Mocking Morals

Now that we are nearing the end of the Alice Project, I feel like we have come full circle: from remembering Alice as an innocently inane movie form our youth to becoming immersed in Wonderland.

As we emerge from the sticky quagmire that is Wonderland we have to readjust our mindsets. After digging through the hopelessly whimsical insanity for meaning I have come to the conclusion that there comes a point when you have stretched your brain to the limit and can find no more.

With this in mind I reread Alice’s conversation with the Duchess. My eyes were drawn to the many mismatched and seemingly misplaced morals. Very few of them seem to apply to the conversation at all and to be completely truthful the farther you read the less sense they seem to make. And I realized then what an irony the situation presented. If the point of a moral is to help illuminate the deeper meaning of a story, give meaning to an innocent tale or make a lesson clearer then truly this passage turns all of those intents inside-out. If the moral which is supposed to explain a story only confuses you more than has it not failed its purpose? Take the last moral the Duchess provides:

“Never imagine yourself to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”

After multiple readings and various musings I still stand by my initial observation… that this is complete nonsense.  I feel that I must keep in mind that this line may have been meant only as comic relief and have no deeper meaning but perhaps with this passage Carroll is insinuating the very opposite of what he says.

“Everything’s got a moral if only you can find it.”

Sometimes by looking harder you only muddy the water with possibilities. Perhaps Carroll really means in some upside down and backward way that morals are not really needed, that they oversimplify a deeper meaning.

So perhaps to mock morals is the only way to eliminate the preconceived notion that without one a story is meaningless.

One Response to “Mocking Morals”

  1. I agree, sometimes we tend to overcomplicate what the author has written. However, I am not sure that applies to this book. Good thoughts though!

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