Study Guide

Jabberwocky Perseverance

By Lewis Carroll


In keeping with the "epic" scope of the poem, our protagonist's journey is no walk in the park. In order to triumph, he must first persevere. This theme is related to the theme of "Men and Masculinity" – it almost seems as if the protagonist has something to prove, as he hears his father's warnings and promptly goes out to find and vanquish the badness that lurks beyond. He seeks and seeks, and though we don't have a sense of the temporal element of the his journey (after all, we only get 28 lines), our hero's determination pays off. He's rewarded, as one might expect, with a joyous homecoming.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Why do you think the protagonist is determined to find the Jabberwock, even after being told to "beware" by his father?
  2. Do you think that there is a larger message about perseverance in "Jabberwocky"?
  3. Does determination always lead to success? What is the definition of success, anyway? Simply triumph?
  4. How does the long struggle fit into the overall action curve of the poem? How does it affect the reader?

Chew on This

The implication of a long search in "Jabberwocky" adds authenticity, even through the nonsense, to both the story and the protagonist.

The narrative in the poem is too compressed to give the reader a sense that the protagonist goes through any real struggle to find his adversary.