Jumping Though the Looking Glass with Rachel and Peter.



Literary Device Table of References.


Literary Devices by Chapter Trends.

Individual Character Conclusions.

MetaData Groups Conclusions.

Sources and Development.

What did we find within the chapters as wholes?

Another question we wondered was if the almost stand-alone chapters of Carroll's work were defined by certain types of literary devices, or if the counts are similar across the board. Any significant trends (generally about ten or more occurrences of a certain device) limited to only a few chapters (we wouldn't be interested if every chapter had twenty instances of hyperboles, for example) were more closely examined to see if any significance could be attached to them.

**What is important to note here is that we are looking at the chapters as a whole to see if there were any trends in literary device placement...not just conversation and character speech. So don't get confused if the numbers seem off at first!

Trend 1: Bookends are the Beginning and End!

Something that is striking (though perhaps not surprising) is how both the beginning and the end of the book have the exactly the same types and almost the same count of literary devices. The devices? Exactly one use of personification, and 11 or 7 uses of apostrophe. There are several possible explanations to be had for this. Alice dominates these chapters--this is where she is introduced, and this is where she ends her adventure. Thus, Alice's distinctive literary devices would be found here--and since she's the only one who uses apostrophes over the course of the book, it is not surprising that an abundance of them is found here, in chapters where she is in almos non-stop monologue to herself.

However, what we personally found more exciting was how these were the only parts of the book in which apostrophes are used...all but two of the twenty apostrophes are in these two chapters, the bookends of the story. After some thought, we tentatively concluded that this because Alice is in the real world. Why? Apostrophes deal with someone speaking to an inanimate object or something that cannot speak back, like a cat. In the real world, things like cats or houses (what Alice talks to in the beginning expecting no response) cannot speak back. However, she soon realizes that this type of speech cannot work in the Looking Glass world because they CAN talk back--so apostrophes simply morph into talking to objects in actual conversations, rather in than in silly one-sided discourse. The last time she uses an apostrophe before the end of the book is near the beginning of chapter two, when she tries to speak rhetorically to the flowers--and she is thown into shock because they can actually talk back! Thus, apostrophes become obsolete until the end of the book, where Alice is once again brought face to face with a character that most certainly can't talk. In the real world, talking to things that can't talk back is silly because they can't talk the Looking Glass world, talking to things that cannot talk is silly BECAUSE they talk back. Thus, apostrophes define the first and last part of the book because Alice is stuck in her rational, normal world where she can have these rhetorical talks.

Trend 2 : Let's Get Simple in Chapters 3 and 8 (Repetition Repetition 1 2 3 (and a dash of similes))

Part I.... chapter 3, all of the repetition

There were certain chapters in which were uncovered more than ten instances of repetition in prose, which we took as playing a major part in what defined that chapter--a smaller clump of repetitive phrases (like the Red Queen's small clump of similar commands in chapter 5) hardly seemed like it could be said to define an entire chapter.

Chapter 3 ('Looking Glass Insects') is certainly defined by repetition, which has a full ten instances...this comes from when Alice is on the train, an she is constantly hearing the words of a chorus that always repeats some variation of a catch-all phrase (something is worth a thousand of something else). This obvious repetition is followed by a not so obvious repetition of the mixed group arguing loudly over what should happen to Alice since she does not have a ticket. What is important to note here is how the only other literary devices used are three puns--absolutely nothing else is used, leading us to believe that what "defines" this train ride and its chapter is the suffocating, echoing nature of its passengers. Perhaps it's the fact that its a big, inseparable group that Carroll adds the whimsy by making everyone one gigantic mass? After all, this is the only place besides the end of the book banquet where Alice is surrounded by a bunch of weird creatures in the same place...

This makes for an altogether "simple" chapter in terms of whimsy. A bunch of weird animals all together at once? And they speak all at once in repetitive, similar phrases? And there is nothing else in terms of verbal trickery? You just threw us a bone, Lewis Carroll.

Part 2...chapter 8, where we get the repetition and that (big) dash of similes

The other place where simplicity in jokes played a prominent role was in chapter 8 ('It's My Own Invention'), where Alice spends much time talking with the White Knight. Over the course of the chapter, there was a full twelve instances of repetition....and fifteen instances of similes. Wait....what? What could be the significance of Carroll embedding fifteen of twenty seven similes in one chapter?

We decided to look at this in relation to the high prominence of the repetition. As we discussed above, repetition is an in-your-face type of word play that establishes silliness without too much effort. Similes, it can be argued, are the same way--there is no thought required on behalf of the reader to smile at "thick as soup" (one of the gems spoken by the White Knight), like they might have to in Chapter 2 when a flower says that overly soft flower beds put flowers to sleep.

Why might this be? Our analysis on individual characters showed how the White Knight is a "simple" character himself--we discuss in his individual analysis how he is defined by "simpler," more childlike devices. Perhaps Carroll might then add these simple devices throughout the prose in order to keep up a setting that truly fits the character? It's certain that the obvious wordplay of repetition is hardly elsewhere in such great quantity, and similes most certainly aren't.

Of course, that is not to discount that there are five puns in this chapter (one of the greater number of puns to exist in a chapter) or sixteen ironic statements made. However, one should still note the significance of the repetition and similes.

Trend 4: Where is the irony in Chapter 3?

One last thing that was striking was the complete lack of "irony" in chapter 3. Excepting the first and last three chapters (the previously discussed real world bookends that don't contain the same "looking glass world" literary devices and the two chapters that are a single line long), this was the sole chapter without any of this type of speech. This is extremely intriguing when we consider the broadness of the irony term--it emcompasses anything that does not fall into normal speech and that makes a type of sense when thought in a "backwards" or "anti-normal" way. Thus, we expected that every single chapter in Looking Glass Land included something like this...but when we ran the test, not a single bit of irony showed up, and it was as trick-less as the "real world" chapters.

We wonder if this has to do with the "simple" and more obvious wordplay in chapter 3. Aside from repetition, the only other device present are the puns the Gnat uses when he describes the insects that flutter around Looking Glass land...that's it. It is true that puns are slightly more subtile devices than repetition--and certainly clever, in the case of bread-and-butterflies--but a lack of irony still seems to make this the least complex chapter in the book concerning fun wordplay.

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