30 Jan 2008 [ Prev | Next ]

Carroll, "Jabberwocky"

Read "Jabberwocky," by Lewis Carroll, and also the conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty.


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Tiffany Gilbert said:

When i first saw "Jabberwocky," I thought NONSENSE. That is Jabberwocky!.
I was reading the words but I was wondering if it was even English. So I didn't bother rereading it until I saw the conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty. Slowly they took each word and found composed comprehensible synonyms for each "tough" word. When you break it down, it can make sense. Take time to learn about what you're reading. Challenge yourself to learn something new and even difficult. It is kind of like what we talked about in class today (monday), aquiring wisdom. The first step is admitting you do not know everything and there is more to learn. So just jump at the opportunity of a challenge. It may be rewarding in the end.

aww that was insightful :)

Kayley Dardano said:

17 One, two! One, two! And through and through
18 The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
19 He left it dead, and with its head
20 He went galumphing back.

As a person that admires poetry I did not resort to tarrying it a part the minute I couldn’t read a word. I thought this passage lines 17-18 was the most comprehensible part of the artwork. This poem seems to be about triumph and pride. The poem would have lost its meaning or perhaps distracted the reader from the point of they had been recognizable. To Alice all the words made perfect since but if she had not told us what they meant would that have mattered?

Maddie Gillespie said:

"The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead and with its head (,) He went galumphing back." This quote utilizes several unique words in order to bring forth strong images in the reader's mind. That doesn't mean that these images help to definitively explain this poem. When I was reading this poem for the first time, everything seemed to be jumbled up and mixed around. I took one look at the first stanza and thought, "Oh my God! What language is this?!"

I particularly liked the 3 lines above though, because of the clear scenes I could picture in my mind. Never would I have imagined a deadly sword producing the sounds "snicker-snack," but it fulfilled its purpose and cut off the Jabberwok's head. I can only imagine that "galumphing" is another portmanteau. Perhaps it means galloping and jumping at the same time? Then again, that brings a rather gruesome vision to my mind, a boy galumphing down a path with a swinging head in his hand.

In the end, I can safely say that this is the strangest poem that I have ever read. I did enjoy reading it though, even if I couldn't understand every aspect of the poem.

angelica guzzo said:

“He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought” (Lines 9-10).
This quote intrigued me. The jabberwocky is sitting in a tree just observing the world around him. Carroll almost puts the jabberwocky on a pedestal. This could be a message to be patient and wait for the right moment.

The quote that stuck out to me was right after the poem. Alice, I presume, said, "Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas-only I don't exactly know what they are!" This line made me feel relieved because when I read it, I was thinking the exact same thing. You can interpret the words any way that you like and it makes your mind wonder. Also, there are so many words that are foreign to me that my head felt stuffed with matter. Sometimes when you read, you can use context clues to figure out what a word means, but in this first paragraph, there is little left to analyze leaving your mind open to countless possibilities.

Kaitlin Monier said:

"'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe."

I enjoyed this part of Alice's poem because it does not make any sense, but it is fun to read the none sense words. I also thought it was interesting that the poem was coming from Alice who is a child. It reminded me of children's imaginations and how endless they can be. The poem Alice creates reflects the boundless imagination that is possible. I admire the creativity of the reading selection.

Lauren Miller said:

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!" (Second Stanza, Lines 5-8). I have read this poem many times before, and although I get a little bit more from it each time, I am not sure that I will ever fully understand it, hahaha. I thought that this stanza was interesting because it is one of the only pieces of dialogue in the poem (the other is in the second to last stanza). This really gives us a hint as to who the characters are in the poem. I personally think that this is a father warning his son about the dangerous creatures in their land. I could be completely wrong, but that is the beauty of poetry--that it is open to interpretation (even when it is written in a strange language).

Ally Hall said:

"Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas -- only I don't exactly know what they are!"

