I Found the “Porpoise”
After seeing Jenna’s post “What’s the “Porpoise?”” , I was determined to find the purpose of Chapter 10 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
And I found the porpoise. Drumroll please…..The porpoise is treading on the whiting’s tail as it clearly states on page 102 of The Definitive Edition of The Annotated Alice.
Haha, I’m completely joking. I did find the true purpose to this chapter and If what I said earlier turned you off I’m sorry, but if you care about the purpose of the chapter keep reading.
In the post, she “looked through it over and over again and can’t find anything symbolic, no deeper meaning, no hidden lesson, nothing that hints towards drugs and sex, nothing that makes fun of politics”. I also reread the chapter many times, reading the annotations over and over again. I tried to find some secret meaning to The Spider and the Fly, and although I found no hidden meaning, I did find a pretty interesting Disney interpretation on YouTube which you can see by clicking here.
To find the true answer though, I had to go back in time. Not to some weird 19th Century city and meeting Lewis Carroll or anything like that. I went back in time in my mind and read the chapter over again. Instead of reading the chapter through the eyes of an analytical Honors Survey of British Literature and Rhetoric student, I read it through the eyes of a young child looking to find something new. This worked because I noticed a sharp contrast between the characters in this chapter and the previous chapters.
As I mentioned in my post I Wish I was a Kid Again, the White Rabbit was really a jerk to Alice. Like many of the other characters within the story, they are very quick to attack Alice when she makes her strange claims of nothing making any sense to her and not knowing where she has come from. No of them believe her and just think she is a crazy girl getting in the way of the flow of Wonderland. But in this chapter there isn’t the same sarcasm from the Gryphon and the Mock-Turtle. The feeling this two give off is more of empathy. Even though the Mock-Turtle may seem like he’s always sad and the Gryphon a little haughty, the diction that Carroll gave the characters makes them different from the others. They use words like “curious”, “solemnly”, and “thoughtfully” that convey a new tone of empathy with Alice.
And that ladies and gentlemen, is the purpose of Chapter 10, The Lobster-Quadrille.