Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

Published originally in 1871, six years after the first book, “Through the Looking-Glass” takes place six months later in terms of the time which has passed for Alice. As with the first book, there are themes which run throughout Alice’s adventure. Mirror image is certainly a key theme, both in terms of things which appear the same as well as being the opposite. Alice travels through the looking-glass, much of these adventures take place on a chessboard, where the white and red pieces mirror each other. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are mirrors of each other. There are also mirrors between the second and first book, obviously with Alice herself, and then the use of games in each story, involving two colors and Kings and Queens.

The book opens with Alice talking to her cats and deciding to try to go through the looking-glass, which she does and then she finds the poem “Jabberwocky” which she has to read with the use of a mirror. From there Alice goes outside and as with the first story she is attracted by a garden in the distance, and as with the first book, there are obsticles on her way there. She then meets the Red Queen which results in her joining the game of chess as a White Pawn. The rest of the story is loosely based on her adventures in each of the squares as she eventually becomes a White Queen.

As with the first book, there are wonderful word play and logic games throughout the smaller adventures in this book. While there are certainly similarities between this book and the first one, including Alice’s attitude at the end of each, Carroll makes it different enough that one doesn’t feel as if they have read it before. The verses in this book are longer than the first book, and I would say that is to the advantage of this work. They are wonderful as well, starting with “Jabberwocky” and going on to “The Walrus and the Carpenter” and of course the other pieces recited by Humpty Dumpty and the White Knight, they are all wonderful.

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