Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

by Lewis Carroll

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Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby Liz » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:03 am


Alice continues the conversation with the Cheshire-Puss….

Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. “What sort of people live about here?”

“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “lives a Hatter; and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like; they're both mad.”

“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat; “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.”

“How do you know I'm mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn't have come here.”

Alice didn't think that proved it at all; however, she went on; “and how do you know that you're mad?”

“To begin with,” said the Cat, “a dog's not mad. You grant that?”

“I suppose so,” said Alice.

“Well then,” the Cat went on, “you see a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore, I'm mad.”

I call it purring, not growling,” said Alice.

“Call it what you like,” said the Cat.


What’s mad? How do you define mad?
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.

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Re: Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby Buster » Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:54 am

“Call it what you like,” said the Cat.

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Re: Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby Linda Lee » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:05 pm

I define mad as not being in touch with reality, living in a fantasy world. :-O
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Re: Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby gemini » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:09 pm

I guess Linda Lee's definition is as good as any and living in a fantasy world is pretty much what wonderland was. Everyone there was sort of opposite of reality so mad was normal. So was Alice mad while she was there or was being sane eccentric ?

Is mad only a point of view opposite to what is considered normal?
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Re: Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:43 pm

gemini wrote:I guess Linda Lee's definition is as good as any and living in a fantasy world is pretty much what wonderland was. Everyone there was sort of opposite of reality so mad was normal. So was Alice mad while she was there or was being sane eccentric ?

Is mad only a point of view opposite to what is considered normal?


I was sort of thinking something along that same line. I suppose we are all a little mad in one way or another, or at one time or another......... :hypnotic:

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Re: Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby fansmom » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:14 pm

A few months ago, my book club that meets in a bar read The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov, which takes place in the Soviet Union in the 1930's, and is set in part in an asylum, so you can imagine that we discussed madness. We decided that sanity is relative. What would be appropriate in the US in 2010 would have looked like madness in the USSR in the 1930's, and vice versa. What's normal inside a mental institution wouldn't be normal outside.

There is no normal in Wonderland.

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Re: Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby Liz » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:32 pm

Great answers all around, albeit a bit mad. :bigwink:

I would say that it is an inability to get in touch with reality, a skewed sense of reality or an inability to deal with reality.

I’m a little bit that way at times. :blush:

I agree that insanity can be relative. What is culturally acceptable now wasn’t always so. For example, the idea that a woman would want to be independent and have her own career was considered mad at one time.
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Re: Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby deppaura » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:40 pm

The degree of "madness" seems to be defined by each culture and/or society. There is a fine line between madness and brilliance, or genius. One a blessing, one a curse? Maybe it depends on your viewpoint. WHO knows?

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Re: Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:06 pm

You all seem to have the same thoughts I was having. Madness is basically a cultural norm. There may be some defining lines, say murder, that would be widely accepted as over the line but generally there is a societal tolerance that defines madness. When I was in the grocery store the other day a lady was walking around looking at things and she kept saying the word "meatballs" over and over. It was definitely odd behavior but I don't know if it would be considered mad even though she was drawing some strange looks! :-O
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Re: Alice Question #9 ~ Mad

Unread postby Liz » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:06 am

Mad for meatballs, for sure. :grin:
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.


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