I cannot understand the short verse or poetry in the beginning of the book. What is it about ? Why does he start with this?

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On the surface, Carroll's poetry is mainly gibberish.  He uses made-up words to create a rhythm, rhyme, and a light tone.  Don't worry if you don't understand everything in the poems.

The poem Jabberwock is about a monster.  As a reader, you need to use context clues and your own imagination...

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On the surface, Carroll's poetry is mainly gibberish.  He uses made-up words to create a rhythm, rhyme, and a light tone.  Don't worry if you don't understand everything in the poems.

The poem Jabberwock is about a monster.  As a reader, you need to use context clues and your own imagination to decipher whether this is a fierce monster or a misunderstood one.

Carroll wrote for children.  His poems have a very pleasing sound when read aloud and children have big imaginations.  They tend to be absorbed in the sound of a poem and fill in meanings on their own.  In short, he wrote gibberish poems because they are fun to hear. 

He probably starts with the poem in order to get his readers into the state of mind necessary for enjoyment of the story.  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is off-the-wall and random, very dreamlike.  A lot of it doesn't make sense so a reader has to just make that leap into the ridiculous in order to appreciate the story.

Just a side note: Carroll suffered from migraine headaches.  This book is the result of dreams that Carroll experienced during a migraine.

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