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Rated: E · Assignment · Writing · #2215348
An interpretation of the poem and a copy of its form.
D. Tweedledum and Tweedledee

1. "The Walrus and the Carpenter" – Study this poem (scroll down the page) – The Walrus and the Carpenter – give your own interpretation of it. Write a stanza using the same format – on any topic of choice - The rhyme scheme is ABCBDB (with B being the iambic trimeter)

The Walrus and the Carpenter (Part 1)

I’ve never really had an interpretation of this poem. To me, it’s sufficient to take it as a nonsense that is fun, but was never meant to mean anything else. Being required to interpret it, however, I dare say I could come up with something.

Right away, I have to say (ooh, is that in iambic trimeter?) that interpretations of this sort invariably lead into political commentary on the politics of the time. Since I know nothing of such politics, there’ll be none of that from me. Instead, I see it as a simple moral tale of the dangers to innocence in a world of conmen and self servers.

The problems of the night and the sand remain. There seems no connection between these and the sudden invitation to the oysters. I am left with the assumption that Mr Dodgson set out to write a nonsense tale (and was making a fine job of it) when suddenly things got out of hand and began to make sense. He wouldn’t be the first to be led astray by his own creation, as has happened to me often enough.

Which is not to demean the Walrus, the Carpenter and the Oysters and their story. It is, after all, the most famous part of the poem and many would be surprised at the many stanzas prior to the Walrus’ invitation to the Oysters. The moon’s problems and the proliferation of sand on the beach are pale indeed when compared to the seduction of the gullible Oysters.

There is something ironic in Dodgson’s attempt to wrest back control from reason by the Walrus’ speech concerning shoes, ships and sealing wax. It fails and the story heads remorselessly to its denouement but, at the same time and by the sheer power of its rhythmic verses, it becomes an iconic meme that inhabits all our memories. Who does not know by heart this matter of cabbages and kings?

Probably some sharp fellow will discern a political meaning in all this and it’s true that I’ve just noticed that the drawings of the Walrus and the Carpenter do resemble Disraeli and Gladstone at least a little. But no, I refuse to be drawn in by such things. Besides, as good as the illustrations are, the poem should not lean on them for meaning. The duty is all the other way.

My conclusion remains the same; the poem is nonsense intended to amuse and entertain children, while sneaking in a warning not to believe everything you hear. Dodgson may have included various unconscious thoughts on adult life but these, I think are incidental. If he had wanted to influence me with his philosophy or politics, he should have been a lot more straightforward. I am hopeless at picking up hints.

Word Count: 462

The Walrus and the Carpenter (Part 2)

The Fear of Fame

I know, dear cow, I’ve heard about
The things that your kind do.
There is no point in stirring deeds
Without an interview
To noise abroad and ring the bells,
Yet all you do is moo.

Six lines, thirty-six words, rhyme scheme abcbdb.

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