Why Not?

Who Are We to Decide? by Hersh T.
November 16, 2009, 4:07 am
Filed under: Hersh

While reading the Annotated Alice I noticed several things (and have discussed them), while I noticed even more things through alll of my peer’s blogs and ideas.

What really struck me is that maybe Carroll is simply challenging us. As we read Lord of the Flies in class, we analyzed it thoroughly and at first I questioned whether even the author, Golding, had thought of everything we had come up with and I realized that it was a challenge. Now the same thought is occurring. Maybe when Carroll wrote this book he realized that it would be analyzed through the nose. And, as a result, he put in many many clues that would lead to clues that would lead to clues and make us feel intelligent. The prize is simply the realization that we are being led around. Carroll could not possibly have predicted all the ideas and conclusions that we have thought of. This provides us with a type of victory. However, the major ideas that are “hidden” throughout must have been placed there on purpose as they reappear several times throughout. If these ideas had only showed up once then we could be forgiven for ignoring it but if it is a repetitive idea then we must stand up and acknowledge it.

Why did he do this?

Often throughout history we have seen examples of horrendous crimes or extremely absolute ideas and in hindsight we realize how crazy they are. Sometimes, people realize that something is wrong during that time. These people — Galileo, Gandhi, MLK, Nelson Mandela — are just some examples. To be one of these people, a person must be willing to take extreme risks, as trying to change the mind set of a large group of people is often dangerous. However, there is an easier way. Often, influential people disguise their ideas and ways to change things in rather ingenious ways. A child’s book can be just that. Or it can be more.

During Carroll’s time there was child labor, the times were harsh, maybe there were even things that we are not aware of today. All of these things either consciously or subconsciously affected his writing. And whether subtly or blatantly put throughout, these ideas were a cry for help. The way that they were disguised protected him in the situation that someone accused  him of speaking out against the leader, or of libel.

His lifeline would be, “It’s simply a child’s story.” Who are we to decide what it is?

7 Comments so far
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I agree! Perhaps this was all cleverly crafted to challenge, inspire, and teach. Perhaps not.

When I write poetry, I create it how it flows through me. When I revisit that poetry, I read it and am surprised by what the human psyche can create, for the messages I find are sometimes deeper than I intentioned. In my poetry post “Human” on the Alice Project #3, this would seem apparent. While I wrote that poem with the purpose of summarizing humanity’s journey through life, I could not have imagined what creation would flow from me. So too, may Carroll have created his story as simple entertainment for Alice, filled with subjects and people from his life simply because his imagination put them there.

Comment by Vance L.

Great point Hersh.I also find myself wondering the same thing when we analysis books in class.I think to myself, “Did they,(the author),really mean to put all of those deeper meanings into the story? How do we know if it isn’t just a coincidence and the author hadn’t even seen it that way. I also agree that we all feel a little victorious inside when we match up the obvious clues that the author has laid out for us.

Comment by Keith C

I like the expression pinned the tail on the donkey:) I do agree with what you said, about once authors publishing there works that they are free to be analyzed as they are. Good point, thanks

Comment by Hersh T.

Thank you colton for that idea. It is very possible that he was not trying to make a huge point to all of the people of the time. And Rachel, thank you also for the comment, that does make sense that we all want to feel special. I mean, who doesn’t?

Comment by Hersh T.

Hersh, I love the points you bring up here. Perhaps Carroll meant for these attempts at interpretation to be futile. The tangential thoughts we come up with are so irrelevant at times and simply make us feel as though we have discovered something. We all want to feel special and therefore we try to make connections that make us seem intelligent. Carroll could not have possibly thought of all the ways the readers could take this. At the same time it is appearant that Carroll was using certain themes throughout the story that are obviously not there for the children. Maybe as you said these things were subconciously affecting his writing.

Comment by Rachel L.

I think is very interesting Hersh. The writer, Carroll, was trying to put in some clues to help us get to some meanings of the book. But I think that he did not mean to put so many clues in the book. He just wrote what he thought and it is a coincidence that people could try and get so many meanings. We just think he meant to put those in their because it was a popular children’s story. If it wasn’t so popular then people would try and analyze it. I agree with how influential people have to disguise their thoughts through their speeches or writings but I don’t think that this is what Carroll was trying to do.

Comment by coltonc

I really feel that you have pinned the tail on the donkey with this post. We, as readers, have a responsibility to analyze stories, but there is no reason for us to decide what Carroll was really trying to do. Your reference to LOTF was really intelligent simply because of the innuendos that are lying beneath the text in thee books. Maybe the authors were truly leading us along, but as you stated they could not have possibly thought of all the places that the books could lead. As the generations go by, we become more skeptical as to what people express through their writing. We expect to read between the lines, where in past generations, we would have not thought to analyze books so far. Maybe this says something about our society? But on one point, I respectfully disagree. Once authors publish their work, they are relating it into the world, allowing analysis to be made. Readers are expected to have their own interpretations and so the answer to your question is we are readers to determine our own interpretations, but never to decide what the author truly meant when they wrote the work.

Comment by Derek_M

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