Monday, March 18, 2019

Through the Looking Glass | Novel Summary Themes and Critical Analysis

Through the Looking Glass
Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There a Novel written by Lewis Carroll and it was the sequence of Alice in the Wonderland which was written in 1865. Through the Looking Glasses Novel Published in 27 December 1871.

Alice - The seven-and-a-half-year-old protagonist of the story. Alice’s dream leads to her adventures in Looking-Glass World. 
Red Queen - A domineering, officious woman who brings Alice into the chess game. 
Chess as Metaphor for Fate

Inverse Reflections

The Rushes

White Queen - An untidy, disorderly mess of a woman.

Language as a Means to Order the World


The Sleeping Red King

Red King - The sleeping King. Tweedledum and Tweedledee tell Alice that she is not real and exists only as part of the Red King’s dream.

The Loneliness of Growing Up


White King - The White King sends his horses and men after Humpty Dumpty after his fall

Train Imagery

Through the Looking Glass Summary
The Author of "Through the Looking Glass" is Lewis Carroll.The book opens with Alice sitting with her cat and its kitten on a snowy autumn evening. She is talking to her kitten about playing chess and pretends that the kitten understands the conversation. And then she turns to look at the image of the room in the mirror and speculates how the room in the mirror would be like if she could enter it. She gets to meet the White King and the White Queen and then reads the poem Jabberwoky. She then slides into the garden and meet the flowers who talk to her. The overbearing Tiger lily, the snobbish rose, he chattering daisies do not make a very friendly reception party but do lead her to the Red Queen. The Red Queen takes her to the hill top and she gets to view the land to her delight and surprise is laid out like a chess board and a game in his progress. She wishes to join he game and  the Red Queen send her off into it. She finds herself in railway carriage which is supposed to take her to the next move but is moving in the wrong direction. She meets strange people as co-passengers- a man in white paper, a goat, a beetle, a hoarse voice. 
alice in the wonderland , lewis caroll, ugc net free notes

They carry huge tickets and she is reprimanded by he Guard for not having one. The train then jumps into the air to move into the next square. Here Alice finds herself in a jungle talking to a Gnat "about the size of a chicken" and becomes melancholy and sheds tears when he cracks jokes. She sees other strange insects like rocking-horse-fly, bread-and-butter-fly, snap-dragon-fly. The Gnat talks to her about a place where people would lose their names and in a blink Alice moves into the next square which is such a place. She met a fawn there who came very close to her and walked through the forest with her. But as soon as they had left the forest, it remembers that she was a human and ran away from her. She now reaches the road with two finger posts pointing in the same direction and leading to the house of Tweedledee and Tweedledum. As they discuss who is a more likable character in the song, she sees the Red King snoring like a steam engine. The tell her that the King is dreaming and Alice might just be his dream and if he woke up, she might disappear. This is a very interesting point in the story since the entire sequence is a dream of Alice and the King would disappear if she woke up. Alice tucks her dress and hair in place. The queen offers to make her a maid for "jam tomorrow and jam yesterday - but never jam today". Alice is baffled by the offer and even more so when the Queen tells her that her memory works backwards as well as forwards. She cries out for a pin she has not yet got and her cry is like a steam engine Alice tucks her dress and hair a maid for "jam tomorrow and  jam yesterday -but never am today". 

Alice is baffled by the offer and even more sowhen the queen tells her that her memory works backwards as well as forward. she cries out for a pin prick she has not  yet got  and her cry is like a steam engine whistling. then she gets  the prick and does not cry because she  has  already done the  crying  or this  prick as Alice begins to cry her she consoles  her and asks her to believe  impossible tings and tells her that she used  to believe "as many as six impossible things before breakfast" She fond the shop turned into a boat and she is rowing with the the sheep in a boa.  After some rowing and plucking of scented rushes, the water and the boat disappear and she is again in the shop where two eggs are sold  cheaper than one if she eats both. The shop disappears when she moves into it and she finds herself with the egg she wanted - only the egg has grown huge and turned into Humpty Dumpty. The White Knight who also keeps falling from his horse on his head. He challenges the Red Knight. They have a duel of a strange kind in which both constantly fall from the horses on their heads and begin again unhurt till the White Knight  declares a check and the Red Knight leaves.
The White Knight is discovered to be an inventor of strange things and seems to hoard even stranger things in the bags like bee hives and mouse traps. He sings a song for Alice and takes her to the last square where she becomes the queen. She discovers that she has a golden crown on her head. She meets the two Queens who go off to sleep while talking with her. She then enters a room where there is a celebration of her becoming the queen going on. The rule of the celebration is that you are introduced to every dish and you don't cut what you are introduced to. So Alice is left without any food. Suddenly she discovers that all the guests have turned to dishes and the entire cutlery and the crockery is beginning to occupy places on the table. She shakes the Red Queen and discovers that she is sitting in her room and shaking up her kitten and continues talking to the cats.

