Another quaint character I resemble

A lot of people, including some of my closest friends, have told me that I think too much…. Unfortunately, they do not admit if …..but, let me not digress.

Everytime, one of them – be it the Ustaad, the Longest-Time Friend, the Recepient of Constant Solicitude and the others said it, it used to ring a faint bell in my mind but the thought soon died away till the other day when I suddenly I recalled what had been a fleeting memory. This was aided by the thought of self-praise about the ideas that keep churning around in my mind.

Combining these two strands of thought, I realised how much I resembled a character in …. but let me start at the beginning.

It was one of the first books I ever read and decades afterwards, it is still one of my favourites. This was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) – usually termed children’s fiction but a work of much more depth than is commonly thought.

It was with honour that I bore as my nickname of one of the most notable characters in it – the one known for his distinctive mischievous grin (like me), first encountered by Alice in the kitchen in the Duchess’s house. Later, he is seen outside on the branches of a tree, where appearing and disappearing at will (also like me), engaging Alice in amusing but sometimes vexing conversation (very like me).

Sometimes raising philosophical points that annoy or baffle Alice, he is the inimitable and unforgettable (quite like me) Cheshire Cat.

Some time after this, I came upon the work’s sequel – Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) and I must say I prefer it more .

Its themes and settings make it a kind of mirror image of Wonderland. While the first book begins outdoors, in the warm month of May (May 4), 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 November 4, 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. It also boasts a unique imagery and passages that lingered in my mind still after all this time. Some characters, if you study the work quite carefully, turn out to be new incarnations of the Wonderland characters … though not very obvious, except two given away by the illustration depicting them and then you realise that their names are also the same and based on a very  British pronounciation… you can work it out on your own.

I will confine myself to the character in the sequel that is based on the Cat. I will give you the full account before I speak more on the subject. Those wise enough will make it out and for the others, I will explain.

Turn to the Chapter VIII: “It’s My Own Invention!”

At this moment her thoughts were interrupted by a loud shouting of ‘Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!’ and a Knight dressed in crimson armour came galloping down upon her, brandishing a great club. Just as he reached her, the horse stopped suddenly: ‘You’re my prisoner!’ the Knight cried, as he tumbled off his horse.

Startled as she was, Alice was more frightened for him than for herself at the moment, and watched him with some anxiety as he mounted again. As soon as he was comfortably in the saddle, he began once more ‘You’re my—’ but here another voice broke in ‘Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!’ and Alice looked round in some surprise for the new enemy.

This time it was a White Knight. He drew up at Alice’s side, and tumbled off his horse just as the Red Knight had done: then he got on again, and the two Knights sat and looked at each other for some time without speaking. Alice looked from one to the other in some bewilderment.

‘She’s MY prisoner, you know!’ the Red Knight said at last.

‘Yes, but then I came and rescued her!’ the White Knight replied.

‘Well, we must fight for her, then,’ said the Red Knight, as he took up his helmet (which hung from the saddle, and was something the shape of a horse’s head), and put it on.

To be continued…..


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by AM on June 4, 2012 at 09:39

    “A lot of people, including some of my closest friends, have told me that I think too much…. ” — Plz add ‘of myself’.


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