Through the Looking-Glass "It Takes All The Running You Can Do, To Keep In The Same Place"

Lewis Carroll

"It Takes All The Running You Can Do, To Keep In The Same Place"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Though Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a lecturer of mathematics at Oxford University, he is chiefly remembered by his pen-name, Lewis Carroll, the author of the children's classics, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, the heroine of which is Dodgson's young friend Alice Liddell. In Through the Looking-Glass, Alice climbs to the mantel of her home; peers through the mirror above it; and, by imagining that she passes through the glass, enters the make-believe world of Looking-Glass House, which is inhabited by chessmen. Alice makes many strange discoveries in this mirrored land: she must walk backward to reach her destination, the flowers talk, and the country is marked off in the squares of a giant chessboard. In the garden she meets the Red Queen and confides to her that she, too, would like to be a queen; the Queen agrees to help her attain this desire by becoming the pawn of the White Queen; and suddenly the Red Queen takes Alice's hand and they begin running swiftly, though to Alice's amazement they are still at the same place. The Queen explains:

". . . Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"