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Symbol Analysis

Fantasy is Carroll's hallmark, and his ability to create an engrossing and thoroughly strange alternate reality puts him in league with writers like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (and Dr. Seuss). Carroll creates these realities in order to tell us stories that simply can't happen in the real world (fighting dragonish beasts), and to stretch the possibilities of metaphor to their limit. After all, why bother staying in the real world when you have the kind of imagination that can create whole new ones?

  • Lines 1-2: There's plenty of imagery here, and we know this because the sentence is constructed like an ordinary descriptive sentence ("it was [adjective], and some noun was doing something"), but the words are all jumbly. This is not the world we know – the vocabulary tells us as much.
  • Line 5: Beware the what? Clearly the speaker here is alluding to some enemy, but like in the majority of the poem, we don't know exactly what it is, or what it's like (other than equipped with rather nasty jaws and claws).
  • Line 6: More unidentifiable horrible creatures. Clearly, by this point the reader ought to know that these things, and thus the events of the poem, are not of the world we inhabit.

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