To Question Authority

On the croquet ground with the queen Alice’s friend the Cheshire Cat once again makes his appearance.  After hearing her rather lengthy rant he makes a very interesting query,

“How do you like the Queen?” said the Cat in a low voice.

Now, I would first like to analyze this line from a singularly plot and story based perspective. The Cat is speaking softly, now whether this is so that he himself doesn’t incur the Queens wrath (in my opinion the cat has little to fear from her), or to spare Alice the Queen’s anger is debatable. From the first the cat seems to be a far more rational (if such a thing exists in wonderland) and thoughtful character than others in wonderland. He has not yet, like the others tried to burn her (white rabbit), accuse her of being vile (pigeon) or other wildly unimaginable actions. He seems to, if only in a passive sense, want her to succeed, nor does he seem to fear her. This alone would set him apart from others.

Further more the Cat is in essence questioning the main authority figure in Wonderland. While this seems to follow with his rather contrary and questioning personality the fact that he specifically questions Alice is interesting. Is he testing the waters for further questions? Or does he wish to subliminally warn her of the danger of the Queen?

On a more meaning based query, what if the cat is questioning authority. To what end does he wish the line of questioning to come to? For arguments sake let us use the generic coming of age theory. As we grow up we are forced to find our own opinions and perceptions in life. Will we follow what our parents believe in? Or will we make a new path? Follow our friends or charter a course on our own?

Perhaps the Cat guiding Alice so that she will learn to question authority and popular belief., if so I feel this becomes a question on whether or not we as thinking rational humans should question all we believe in to find our perception of truth. Or follow what we have been raised and conditioned to believe as true. Does our environment or our mind shape our perceptions?

If this post interests you, check out part 1 or part 4 of my post series on the Chehsire Cat

2 Responses to “To Question Authority”

  1. I agree with you on the Cheshire Cat being likable, and I agree with Connor M. on Dinah’s relationship helping her get along. Alice dearly loves cats, so naturally she is going to like the Cheshire Cat; it helps that he talks and is friendly to her. He returns the friendliness, and naturally he is worrying for her because she is a friend. I believe he mentions the Queen to plant ideas in Alice that the Queen is a force to be reckoned with. By speaking in the low voice, he ensures the Queen won’t hear, and it most likely has a soothing effect on Alice, possibly calming her. He could also be asking just to force Alice to stop for a moment and think; she hasn’t had a good moment to think for quite a while, with all the croquet chaos. The Cheshire Cat seems like the only one in the book that doesn’t ridicule Alice when she doesn’t understand what is going on, and because of this I’d assume good intentions are behind this question as well.

  2. Yes, the Cheshire Cat is one of the more likable and helpful characters of Wonderland. From what he says at that point, I believe that the Cat fears for Alice. So as you suggested, he says that in the way he did “to spare Alice the Queen’s anger.” As you said, he has no reason to fear the Queen or the King. There wasn’t any way to execute him anyway, at the time. Also, after he says this, Alice begins to speak of her dislike when the Queen walks near them, so she switches it to avoid any trouble.

    Just as a suggestion, maybe the reason that the Cheshire Cat and her get along so well is because of Alice’s previous cat, Dinah. All of the other Wonderland inhabitants so far have scoffed at Alice’s mentioning of the pet, so maybe the Cheshire Cat is the only one that is relatable on the matter- for being a cat, obviously.

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