full title Through the Looking-Glass
author Lewis Carroll
type of work Novella
genre Fairy tale; children’s fiction; satire; allegory
time and place written 1867–1871, Oxford
date of first publication 1871, though the first copies were dated 1872
publisher Macmillan & Co.
narrator The narrator is anonymous, and does not use many words to describe events in the story.
point of view The narrator speaks in third person, though occasionally in first and second person. The narrative follows Alice around, voicing her thoughts and feelings.
tone Straightforward; avuncular
setting (time) Victorian era, a decade before publication date
setting (place) England, Looking-glass world
major conflict Alice attempts to become a Queen in the massive chess game being played in the Looking-Glass World.
rising action Alice, as a pawn, moves forward square by square, meeting many different characters as she advances through the chessboard.
climax Alice becomes a queen.
falling action Alice seizes the Red Queen, puts the Red King in checkmate, and, having ended the game, wakes up wondering about her dream.
themes Chess as a metaphor for a deterministic conception of life; Language as a means to order the world; The inescapable loneliness a child feels growing up
motifs Dream; Inversion; Chess; Train imagery
symbols Rushes; The sleeping Red King
foreshadowing Alice’s recitation of the rhymes about Tweedledum and Tweedleedee, Humpty Dumpty, and the Lion and the Unicorn foreshadow each of their fates within the story.
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