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by Lewis Carroll

Jabberwocky Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (line) or, if referencing Looking Glass, (page)

Quote #4

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, (14-15)

And we're swinging back the other way. Now the poem is on fire, and the woods have become something else entirely. Like we noted before, tulgey is one of those nonsense words that seems a little bit ominous. Maybe a little like something bulging, which is a grotesque distortion. At any rate, the woods have suddenly become threatening, and of course the highlight of this passage is the Jabberwock itself, who comes crashing into the scene full of malice. Carroll's turned the natural world on its head again, and now it's full of badness.

Quote #5

He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back. (19-20)

Just a very quick thought on this quote, which doesn't have anything directly do with the natural world, but in spirit is connected. So the Jabberwock has been encountered, and if it represents all in the natural world that threatens us, what should we do? Well, in the case of "Jabberwocky," we kill it. Or at least, the protagonist kills it. This is all about man's dominion over nature, here. If man cannot tame something, man kills it.

Quote #6

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe. (25-28)

We've talked about this stanza already. Why are we doing it again? Well, the first stanza has now become the last stanza. So what's different about this ending stanza? If we think about it, the Jabberwock is dead, but what's not? That's right, the Jubjub bird and the Bandersnatch. There are still some horrible things wandering around in those woods, woods that seemed more or less peaceful (if a little slimy) in the first stanza. The same place, at the end of the poem, becomes a much more ambiguous natural scene because of the beasts which still lurk within. So if we thought it was a little iffy at the outset, it's really iffy now.

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