Alice in Wonderland

Carroll’s Distortion of Victorian Poetry 11th Grade

Charles Dodgson was a logical and analytical thinker, a man who liked finding and applying patterns both in his career and in his writing under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. One example of this tendency is how Carroll wrote the poems in Alice in Wonderland. Based off actual poems, the carefully used poems often times have grossly different meanings. The rewritten poems advance the plot and provide the reader with more background information, but the original poems play just as large a role. In more than one scene, Carroll chose didactic poems to transform the story; he mocks the Victorian morals within and creates his own code of conduct. Poetry in Alice in Wonderland comments on Victorian beliefs by changing Alice as a character and defining Lewis Carroll as a writer.

In his altered poem based on that of Isaac Watts, Carroll makes Alice seem predatory and aggressive. The original poem, “Against Idleness and Mischief”, illustrates a bee buzzing around collecting honey to improve her hive. The poem was meant to teach children the value of hard work using phrases such as “the busy bee/ improve each shining hour” and “for Satan finds some mischief still/ for idle hands to do” (Carroll 16). The analogy to bees makes the moralistic...

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