Alice Question #24 ~ Life is but a dream...

by Lewis Carroll

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Alice Question #24 ~ Life is but a dream...

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:25 am

In the last paragraph of Through the Looking Glass, the question is posed who is having the dream, Alice or the Red King? How would you answer that question?

"Now, Kitty, let's consider who it was that dreamed it all. This is a serious question, my dear, and you should not go on licking your paw like that--as if Dinah hadn't washed you this morning! You see, Kitty, it must have been either me or the Red King. He was part of my dream, of course--but then I was part of his dream, too! Was it the Red King, Kitty? you were his wife, my dear; so you ought to know--Oh, Kitty, do help to settle it! I'm sure your paw can wait!" But the provoking kitten only began on the other paw, and pretended it hadn't heard the question.

Which do you think it was?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 28494
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Re: Alice Question #24 ~

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:29 am

I have never understood this question. :dunce: To me it seems obvious that we begin the story with Alice in "reality" and we end with Alice in "reality" and the story recounts her drifting off and waking up, so it seems as though it is certainly her dream! Hopefully, someone can explain about the Red King.

User avatar
gemini
Posts: 3907
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Status: Offline

Re: Alice Question #24 ~

Unread postby gemini » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:00 pm

It never occurred to me to think it wasn't Alice's dream until Carroll had Alice ask her kittens what they remembered about their parts in the dream. Then when she pondered herself that it might be the Red Knights dream.
I think Carrol wanted the dream to belong to all because of the last line in his poem was
Life, what is it but a dream?
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Re: Alice Question #24 ~

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:46 pm

Interesting idea, gemini. And it makes sense. I was of the same opinion as nebraska--that it was all Alice's dream until I read the last paragraph. So that threw me for a loop.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Buster
Posts: 810
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:07 am

Status: Offline

Re: Alice Question #24 ~

Unread postby Buster » Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:53 pm

Isn't there a famous Chinese philosopher who dreamt he was a butterfly, and when he awoke, wondered if he was a butterfly dreaming he was a man?

User avatar
deppaura
Posts: 548
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:27 pm
Location: Kensington, CA

Status: Offline

Re: Alice Question #24 ~ Life is but a dream...

Unread postby deppaura » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:03 pm

Think I go along with Gemini...A dream for all...

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Re: Alice Question #24 ~ Life is but a dream...

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:04 am

Buster, here is the reference to the Chinese philosopher from Wikipedia:

Zhuangzi (simplified Chinese: 庄子; traditional Chinese: 莊子; pinyin: Zhuāng Zǐ; Wade-Giles: Chuang Tzŭ) was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BCE during the Warring States Period, a period corresponding to the philosophical summit of Chinese thought — the Hundred Schools of Thought. His name is sometimes spelled Chuang Tsu, Chuang Tzu, Zhuang Tze, Chouang-Dsi, Chuang Tse, Chuangtze or – in English – Master Chuang. Zhuangzi's philosophy was very influential in the development of Chinese Buddhism, especially Chán (also known as Zen).

Another well-known part of the book, which is also found in Chapter 2, is usually called "Zhuangzi dreamed he was a butterfly" (莊周夢蝶 Zhuāng Zhōu mèng dié). Again, the names have been changed to pinyin romanization for consistency:

Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi. But he didn't know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi. Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things. (2, tr. Burton Watson 1968:49)

This hints at many questions in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and epistemology. The name of the passage has become a common Chinese idiom, and has spread into Western languages as well.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


Return to “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest