Themes and Characters
One important theme of Through the Looking-Glass is the power of language to impose order on chaotic reality. The power of words can be seen in the nursery- rhyme characters whose actions are determined by their rhymes. Tweedledum and Tweedledee fight over the rattle not because they choose to but because the rhyme says they must. Humpty Dumpty is sure the king will send his men to help him because the rhyme says so.
How effectively characters use language also determines who they are. Humpty Dumpty tells Alice that when he uses a word, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less. . . . The question is which is to be master—that's all." Elevated on his wall Humpty is a snob. Because of his proper diction, he feels he is upper class and can "lord" it over others. His words, he feels, give him the power to bully. But, like Humpty's eggshell exterior, this power is fragile. Fragile, too, are human efforts through language to impose order on nature. Alice may choose to tell Kitty that her adventures were a "nice dream," but she has just finished crying out at the dreadful confusion of the banquet that "I can't stand this any longer!" Through language, humanity tries to impose meaning and order on an amoral, chaotic world, but this order of human law and social convention is shaky at best.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!/ The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!"
Carroll also points out, through several episodes...
(The entire section is 1153 words.)
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