Category: Blog Fests & Hops

U is for Upside-down and ‘Un-birthdays’ #atozchallenge

Posted 24th April 2018 by Tizzy Brown in Blog Fests & Hops, BOOKS / 🗨0 Comments

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and “Through the Looking-Glass.

Letter U

 

For the letter U, I’m discussing the upside-down nature of many things that Alice encounters and also briefly looking at ‘Un-birthdays’. 

 

 

 Upside-down

As I’ve mentioned before in my post about Mirrors and Madness, Carroll loves turning conventional ideas upside-down and he frequently inverts the rules of language and logic. There are also many references throughout both books to characters or objects being upside-down, below are a couple of examples.

Humpty Dumpty took the book, and looked at it carefully. `That seems to be done right — ‘ he began.

`You’re holding it upside down!’ Alice interrupted.

[…]

“I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards! The Antipathies, I think . . . “

When Alice falls through the rabbit-hole into Wonderland, her reality completely changes, but she still tries to deal with the characters and situations she encounters with the strategies and logic of the world above-ground. Yet the boundaries she is familiar with are constantly broken and she soon discovers that Wonderland has no reliable rules. Animals can talk, playing cards can come to life and trials can start with the verdict before the evidence has been heard. She can’t even count on time or her own size to be consistent.

While she is falling, Alice imagines the rabbit hole goes all the way through the earth to the other side, where people exist upside down. She mistakenly uses the word “antipathies”, which means aversions or oppositions, when she means antipodes (Australia and New Zealand). This introduces us to the inversion of language that carries on through the rest of the book and also hints at what Alice is about to discover-characters and situations that will provoke a feeling of antipathy (intense dislike or hostility) and which will be a reversal of everything she expects.

 

‘Un-birthdays’

In Through the Looking Glass, Humpty Dumpty is wearing a cravat that he says was given to him as an ‘un-birthday present’.

`They gave it me,’ Humpty Dumpty continued thoughtfully, as he crossed one knee over the other and clasped his hands round it, `they gave it me — for an un-birthday present.’

`I beg your pardon?’ Alice said with a puzzled air.

`I’m not offended,’ said Humpty Dumpty.

`I mean, what is and un-birthday present?’

`A present given when it isn’t your birthday, of course.’

 

Humpty Dumpty explains that un-birthdays are much better than regular birthdays because there are 364 of them, compared to only one birthday. You can’t fault that logic!

 

Before you go…

Is it your un-birthday today? If so, how are you celebrating? I think I will have an upside-down cake 🙂 

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T is for Time for Tea #atozchallenge

T is for Time for Tea #atozchallenge

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and “Through the Looking-Glass.   For the letter T, I’m going to take a look at the famous mad tea party and also discuss the theme of time in Carroll’s work. In the chapter “A Mad Tea-Party” in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice meets the Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse who are forced to repeat tea time over and over again as time has stopped. They share many stories and riddles that confuse […]

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S is for Stretching and Shrinking #atozchallenge

S is for Stretching and Shrinking #atozchallenge

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and “Through the Looking-Glass.   For the letter S, I’ve decided to talk about all the stretching and shrinking that Alice goes through in Alice in Wonderland. The various food and drinks that Alice tastes, such as the “Eat me” cakes, cause her to either grow larger or shrink to a tiny size.   Quotes “‘Now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!’ (for when she looked down at […]

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R is for Riddles and Ravens #atozchallenge

R is for Riddles and Ravens #atozchallenge

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. For the letter R, I decided to look at the abundance of riddles in Carroll’s work. As we discussed earlier this week, riddles were often used in nonsense fiction and many of them were intended to be unsolvable. They are meant to amuse and entertain and perhaps to inspire us to think outside the box, but there is not necessarily a single correct answer. The unanswerable nature of the riddles […]

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Q is for Queen of Hearts #atozchallenge

Q is for Queen of Hearts #atozchallenge

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.   Q is normally a tricky letter, but today’s choice was obvious, it has to be the infamous Queen of Hearts, one of the most iconic literary characters. The Queen of Hearts is one of the playing card characters that Alice meets on her first adventure. She rules Wonderland as a tyrant and even the King is submissive to her. She is irrational, impatient and bad-tempered. When […]

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P is for Playing Cards #atozchallenge

P is for Playing Cards #atozchallenge

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.   For the letter P, I’m going to talk about playing cards, which I already briefly mentioned in my post about games. The playing cards are characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland who have human heads and limbs but their torsos look like cards. They include the Queen, King and Knave of Hearts, as well as servants and royal guards. It is explained that the spades […]

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O is for Oysters #atozchallenge

O is for Oysters #atozchallenge

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.   For the letter O, I first thought I might write about opposites, of which there are many in Carroll’s works. But then I realised I covered most of that in my post about Mirrors. So today I’m talking about oysters instead. The oysters feature in the poem ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter’ which Tweedledum and Tweedledee recite to Alice in Through the Looking-Glass. While walking […]

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N is for Nonsense #atozchallenge

N is for Nonsense #atozchallenge

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. For the letter N, I’ve chosen to talk about nonsense!  The Victorians didn’t have the luxury of television or the internet (*gasp!*) so they used to invent games, puzzles and riddles to keep themselves entertained. They also enjoyed songs and nursery rhymes which originated from the oral folk tradition. Writers sometimes incorporated these riddles and rhymes into their stories, and a whole new genre of fiction […]

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M is for Mirrors and Madness #atozchallenge

M is for Mirrors and Madness #atozchallenge

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.   For the letter M I had so many characters, themes and motifs to choose from (the March Hare, mathematics, mushroom, etc.) but I finally decided to focus on the motifs of mirrors and madness.     Mirrors in Through the Looking Glass  In Through the Looking-Glass, Alice steps through a mirror and enters a fantasy world which functions like a mirror-image of reality, with many […]

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L is for Logic and Language #atozchallenge

L is for Logic and Language #atozchallenge

Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.   For the letter L, I’m exploring the interplay between logic and language in Carroll’s works. Throughout her adventures, Alice encounters a number of characters and situations that defy logic and make her question the rules she had previously learned. Carroll uses wordplay and a number of creative language devices to show the illogical nature of the characters, but also to make us think about […]

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