Who is the intended audience and what is the purpose of the poem "They Told Me You Had Been To Her"?

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The poem is from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is basically nonsense verse but has some substance, according to the absurd logic of the scene.

In chapters 11 and 12, a trial is conducted by the King. The Knave of Hearts has been accused of stealing some...

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The poem is from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is basically nonsense verse but has some substance, according to the absurd logic of the scene.

In chapters 11 and 12, a trial is conducted by the King. The Knave of Hearts has been accused of stealing some tarts, and the case has gone to court. Alice is puzzled by the many irregularities in the trial and makes a number of unwelcome comments.

At one point the White Rabbit steps forward to give some new evidence, which basically consists of the poem. The first two lines are:

They told me you had been to her

And mentioned me to him.

At its conclusion, the King declares it to be "the most important piece of evidence" that the court has yet heard, but Alice does not concur.

"If any one of them [the jury] can explain it," said Alice, . . . "I’ll give him sixpence. I don’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it."

As they all debate possible interpretations, Alice does find some meaning, and points out two lines that seem to exonerate the Knave.

". . . they all returned from him to you . . ."

This means he returned the tarts so should not be found guilty.

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