I think that today, there are so many things that people, especially younger people, don't fully understand, yet they let people convince them that that idea is the "right" one. Although Alice doesn't fully understand what the poem is actually saying, she says that it fills her head with ideas, and I think that so many people listen to the popular belief on subjects and refuse to think past that to form their own ideas and opinions. People, I think, need to take the time out to really think about important ideas and take time to really learn about what they find to be important to come up with their own opinion, even if in the end it aligns with the popular view.

Andrea Nestler said:

As I was reading jabberwocky, I thought to myself what am I reading. I thought I was reading something written in another language untill I got to the second page, but over all Jabberwocky was interesting to say the least. I definitley re read it several times.

"Did gyre and gimble in the wabe" (line 26). When I first read this line, I found it unreadable. In fact, the whole poem was nonsense. Luckily, Humpty Dumpty was more than glad to shed some light on this foggy passage. I was relieved. I said to myself, "finally, maybe now I can understand the passage!" As I listened to his detailed explanation, my hopeful happiness slowly turned into stark disappointment. The passage was detailing a boy moving in circle like gyroscope on in a grassy area and digging holes. My journey to poetic enlightenmnet had failed, but why? The answer was simple: I was not meant to understand the passage. It was designed to make to no sense. Instead, I view this entire passage as rebellion against ninteenth century thinking. Throght the Looking Glass was written during the ninteenth century, so the author probably had a good idea of how people of that era thought. To be more specific, the author must have known the people of that era's obsession with knowledge, and above all, order. Perhaps the purpose of this story was to convince people to focus less on the pursuits of knowledge and order, and focus their attention on emotional issues. You can stop reading now!

Erica Gearhart said:

" 'It seems very pretty,' she said when she had finished it, "but rather hard to understand...'Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas--only I don't exactly know what they are! However, somebody killed something:that's clear, at any rate--' "
I chose this quote because this was exactly how I felt after I had read the poem. It is interesting and has a good rhythm, but I understand nothing beyond something being killed. However, after reading Alice's discussion with Humpty Dumpty, I was able to better understand what was going on in the poem. This reminded me of how oftentimes hearing other opinions on readings as we did in class today really helps me to comprehend more of the concepts in the readings and to mull over new ideas. After all, if anyone wanted to interpret the nonsense words in their own way to give the poem an altered meaning they could, just as a group of people reading the same piece of literature can interpret it in an infinite number of ways.

Greta Carroll said:

“(You see she didn’t like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn’t make it out at all.)” The “Jabberwocky” brings back memories from my AP English class last year. We were given the poem without Alice and Humpty Dumpty’s conversation and asked to make sense of the poem. I remember sitting with my partner, attempting to figure the poem out. We realized the words were portmanteau, but even knowing that, we were still confused. We did not want to admit that the poem made little sense to us. We consequently wrote the poem off as mindless stupidity. The statement about Alice’s reluctance to admit her incomprehension reminded me of my own confusion upon first reading the “Jabberwocky”. Upon discussion of the poem in class, it became clear that it was not mindless drivel, as it first appeared to be. The “Jabberwocky” proves an important point: that although we might not understand something at first glance, it does not mean that whatever it is makes no sense. We need to be open to the possibility of our own ignorance and not assume the flaw resides elsewhere.

Melissa Kaufold said:

"It seems very pretty," said Alice.

I don't know what Alice thought was "pretty" about this poem. The Jabberwock is certainly not a pretty creature with its claws and jaws. Then, maybe I thought Alice meant the poem sounded pretty, so I began to read it allowed, but could barely get past the first stanza. Personally, I like Ethan's theory that is was meant for no one to understand. Maybe it was Carroll's own joke...

marsha banton said:

Reading "Jabberwocky" I wonder what this is? 6 A bird that bites, claws that catch. It sounds dangerous. As I read further Humpty Dumpty explains in better detail the meaning of this poem to Alice

Katie Vann said:

"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe."
After reading these first few lines, I was ready to give up after barely beginning. Had this same poem been given to my high school class, no one would have bothered to read more than half of the poem. I think part of my problem with studying poetry is that I get too frustrated easily and would rather just have someone tell me what it means instead of trying to figure it out for myself. The conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty made the poem so much easier to understand because it broke down the difficult words into simple meaning. I need to learn to be patient and try to figure out the author's intent when I read poetry or other writings that I don't understand right away instead of giving into the bad habit of just giving up and waiting for someone else to figure it out for me.

