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More on Morals

November 21, 2009
In chapter nine “The Mock Turtle’s Story” of The Annotated Alice, the Duchess has many morals that she shares with Alice. She tells Alice, “Every thing’s got a moral, if only you can find it”. As they begin walking the Duchess gives Alice morals for many things. Some of her morals include:
“Be who you seem to be.”
“Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.”
“The more there is of yours, the less theyre are of mine.”
Although they do not always make sense she always had a moral.
Does everything really need a moral? Or, does anything even have a moral?
Maybe there are no morals. It could be, that in some situations there are morals and they could be useful. Although there are other times where there is simply no need for a moral.
I am still confused by this chapter and would love to hear other people’s opinions.
3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2009 9:53 pm

    Even Jesus had parables he spoke in. Those had morals. Consider this one from the book of Matthew: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” There’s a moral in that. Right?

    At first glance, authors words in general seem very surface level. But as you dig deeper into the entire experience the author went through during this period in his life, more meaning begins to surface. While his character was challenging you with “everything has a moral” he (Carroll) was probably struggling with similar thoughts himself. After all, his place in the church at the time would have placed a level of responsibility on him that required wisdom and thoughtful consideration of what he did. He was seen by many in the church in his leadership role and had to be held to higher expectations.

    Another consideration about this character and her comments could have sprung from the the royalty of that time. The mid to late 1800’s were ran by Queen Victoria. They call it the Victorian Age/Era for good reason. Society was pummeling through all types of advances at the time. The industrial age was upon them. It was most definitely a time where the artisans, such as Carroll, were about to be cast aside as dreamers and lazy bums. Was it Carroll or was it Queen Victoria speaking through the duchess? Could it be that someone was searching for a moral in life instead of just proclaiming there was a moral to everything? Maybe the proclamation was a cover for ignorance (not stupidity, there is a difference).

    As support for my argument, other authors of the time were struggling just as Carroll might have been. Robert Browning was attempting to lead a group of artisans in a small, close knit group. By the time he was a teenager, not only could he read and write in four or five different languages (among them Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and English), he had consumed all of the 6000 books in his father’s library. Among those books were Bibles in all of the different languages. Still, he remained an atheist until his later years when he discovered what he had been looking for his entire life. What changed him? Maybe he found the moral the duchess/Carroll was continually seeking in Alice’s Adventures.

    I guess what I am saying here is there is not always a clean road map through a piece of literature. Gathering all of the supporting facts you can find will allow you to piece together some semblance of an explanation that would be far better than saying it is confusing and moving on. You posting about this allows you the opportunity to “group think” and gather that information. Kudos to you.

  2. Jenna K. permalink
    November 30, 2009 5:46 pm

    I think it might be a little bold to say everything has a moral. “Moral” is a strong word. I think it would be better to say everything has a lesson to be learned. You can learn from your mistakes, your success, or even other peoples mistakes and success. Any action can be taken and studied and used so that you can do better later. You step in some gum on the street – you learn to watch where you’re walking. You get a study group and make an A on a test – you learn than study groups help you succeed. I really do think you can learn from anything and that’s what the Duchess was trying to say.

  3. Angela W. permalink
    November 25, 2009 9:33 pm

    Even though the Duchess seemed to find a moral to everything, I do not think everything has a moral. What does moral mean? –adjective of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes. Aren’t morals supposed to find the good in something? All of the morals the Duchess points out isn’t exactly the ‘good’ of something. I think as humans, we try to look for the meaning of things so often that we don’t even realize there is no meaning. There cannot be a moral to everything, the Duchess just enjoys trying to find them.

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