames the last line of prose with this question, “Which do you think it was?”  Carroll has ended his work in the same trend that he wrote this story.

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Much of what Carroll appeared to be was also different. Lewis Carroll conjures up ideas of a man who loved writing, the fantastical, and logical nonsense.  He was innovative with the characters he created while also being very meticulous in his use of math and logic within the stories.  We also see a love and fondness for young girls within his texts.  This love for “child friends” was also a commonality for Carroll’s alter ego, mathematician and educator Charles Dodgson.  He taught young boys and yet he hated them, much preferring the company of young girls.  He was a clergyman but never took his vows. Dodgson wrote under the penname of Lewis Carroll though if he was written a letter addressed to the name Carroll requesting an autograph for one of his Alice stories, he would throw away the letter. Even his love for young girls is a confusion.  Was it a sexual love or did children hold a purity Carroll sought?  Or perhaps Carroll liked young children so much because they did not make the social demands upon him that adults did.  This multifaceted man shows us that his works of fiction are a mirror for himself.  Much like his books Carroll’s life leads us wondering what was what in his life.  Regardless, we are left with stories that continue to delight us as children and inspire us as adults.  Woolf sums it up nicely, “Many great satirists and moralists have shown us the world upside down, and have made us see it, as grown-up people see it, savagely.  Only Lewis Carroll has shown us the world upside down as a child sees it, and has made us laugh” (Woolf, 1948 ).

 

*Woolf, Virgina. Moment and Other Essays. 2nd ed. 1948. eBook.

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Nothing Gold Can Stay

  

  Both Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland and Looking Glass Land are enchanting, nonsensical places.  Yet throughout the Alice stories, Carroll hints at the fleeting, temporary nature of their existence.  Nothing in these fantasy worlds is ever permanent.  The rules of logic at play are always changing.  At one moment, it makes perfect sense to knock on a door to a house in order to be let in by the frog footman; in the next, knocking on the door is a ridiculous notion which will get you nowhere at all.  And once one travels through the looking glass, things morph and change at the drop of a hat with no attempt made at an explanation, not even an illogical one.  These occurrences are frustrating to Alice, who is used to the rigid, dependable order of the real world, but she does come to appreciate these lands for what they are.  By the end of her first adventure, she has developed a bit of a soft spot for Wonderland. In the final chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, “Alice got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been” (Carroll 142).  In her childlike state of mind, Alice concludes that these dreamlands are really quite wonderful places after all.
As nice as Alice finds these dreamlands to be, Carroll ends each of his stories in the same way- Alice awakens from her dream.  She is not allowed to stay in Wonderland or beyond the looking glass forever; she is forced to return to her day-to-day life.  Carroll too could not remain a permanent inhabitant of Wonderland, nor could the real Alice Liddell.  In the poems which begin and end each tale, readers are exposed to this melancholy truth.
The poem which prefaces Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland tells the tale of origin of the story which is about to unfold.  Carroll sets his tale “All in the golden afternoon,” which is a fleeting time.  A golden afternoon calls to mind something lovely and pleasant, bordering on perfection.  But no afternoon lasts forever; each one ends with the setting of the sun and the closing of the day.  Within this brief window of time “grew the tale of Wonderland.”  Carroll is aware of the fact that Wonderland is itself allowed a brief window and so closes the poem by pleading “Alice! A childish story take, / And, with a gentle hand, / Lay it where childhood’s dreams are twined / In Memory’s mystic band.”  It is only through the child taking hold of the story and gifting it a place of honor within their memory that it can continue on its golden state.  Within memory, the world cannot touch it and make it less than it was.
In the opening poem of Through the Looking Glass, Carroll tells of “A tale begun in other days, / When summers suns were glowing / … Whose echoes live in memory yet. / Through envious years would say ‘forget.’”  So he feels that the precious tale of Wonderland has been preserved, although “envious years” are urging a maturing child to leave it behind- “Without, the frost, the blinding snow, / The storm-wind’s moody madness- / Within, the firelight’s ruddy glow / And childhood’s nest of gladness.”  The world outside of memory is bombarding the inner child to snuff “the firelight’s ruddy glow.”  But Carroll does not imply that the child surrenders to the attack.  In the poem which closes Through the Looking Glass, he admits that “Long has paled that sunny sky: / Echoes fade and memories die; / Autumn frosts have slain July” but insinuates that the inhabitants of Wonderland have not ceased to exist, for “In a Wonderland they lie, / Dreaming as the days go by, / Dreaming as the summers die / … Ever drifting down the stream- / Lingering in the golden gleam.” Something or someone is still lingering in the soft light of that golden afternoon.  Be that Alice, Carroll, or the reader, it does not matter much.  What matters is only that someone has managed to hold onto that golden quality which slips away so easily.
Many years after the publication of the Alice stories, Robert Frost published a poem, entitled “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”

This poem is an embodiment of the essence of the golden afternoon when Wonderland was created.  It was wonderful, but inevitably could not last.  The golden afternoon subsided to evening, just as “dawn goes down to day.”  Presumably, Alice herself was subject to this cycle as well.  She grew up and had to move on or awaken from the nonsensical fantasy lands of Carroll’s invention.  Carroll is not in denial of the demands of reality, but still proposes a solution: to hold onto anything golden, one must tuck it safely away within the protective walls of nostalgic memory.

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