LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

Carroll and The White Knight

on February 21, 2013 1:13pm

The White Knight was one of the most intriguing characters I read in Through the Looking Glass. But through our class discussion, it was interesting to learn that Carroll wrote the Knight as himself. This had me coming back to a point that was made which was that he was still in a child like state of mind. Being that this is a rumor, we cannot be sure of Carroll’s true character, but I feel that many points that we have studied lead to that conclusion. Through a character sketch of the White Knight, we can see how nonsensical Carroll truly was.


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To support my hypothesis that he was stuck in a child-like state of mind, we can look to how he saw himself in the White Knight. The man was very silly, making little sense. He could not stay on his horse, he made up ridiculous inventions and the reader could also sense his potential feelings towards Alice. But does this mean that Carroll knew he acted this way? Or did he see his actions as normal? Clearly he did not see the world of the Knight as normal, thus all of the nonsense surrounding his character. But if we think about him as a person and what we have learned through research and presentations, can we say that he was still stuck in a state of juvenile mentality? Could these stories point to a psychological issue that was not seen during his time? We cannot be too sure. But one thing is for sure, that Carroll understood how far left he acted and that he was not like the “grown-ups” of his time period. We can see this through the White Knight and the world he creates for Alice. The nonsense of his characters can speak for what he was truly like, a child possibly stuck inside a man’s body.


*The video is a scene from Through the Looking Glass. a movie that was produced about the book. This scene is where the White Knight rescues Alice from the Red Knight. I hope you enjoy!


One response to “Carroll and The White Knight

  1. n3sriab says:

    Considering that Carroll was a mathematician, and was known to take detailed records of food and what he and his guest ate, to the point of being thought to have suffered from an eating disorder and OCD, perhaps the correct ‘diagnosis’ might actually be that of Aspergers Syndrome? Aspergers is a high functioning disorder within the Autism spectrum, which is what I feel you (KALEYNESVACIL) are implying Carroll suffered from. A modern fictional character that you might be familiar with, Sheldon Cooper, from “Big Bang Theory” also suffers from Aspergers Syndrome. Individuals who suffer from Aspergers tend to have very specific interests in certain fields, and their intelligence allows them to excel in such areas, such as math and logic, for Carroll. In the rest of their life, they can have tremendous difficulty functioning, however, due to an intense need to have life a certain way. They often are highly distressed by certain colors, sounds, and textures, and keep to strict schedules.
    While it’s obviously difficult to do anything but speculate, such a disorder might explain his strange behaviors, fascinations, and intellect, as well as his desire to connect with young girls (perhaps he feels like a young boy?). There are several types of autism, and this is but one disorder within the spectrum, but perhaps an individual with more knowledge on the subject might be able to theorize more accurately. I feel that is is certainly an interesting issue to speculate, however, and it alleviates my discomfort with the idea that Carroll might have been a pedophile or something of the sort.

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