The book is set in a evening in autumn when it is snowing outside and Alice sits with her cat and Kittens by the fireside. The setting is different from the Wonderlandbook which was set in a warm sunny afternoon in a garden. The setting can be seen as a growth from the earlier book and also as being a more mature in treatment with hour  that gets darker than the earlier book. Within the narrative the setting is of a massive chessboard spread over the world where all thee people seem to be participants i a massive game of chess. Once again, the idea of maturity comes in, but  it could also be looked from the perspective of the  fast developing political situation across the world where colonial powers were expanding their bases and involved in struggle for influence ownership of resources. Both the Alice books are based on popular games of the age- cards and chess. When he wrote the book, the children he wrote them for were grown up and able to understand the relatively more complex of the two games.  The game was also better sutied to the theme of  growing up. The world of the adults with its mind-boggling etiquette and dimensions the growing up child is in introduced to is felt when Alice exclaims "It' s a huge game of that's being played-all over the world."    
The action of the book is built around a game of chess in which Alice begins as a pawn and after getting over various  stages in which after encounters with the varied and delightful characters, she finally becomes the Queen.
The journey that begins as a dream has all the makings of dream.   In fact the sequences have been found by critics to resemble the nature of dreams where people and events of real life often get transformed into strange things without an iota of doubt coming about their existence in such from. The train's jumping in the air, the queen's transforming into a goat , the shop's  turning into a boat in a river and back into a shop, and finally the in the part, the people becoming dishes and vice versa are a few instances. Some critics relate this preoccupation with dreams to Carroll's problem of is omnia. Time in this mirror world moves in a strange way . All the songs about the characters, about Humpty Dumpty, the lion and the unicorn, tweedledee and Tweedledum are about what happens to them eventually and they have a fore-knowledge of the poem and their fate which they discuss with Alice.'a hill CAN'T be a valley , you know.

That would be nonsense-' The Red Queen shook her head, 'you may call it
"nonsense" if you like,' she said,' I' ve  heard nonsense, compared with which that would  be as sensible as a dictionary!' A boat beneath a sunny sky, /Lingering onward dreamily / In an evening of July- Children three that nestle near,/ Eager eye and willing ear, / Pleased a simple table to hear- Long has paled that sunny sky: / Echoes fade and memories die./ Autumn frosts have slain July. Still she haunts me, phantomwise,/ Alice moving under skies/ Never seen by waking eyes. Children yet, the tale to hear,/ Eager eye and willing ear,/ Lovingly shall nestle near. In a Wonderland they lie,/ Dreaming as the day go by,/ Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the stream-/ Lingering in the golden gleam-/ Life, what is it but a dream? Let's pretend that you're the Red Queen, Kitty! Do you know, I think if you sat up and folded your arms, you'd look exactly like her.... 'How would you like to live in Looking-glass House, Kitty?
Perhaps Looking milk isn't good to drink- And certainly the glass WAS beginning to melt away, just like a bright silvery mist. In another moment Alice was through  the glass, and had jumped  lightly down into the Looking-glass room. 'Here are the Red King and the Red Queen,'
Alice said (in a whisper, for fear of frightening them), 'and there are the White King and the White Queen sitting on the edge of the shovel-I don't think they can hear me,'
She checked herself  in some alarm, at hearing  something  that sounded to her like the puffing of a large steam- engine i the wood near them, though she feared it was more likely to be wild beast. 
Are there any lions or tigers about   here?' she asked timidly.... 'Am I addressing the White Queen?'  'well, yes, if you call that a-dressing,' at queen said "it isn't MY notion of the thing, at all .... "I've been a- dressing myself for  the last two hours.......  ' Living backwards!'

 Alice repeated in great astonishement.
'I never heard of such a thing!' '- but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory works both ways.' 'I'm sure MINE only works one way,' Alice remarked. 'I can't remember things before they happen.' 
'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the Queen remarked. You may look in front of you, and on both sides, if you like,' said the Sheep:  but you can't look ALL round you-unless you've got eyes at the back of your head.' 'Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall: Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men Couldn't put Humpty Dumpty in his place again.' That last line is much too long for the poetry,' she added He drew up at Alice's side, and tumbled off his horse just as the Red Knight  had done: then he got on again....... He was dressed in tin armour, which seemed to fit him very badly, and he had a queer-shaped little deal box fastened across his shoulder, upside-down, and with the lid hanging open.
The most fascinating aspect of the book and still the most frustrating is the way Carroll uses words. Humpty Dumpty  says that he can make the words mean exactly what he wants them to mean can open the debate to various ideas.

Time and again Alice remarks that the conversation around her is very strange, very nonsense, very improbable but there does not look anything of the kind to the characters who think it is Alice who needs to correct herself. The Tiger Lily tells Alice that flowers in Alice's world do not talk because "they make the beds too soft - so that  the flowers are always asleep." 
The puns on the words 'nobody' and 'beds' are just two examples of the way Carroll plays with words. The Queen, in fact, advice Alice that she must train to believe in improbable thing - "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." This bring us to a very humorous aspect of the book - food. The strangest things are happening around food throughout the book, something leading to very humorous situations, and at other times also pointing to the society. When Alice gets thirsty after running hard with the Red Queen, she is offered such a dry biscuit that she all but chokes, and then the Queen  Inquires "Thirst quenched?" 
things get more and more strange when we find that the Rocking - Horse - fly feeds on sap and saw dust, the bread-and-butter-fly has wings of bread slices, and head of a lump of sugar and feeds on weak tea and cream.

The Queen offers Alice a remuneration of jam every other day but that day is never today, the egg in the Goat's shop turns into Humpty Dumpty, the cake offered to the Lion and the Unicorn is to be passed before it could be cut and then it cuts by itself, the pudding that the White Knight invents is made from blotting paper, sealing wax and gun powder among other things. The strangest is the party in honour of Alice becoming the Queen where the rule is to be introduced to every dish and then never to eat what you are introduced to. The soup, the mutton leg, the pudding and many other dishes laid out on the table are ultimately uneaten as an argument breaks out and the party breaks up. Alice, therefore comes back without getting anything proper to eat or drink. The tables in the Victorian dinners were similarly overflowing with food while another part of society subsisted on the barest minimum and woman in the higher sections of society were encouraged to eat less for cosmetic reasons.