Ugly Swine

The baby/pig thing creature scene has held the attention for many blogs posts I’ve read. After Alice meets the Duchess in chapter six, Alice catches this repulsive ‘starfish[-like]” creature after it had been discarded. Alice, always keeping in mind the compassion little girls are taught to have, nurses the baby in a very peculiar way. She ties is up into knots, suggesting that the vile little thing is flexible enough.

Let us think for a minute what such flexibility means. When one stands with a sturdy waist and structure, thee body language to be read is to fear or give respect. Infants are usually nursed with gentle touches and spoken to softly, but this baby is treated in a very rambunctious way, suggesting that it is insignificant and can be handled in such a way. The meaning behind the baby’s nature lies in the meaning of the baby’s transformation.

This creature/child thing is the only other inhabitant of Wonderland which is young. The Mock Turtle speaks of his youth and the changes that he went through to become such a lonely being which in a way is also experiencing his transformation. Other older characters in Wonderland place themselves above Alice in terms of intellect and importance.  The baby turns into a pig… which may suggest that as it grows older, it turns into a filthy swine. I wonder though why Carroll would have this child grow into a brainless animal.

It might just be because Carroll thinks little boys are pigs… but that doesn’t satisfy my curiosity. There is a transformation seen by the Mock Turtle and the baby which take them from their childhood and put a dark or unfortunate side on them. This might be the way that Carroll says after childhood, one is no longer free and giddy and able to do as they please. After childhood, one is handicapped by the rules of society and acts like a pig.

The characters have knowledge of Wonderland, and some have knowledge of the real world. In this way, they are able to hold themselves above Alice. We don’t know anything about the other character’s past in Wonderland though. They might be children still at heart. Could this be Carroll’s way of saying that children are simply greater and freer than adults? Perhaps Alice might be saved from the fate of the baby and the Mock Turtle in that she visited Wonderland and had the chance of learning from the backwards ways. Perhaps she will stay a child forever.


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