Stephanie Wytovich said:

"Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas -- only I don't exactly know what they are! However, somebody killed something: that's clear, at any rate --"

After reading this poem, my head was surely filled my MANY ideas. Of course, those ideas were superfluous because I had no idea what I was reading or what a Jubjub bird was. Interesting enough, the fact that I had no idea what the poem was about was what drew my interest. Humpty Dumpty was randomly introduced into the story equipped with the knowledge of the universe (silly me, I thought Humpty got his head busted in his nursery rhyme?). His quick comebacks made me laugh, for he made it seem like the words we were reading were completely obvious. I liked the poem, I just don't know what it means. But honestly, I don't think you're supposed to.

“(You see she didn’t like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn’t make it out at all.)”.....I hear you Alice! I'm not going to lie, poems are usually my thing and I am able to get through them and comprehend them easily, but I read this over and over and really didnt catch on until I really read the conversation at the end.

Juliana Cox said:

"It seems very pretty...but it's rather hard to understand." I agree with Alice in the fact that I struggled in the comprehension of this peom. Knowing that it was difficult to understand I never imagined someone calling it pretty. I know when I am confused I get upset and irritable so I would have called it the exact opposite, meaning ugly. This only pressured me to understand that the peom is coming from someone's imagination and that can be a whole new, different world. I then refered back to our conversation in class on Monday on how the English language is hard to learn especially in different areas of society. A prime example would be the people of Pittsbugh. The words that we say are outrageous and make no sense, only to us do they make sense. Therefore,the difficulty of translating the words in the poem can be compared to Pittsburghese because it's the language of the person speaking. I might add that it's a very interesting combination of words.

Richelle Dodaro said:

When I began to read "Jabberwocky," I remembered using it in an acting class. The whole thing does not make sense until you actually interpret it piece by piece. One quote that stuck out to me, however, was "'Let's hear it,' said Humpty Dumpty. 'I can explain all the poems that ever were invented--and a good many that haven't been invented just yet.'" This quote shows the fiction and nonsense within the poem because of the character's name Humpty Dumpty and the fact that he says he can explain poems that haven't been written yet. That is impossible so this quote basically showed me the poem's identity.

Theresa Conley said:

"I can explain all the poems that were ever invented--and a good many that haven't been invented just yet."

I liked this quote the best. Who hasn't ever come across a Humpty Dumpty in their life? I've sure met my fair share.

Deana Kubat said:

"It seems very pretty," she said when she had finished it,"but it's rather hard to understand!" (You see she didn't like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn't make it out at all.) no one ever wants to admit that they are wrong, but when something is not understood, pride must be swallowed so that things can become more clear once the fog has lifted.

Jessie Farine said:

"'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe."

I've read this poem several times before, and I like it more each time. Although the words are all made-up nonsense, it still gives you an impression, as if the words transcend meaning. I get the impression that slithy is slimy, squirmy, and snake-like, and mimsy seems to mean a sort of saddened goofiness, which wouldn't be too out of place for a creature in Alice in Wonderland.

Jeanine O'Neal said:

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?"

This interests me because it is the only time in the poem that Carroll mentions Jabberwock, which is part of the title. However, Jabberwock is used in the poem as a noun and in the title as an adjective. This made me wonder. The poem seems kind of crazy and foolish, so if we replace the word Jabberwocky with crazy, the noun form would be craziness. "And hast thou slain the craziness?" Have we figured out the true meaning of the poem?

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