Posted by: Derek_M | December 1, 2009

Croquet with a Side of Execution Anyone?

Alice in Wonderland

In chapter eight, the queen’s overwhelming personality can be found from the very first few lines in which she is introduced.

“Who is this?” She said to the Knave of Hearts, who bowed and smiled in reply. “Idiot!” said the Queen, tossing her head impatiently.

She constantly wants to execute people, but when Alice becomes the subject of the matter she never threatens her. She may try to ‘execute’ everyone else by shouting “Off with their head!” we eventually learn that no one is ever executed. The Queens demand for execution is so great that all of the people in the court of the castle are eventually in line for ‘execution’.

Her personality is very abrupt and her anger is definitely noticeable from her speech her mannerisms and even her appearance, with the face as red as a cherry. The Queen also seems to be a satirical reference to the governmental system of England. England has always been known for their order and organization, and the cards mimic that perfectly. It makes reference to the lack of individuality of everyone in England. It also seems to clarify the Monarchs control over everyone and everything that goes on. They seem to be almost tyrannical in Wonderland, whereas the truth in the modern day world holds them to be one of the most level headed governments in the world.

There could have been some discrepancies in Carroll’s work because of his close relationship with England due to the fact that he lived there. He also references England in the tea party occurring everyday at the exact same time, showing how the regimented and intolerant society of England works. He makes the point that although they seem to be civilized, England can be tyrannical and irrational. A pun can be made with my title. In chapter eight, the Queen seems to begging to ask the question: Croquet with a side of execution anyone?

First image courtesy of: http://j9marshall.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/alice-in-wonderland.jpg

Second image courtesy of: http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/alicepic/disney-movie/queen-of-hearts-7.jpg

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Responses

  1. I like that you “got” the references to English government that Carroll was alluding to!

  2. Thanks everyone for their posts. I really appreciate the feedback, as well as your opinions on the subject.
    Edward I’m glad to see your concurrence with my blog. I appreciate your use of evidence in other places in the book as well.
    Carl and Vivian: Thanks for your input.

  3. Nice to see that two great minds think alike! You should go see check out my post, Heartless Irony. It’s pretty much along the same lines as yours. From what I’ve gathered, about the Queen, she is most likely a satirical reference to the British government, so yes I totally agree. Her ways of governing is very similar to some of the English monarchs that have governed in the past. She abuses her power as a ruler, and treats everyone so badly. The queen,or monarch back in Carroll’s time, was probably a parallel figure to the Queen of Hearts.

  4. I love this line of yours “It makes reference to the lack of individuality of everyone in England.” I had always thought of each character in Wonderland as an individual consiousness. However the aspect by which you bring up the government is quite interesting as well. A rigid form of government seems to accompany the monarchy, whereas nowadays we study and learn from the ways in which they govern. Your tea time reference also ties in quite nicely with an intolerant society such as England. I had been wondering about the tea party with the Mad Hatter for quite a while. The fact that the queen never executes anyone also makes no sense to me. Could it have a deeper meaning, or it is just portraying the queen as a character filled with hot air?

  5. Throughout the book there is clear evidence of references to the english goverment. I believe that Carroll paid very close attention to the english goverment becasue he found it important enough to mention in a childrens book. Due to the cruelity of the queen I believe he was not satisfied on how the goverment was ran. I believe all of chapter 3 was making fun of the English goverment. Even though Wonderland is such a precarious place it still has a goverment. I believe the queen represents a major political figure during his time. If my theory is correct then he obviously believed this politicain is very ruthless.

  6. First of all, I’m glad you responded to my post. Your analysis seems to be a little bit different than I intended. I was referencing the way Carroll showed the British government in the book, not how I personally view them. The British people are my favorite people in the world. Irrationality and tyranny is how he portrayed the Queen in the book, not how it is in the real world. And Carroll would have a respectable point of view on the British because he was British.

  7. I don’t really agree with this post. I think the parliamentary system of British government is not as organized as you say. Or, really as intolerant. I personally, after several trips to Britain and talking with several British friends of family, have found most British people to be friendly, genial, and somewhat liberal. Maybe I’m just picking from the people who I find interesting, but I really don’t see that the British are all that you’ve made them out to be. I just don’t think that “tyrannical and irrational” are proper words to describe the friendly society across the pond.


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