The Cheshire Cat In Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland

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1 The Cheshire Cat Thanks to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, almost everybody, both children and adults, can identify the Cheshire Cat as one of the protagonists of this book. “The Cheshire-Cat's smile is the embodiment of Wonderland's riddle; it is as famous and as enigmatic as Mona Lisa's smile.“ (Cliffsnotes). My aim at this work is to provide some new insights on the Cheshire Cat's role as Alice's free-minded and lucid guide through a seemingly lunatic world of Wonderland. The Cheshire Cat is the only Wonderland creature that seems independent, not afraid, detached, and not pressured by any norms and principles. It appears and disappears at its will, taking part only in those events that are of interest in it. But this society, in general,…show more content…
As the Caterpillar teaches Alice how to master the physical changes she is going through, so the Cat teaches her how to fit into this world on the next level–social, i.e. on the level of behaving in a socially acceptable manner. The Cheshire Cat indicates to Alice how many rules, if they come into question, prove irrational and even crazy, since they are not in accordance with the nature. A very good example of this is a tie; social norms stipulate that a tie should be worn in all formal occasions, while its practical use is completely missing. The Cheshire Cat states that, “I laugh when I’m sad, and I cry when I’m happy,” (Carroll 19), which makes it “mad”, but in fact that kind of behavior is authentic and normal for it. Therefore, complying with the prescribed social norms very often makes one behave as a self-deluded, and even a mad person, with regards to their real nature and their inherent attitudes. “Through the eyes of society, one who questions–even and perhaps especially the seemingly basic things–may seem mad, may perhaps seem like they are lost and drifting.“
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