Lewis Carroll’s representation of Identity

While reading through the story by Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking Glass, you seem to stop and ask yourself some questions about the unusual or unordinary events that happen with Alice and her meetings with the different “unrealistic”, so to say, characters or people throughout her adventure. One key aspect that Carol emphasizes in both of the readings we have read of his for class, is the notion of Identity.

Focusing on the passage where Alice comes in contact with Humpty Dumpty, in the chapter named “Humpty Dumpty”, she seems to really question who she is and certainly why she is who she is. In the beginning of the chapter she realized the identity of the egg shaped object that was before her, she says:  “‘the egg only got larger and larger, and more and more human: when she had come within a few yards of it, she saw that it had eyes and a nose and mouth; and when she had come close to it, she saw clearly that it was HUMPTY DUMPTY himself. ‘It can’t be anybody else!’ she said to herself. ‘I’m as certain of it, as if his name were written all over his face.'” Predicting that Alice already had a good idea of what Humpty Dumpty looked like and concluding that Alice may have read and known the identity of him previous to there encounter, she was able to identify him quickly when seeing his face.

Alice questions why Humpty sits alone on this wall and why no one is there to accompany him. Humpty Dumpty expalins to her that it is because there is no one there with him and then continues to ask her “Did you think I didn’t know the answer to that?” Humpty Dumpty is trying to explain to Alice that he knows who he is and what he is put there to do, sit with his identity being portrayed.

By the middle of the chapter, Alice starts to question her own identity. When Humpty Dumpty explains that the reason why he has his name is because a name has to have meaning. Humpty Dumpty does not think that Alice’s identity is being portrayed very well and then Alice kind of loses that sense of knowing who she is. Because her name does not have a meaning to it she may think to herself “if my name does not have a meaning then really who am I?”

‘My name is Alice, but—’

‘It’s a stupid enough name!’ Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. ‘What does it mean?’

Must a name mean something?’ Alice asked doubtfully.

‘Of course it must,’ Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: ‘my name means the shape I am—and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.

In the sense of Identity, it can really make you stop and think to yourself, “what was I put here to do and how is it I can make my identity known to others.” Carroll focuses on this term very well in both of his works we have seen, Through The Looking Glass, and Alice’s Adventure In Wonderland. 

 

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