Through the Looking-Glass

by: Lewis Carroll

The White Knight

Carroll modeled the character of the White Knight after himself, and the White Knight’s compassionate behavior toward Alice demonstrates Carroll’s feelings toward the real-life Alice Liddell. Like the White Knight, Carroll had shaggy hair, blue eyes, and a mild face. Also like Carroll, the White Knight has a penchant for inventing and compulsively preparing for any kind of contingency, no matter how ridiculous. The White Knight sweeps in at a moment of crisis to rescue Alice from the clutches of the Red Knight, before he helpfully escorts her to the point at which she no longer needs protection and can claim her new title of queen. As he guides her, he sings a song that conjures up feelings of wistful longing, calling attention to the idea of Alice’s transformation into a queen as a metaphor for her sexual awakening into womanhood. The White Knight represents a figure from her childhood who can bring her to the point at which she reaches adulthood before he must let go. The scene between the White Knight and Alice is marked by feelings of nostalgia tinged with regret, since Alice must eventually leave the White Knight and claim her new role alone.