Through the Looking Glass – Coursera Essay

Our second week of the Coursera class focused on Lewis Carroll’s work. Here is my essay.
Lewis Carroll’s famous stories can be read as delightful children’s tales. Carroll was also canny enough to write them for adult appreciation, with symbolism throughout. In Through the Looking Glass, Alice finds herself talking to flowers in the garden. After her initial shock, Alice has a conversation. Flowers have meanings that add a layer to the story.The Tiger Lily is the first to speak to Alice. The symbolism for tiger lilies is pride and wealth. The flower’s tone is superior – “We can talk,” said the Tiger-lily: “when there’s anybody worth talking to.” The Tiger Lily retains a haughty attitude throughout the conversation with Alice and the other flowers.Symbolism for roses is found in their colors. The Rose mentions that Alice is the right color, so it is probably pink or peach. Pink roses depict gratitude, appreciation, and admiration. Peach roses mean togetherness or closing of a deal. Alice’s Rose tends towards appreciation but is more direct. Yet Rose graces Alice with comments of “that’s not your fault” when it observes Alice isn’t a proper flower.

Daisies symbolize innocence and loyal beauty. Innocence portrays the idea of young children. These Daisies start all talking at once when they join in. They try to outdo each other in their knowledge and shouts just as children will. It takes the authoritative Tiger Lily and Alice’s threats to make them quiet down.

Two other flowers make brief appearances. Violet was hiding. Violets’ symbolism is of faithfulness and modesty. This Violet is rude, yet quickly retreats when Tiger Lily speaks harshly. Larkspur stands for levity or lightness. Larkspur warns Alice that the queen is coming. With the warning, it adds the fun sounds of the Queen: “I hear her footstep, thump, thump…”

The levels of Carroll’s novels appeal to all. Even the gardener can appreciate his work, using the symbols of the flowers to speak.


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One Comment

  1. Comment by Aravis:

    I knew that flowers have different symbolism, but not what most of them mean. I certainly didn’t apply that to Alice. That was fascinating! Thanks for sharing it.