Why Not?

Carroll’s Possible Outlook on Society by Katie R
November 28, 2009, 1:19 am
Filed under: Katie

In The Annotated Alice, there are many instances where symbolism plays a major part.

For instance, when Alice encounters the King and Queen, the whole kingdom is represented by a deck of cards. Within the deck of cards, you had each of your social classes. The gardeners were the spades, the soldiers were the clubs, the diamonds were the courtiers, and the hearts were the royalty. Perhaps, Carroll assigned each of these different suits of cards to represent the social order of the time period. He was basing it on political system of England at the time, which included a monarchy. He may have exaggerated the fact that the Queen had a strong personality, and she could be influenced by those around her.

It seems rather ironic to me that Carroll uses a deck of cards to represent the society. As you well know, when you build something out of a deck of cards, it has no strong foundations. It could easily be blown away or torn down. Carroll could have been implying that the society of England was crumbling at the time that he wrote his book. Maybe, he saw the society to be weak. Therefore, he based this segment of Alice’s journey on a deck of cards. Even as far as going into the trial of a pawn stealing the tarts, Carroll was perhaps ridiculing the political and legal system of the time.

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It’s interesting too that whenever a British Queen (or ANY member of the Royal family) is depicted on any US TV show or film, they are usually portrayed as a gross caricature of the person they actually are. In a way, Carroll was doing this too, I feel.

Comment by Drew Buddie

When I read the stack of cards represented some kind of order I found it really interesting. When I finished reading your blog I changed my original perspectives of the cards. I knew they represented something but I never thought of it representing England’s social class. Good job! Why do you think Carroll choose cards to represent the social order? I believe it is because each type of card represents different amounts of importance in different games.

Comment by Edward C.

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