Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alice through the Looking Glass

by Lewis Caroll
Read once in the course of ~4 hours over two days.
So the book... is fun but a bit hard to understand.
The book is about Alice's adventures as she step into the looking glass in her living room. There she met multitude of characters but the story mainly about her travel to eighth square, just like in the game of Chess, in order to become a queen.
This book is the sequel to the book, Alice in Wonderland.
My say
Compared to the first book, I was a little bit unprepared. I had watched the Disney cartoon before reading the first book, so I had ideas about the book before reading it.
However I read the second book (Through the Looking Glass) without any preconceived ideas, or so I thought. There's Tweedledee&Tweedledum and the talking flowers. Other than that I think all the characters are new to me and were not in the Disney's cartoon version. So when I read it, it was like a dream because the scene keeps changing and so do the characters. One moment Alice is talking to an egg, the next she is talking to a king, followed by watching a match between the lion and the unicorn. Just like a dream. I wouldn't recommend this as a bed time reading (like I did), as then the story tend to continue in your dreams.

Still it is fun reading it, as there is no need to memorize all kinds of  names. Characters come and pass. And the events are weird. Train jumping over a brook/river? Then there's the theme of time, where the Queen
plaster her hands first, then scream her lungs off before it bled and finally pricked by a pin.What madness is that?
Another theme is direction, where in the story, in order to go nowhere, you have to run. And to go to the hill, Alice had to walk away from it, just like what the talking flowers told her. The book plays on these weird ideas which make it's very interesting. The book leaves you a bit fuddled after reading it, but hey, that's fun.

What I like the most is maybe its dialogue. It plays on words. English words. Jokes that could not be translated.
"I beg your pardon?" Alice said.
"It is not polite to beg."
another one,
"I can see nobody in the distance," said Alice
"I wish I had eyes like that, so I can see Nobody....
These are not exact words, only what I remembered.
There are more examples of these, some of which I had not noticed because the book plays on words and sometimes it is very hard to understand. However for me, the fun was when I noticed these and understand, laughing by myself at understanding this.

Due to that I don't recommend this book to people who don't like reading in the first place.

Did you know that the Lewis Caroll is the anagram to his real name?
Yes, his. Until around the age of 18, I thought Lewis is a girl's name.


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