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by Lewis Carroll

Jabberwocky Theme of Good vs. Evil

In "Jabberwocky," "Good vs. Evil" is linked with the theme of "Violence." When good (our hero) and evil (the Jabberwock) meet in this story, violence ensues. "Jabberwocky" pits the individual (one lone man) against a mythical beast. Since this beast doesn't exist in our world, it becomes something bigger, a kind of metaphor for Evil with a capital E. If it were simply human vs. human – say, white knight vs. black knight – you could draw the same conclusions, but perhaps the outcome would be less surprising. One small man triumphing over a big huge beast is an order of magnitude unto itself.

Questions About Good vs. Evil

  1. How do you feel about the scene that opens the poem? Do you think that it's an unequivocally peaceful scene, or is there uneasiness there?
  2. Beyond the "beware," what indicators do we have that the Jabberwock is bad news? Why are those indicators threatening?
  3. Why do we root for the human, and against the beast?
  4. Collectively, what form does evil take in the narrative (we're not only talking about the Jabberwock here)?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

We fear, and often label as "evil," that with which we are unfamiliar.

Evil in "Jabberwocky" takes the form of a beast because it makes evil seem alien and inhuman.

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