Home > Resources > Analysis > Interpretive essays > A short list of other possible explanations

A short list of other possible explanations

A short list of other possible explanations for the Alice in Wonderland stories:

  • Some people think that the gnat in Through the Looking-Glass represents Dodgson; he is very unhappy because Alice is growing up. Others think it is supposed to be John Ruskin, a friend of Carroll and Alice Liddell.
  • At the beginning of Through the Looking-Glass Alice sais: ‘It’s a huge game of chess that’s being played – all over the world’. This might be an allegory of the political situation that eventually led to the First World War.
  • The phrase from the Red Queen, ‘Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place’, could be a political joke, denoting a rapidly changing political situation.
  • There are two possibilities to the symbolism of “The Walrus and the Carpenter” poem. The first is religious in nature by comparing the Carpenter to Jesus Christ, the Walrus to Peter, and the Oysters to the disciples who are willing to follow Jesus to the end. The second (more probable theory) is of a more political nature. The Walrus and the carpenter are supposed to represent England, while the oysters represent all of the small colonies and territories that England conquered during the Age of the British Empire. (source)
    J.B. Priestley has interpreted the Walrus and the Carpenter as archetypes of two kinds of politician. (source: Gardner, Martin. The Annotated Alice. Wings Books, 1998, p.233)
  • The Queen of Hearts could be a thinly disguised parody of Queen Victoria, known for her dumpy stature, her uptight morals, and her bad temper. (Queen Victoria is perhaps also the inspiration for the Duchess in “Wonderland” and the Red Queen in “Looking-Glass”) (source)