Why Not?

Bast To the Future by Jackson
December 3, 2009, 7:39 am
Filed under: Jackson

Lewis Carroll is not the most conventional of writers. When he puts his pen to paper, cliches fall before him as he deftly maneuvers around trap after common writer’s trap. Metaphors rise from the ground in mighty pillars, climbing to the sky to become the framework of his planet, supporting the massive, expansive demesnes he creates. Connections fly from the earth, flying from his world to ours and threading themselves together in an immense web of correlation and understanding. Gracefully, he tosses a completed manuscript to the floor. The tome shudders, pauses, then expands upward and outward, covering the distance between worlds in mere seconds. In a few moments, a completed bridge lies between our rational world, and Carroll’s personal universe. In his world, as well as a growing part of ours, he is a god. It seems fitting that he has chosen to outsource his work, and to create a sub-god to watch over one of his worlds. This god is none other than the Cheshire Cat.

In ancient Egypt, there were more than a few gods for the people to worship and please. There were gods for almost all things that were necessary for daily life, and some of these overlapped. There were several gods of death, and almost all the gods had a strange backstory that would have each filled a book. One important goddess was Bast. Bast was the protector of Lower Egypt, and the goddess of cats. Cats were very important to all societies of the time, as they kept away vermin (and, in desert lands, snakes). No vermin = no loss of crops due to pests. Cats, then were revered by the Egyptians. Laws prevented any individual from harming a cat, on pain of death. Cats were so sacred that the Persians used cats as a shield in battle when fighting the Egyptians, who would not harm an deified species.

Because of this feline apotheosis, Bast has become one of the better-known Egyptian gods. It stands to reason, then that Lewis Carroll would have used the ancient Egyptian religion as a basis for deifying one of his characters.

The Cheshire Cat is one of the best-known characters in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, for one reason or another. However, the cat is much more than a humble giver of advice. The Cat is always looking over all the other characters, stirring up trouble, and helping Alice along when she needs it. Seen here, the Cat is the source of the dispute between the King and the executioner.

It is obvious to see the omniscience in the picture. The Cat is not only pictured above the other characters, but is also larger than life. In all the mayhem, it’s a safe bet to assume that the Cat is not at all harmed in the scene, let alone executed or beheaded.

The Cheshire Cat is one of the most interesting characters in the entire book. Throughout the novel, he makes mischief, guides Alice, and oversees his subjects. While Carrol maybe the master of the Cat, the Cat is the master of Wonderland.

1 Comment so far
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This is a very interesting post that has opened my eyes to aspects of the story that I had never seen before. I like the pun in your title too – VERY clever 🙂

Comment by Drew Buddie

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