Through the Looking Glass
|Series:||Collins Classics Ser.|
Through the Looking-Glass is the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Through The Looking-Glass is notable for being tonally and thematically opposite to the first novel, with settings and motifs being direct contrasts to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Despite not being as popular as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, its sequel has been largely well-received and is a canonical part of historical literature. Through the Looking-Glass includes such celebrated verses as "Jabberwocky" and "The Walrus and the Carpenter," and the episode involving Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The mirror which inspired Carroll remains displayed in Charlton Kings. The characters of Hatta and Haigha ("hatter" and "hare" as pronounced in posh English) make an appearance, and are pictured (by Sir John Tenniel, not by Carroll) to resemble their Wonderland counterparts, the Hatter and the March Hare. However, Alice does not recognise them as such. Dinah, Alice's cat, also makes a return - this time with her two kittens, Kitty (the black one) and Snowdrop (the white one). At the end of the book they are associated with the Red Queen and the White Queen respectively in the looking-glass world. Though she does not appear, Alice's sister is mentioned. In both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, there are puns and quips about two non-existing characters, Nobody and Somebody. Paradoxically, the gnat calls Alice an old friend, though it was never introduced in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The themes and settings of Through the Looking-Glass make it a kind of mirror image of Wonderland: the first book begins outdoors, in the warm month of May (4 May), uses frequent changes in size as a plot device, and draws on the imagery of playing cards; the second opens indoors on a snowy, wintry night exactly six months later, on 4 November (the day before Guy Fawkes Night), uses frequent changes in time and spatial directions as a plot device, and draws on the imagery of chess. In it, there are many mirror themes, including opposites, time running backwards, and so on. The White Queen offers to hire Alice as her lady's maid and to pay her "Twopence a week, and jam every other day." Alice says that she doesn't want any jam today, and the Queen tells her: "You couldn't have it if you did want it. The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday-but never jam to-day." This is a reference to the rule in Latin that the word iam or jam meaning now in the sense of already or at that time cannot be used to describe now in the present, which is nunc in Latin. Jam is therefore never available today. Whereas the first book has the deck of cards as a theme, this book is based on a game of chess, played on a giant chessboard with fields for squares. Most main characters in the story are represented by a chess piece or animals, with Alice herself being a pawn. The looking-glass world is divided into sections by brooks or streams, with the crossing of each brook usually signifying a notable change in the scene, and Alice's crossing of them signifies advancing of her piece one square. Furthermore, since the brook-crossings do not always correspond to the beginning and ends of chapters, most editions of the book visually represent the crossings by breaking the text with several lines of asterisks ( * * * ). The sequence of moves (white and red) is not always followed. The most extensive treatment of the chess motif in Carroll's novel is provided in Glen Downey's The Truth About Pawn Promotion: The Development of the Chess Motif in Victorian Fiction.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), was an English writer, mathematician, logician, deacon and photographer. He is most famous for his timeless classics, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. His work falls within the genre of 'literary nonsense', and he is renowned for his use of word play and imagination. Carroll's work has been enjoyed by many generations across the globe.