Through the Looking-Glass

Yesterday, I caught myself wondering if literature made any sense. Don’t get me wrong — I adore literature. Especially children’s lit. My favorite books include Winnie The Pooh, Just So Stories, The Chronicles of Narnia, and — though I am just a quarter into reading Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking-Glass — I will shamelessly admit that I am quickly falling in love with Alice in Wonderland‘s sequel too.

“I’m sure I’ll take you with pleasure!’ the Queen said. ‘Twopence a week, and jam every other day.’

Alice couldn’t help laughing, as she said, ‘I don’t want you to hire ME—and I don’t care for jam.’

‘It’s very good jam,’ said the Queen.

‘Well, I don’t want any TO-DAY, at any rate.’

‘You couldn’t have it if you DID want it,’ the Queen said. ‘The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday—but never jam to-day.’

‘It MUST come sometimes to “jam to-day,”‘ Alice objected.

‘No, it can’t,’ said the Queen. ‘It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.”

Excerpt From: Carroll, Lewis. “Through the Looking-Glass.”

The book is full of logical nonsense but I love it. I’m not too sure whether it would be everyone’s cup of tea though.

A couple of months ago, some people caught me reading Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. It’s one of those books I could read over and over again, Best Beloved, no matter how nonsensical the stories get. I was currently lost in the tale of how the whale got its throat (he swallowed a man who in turn lodged a raft in his mouth pipe using suspenders — which you mustn’t forget — so that he won’t be able to eat normal-sized creatures in the future) and proceeded to relay to them that narrative when they asked what my e-book was about.

Imagine how low my heart dropped when they just laughed and said that it was — excuse my French — bs. I should read more — what was their term? “Sensible books”, I think.

Well, who said Rudyard Kipling was sensible? What about Roald Dahl? C.S. Lewis? Tolkien? J.K. Rowling? Who calls humans muggles anyway?

But what kind of world would we live in if all people read were sensible books? True, I devour inspirational and motivational books with a passion. And I owned several copies of Sir E.A. Albacea’s computer science series, too. But a world without Wonderland, without Narnia, without Middle Earth, without the Hundred Acre Woods, without Neverland… I can not even —

Come on, we all have to look at the world with childlike wonder from time to time, right?

Besides, there’s power in great literature. Just look at Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Who knows how much longer we would have stayed under Spain’s regime if those books were never written.

And what about Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame? Tell me if these book didn’t affect society or alter history in one way or another.

So ends my literary rant. I will continue to read on. I will continue to write on too, though some say literature is a dying art.

Because we all need to go to that world of pure imagination. And words can still make a difference. Mine will. I am believing they truly, truly will.

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4 thoughts on “Through the Looking-Glass

  1. kewl! I just enjoyed reading the original Alice. It’s one of the few books I’ve tried reading and it got me reading it til the end! I started reading Through the Looking Glass as well and I appreciated its “logical nonsense” like you did :) I actually thought no one else appreciated it like I did – I found myself chuckling while reading it (kahit naka upo sa toilet bowl sa public restroom, hehe). Nice read, thanks for writing and sharing!
    I also read that part – the screenshot, hehe natuwa ako sa part about it not being civil to say no, hehe :) nice noh :)

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