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Doucet 1

Gabrielle Doucet
Y. Garza
English II 5
March 1, 2015

The Poem Written For His Muse: Alice

The renowned Victorian author and poet who captivated all with his elaborate tales.
Lewis Carroll is known for his whimsical, childlike writing. Carrolls poem, A Boat Beneath A
Sunny Sky, relates to his favored character, Alice, as he writes his poem of her transitioning
from childhood to adulthood. Carroll adopted this flair for amusing his brothers and sister,
especially his sister which explains, perhaps, his lifelong attraction for little girls (Lewis
Carroll Biography). That lifelong attraction was carried over to Alice Liddell who was his use
and whose name is the acrostic of this poem. This poems literary elements consist of imagery.
metaphor and simile that Lewis Carroll uses to express his feelings for his muse entering
adulthood.
Every bit of Lewis Carrolls life helped him become the creative writer who published
great works. Lewis Carroll grew up with a father known to be a gloomy man. However, his
letters to his son, there is recorded evidence of a remarkable sense of fun . . . he speaks of
screaming in the middle of a street (Lewis Carroll Biography). I believe that is what sparked
some of Carrolls love for literary exaggeration and gave Carroll the style of having nonsense
ideas put into writing. A major part of his childhood but that carried into his life was that Carroll
had a horrible stammer. There was a myth that Carroll only stammered in adult company, and
was free and fluent with children (Leach). It is said that his stammer troubled and sometimes

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obsessed him, but never had enough influence to truly affect him. Also because of his stammer,
Carroll was somewhat of a loner (Lewis Carroll Biography). Because of his experiences
through his childhood, and the family Carroll grew up in, he had a lot of opportunity to build his
character, which helped him create captivating writing.
Carroll inserted two similes in the poem; both target dreaming as time passes by. Lewis
may have come to the realization that days with his Allice were passing on, and rather quickly.
Line 17 of the poem, Dreaming as the days go by, gave me a brief image of how fast my
personal life was flying by, half way through high school (Carroll). I am sure Lewis was
dreading Alices approach to adulthood, especially because it seems he himself doesnt care for
being an adult. Carroll continues with another simile, but his one is more about how his current
time with her, in the summer, is drawing to an end. The second simile, Dreaming as the
summers die, reflects how everyone dislikes the end to summer, yet it is still inevitable
(Carroll). I feel Lewis knows his time with Alice is limited and has come to accept that. Through
our lives, we all dread everyday life and turn to an escape. Alice was Lewiss escape because she
inspired his writing. Sometimes our escape is summer. For Lewis Carroll, his writing and muse,
Alice, was his summer escape and he wanted to keep dreaming of it that way.
Carroll uses descriptive language to depict a certain imagery of a boat floating down a
river of which he is telling stories to the children he is with. Lewis Carroll used imagery to show
how something that you valued so much at one point can turn around and almost destroy you.
The very first line, sunny sky, sets the example of light which latter shifts to a tome of
darkness. From my earlier point on the light was that shifting good to evil that can maybe change
your life (Carroll), (Samuel). There are two lines, 4 and 15, that say almost the thing which
means Carroll was really stressing this one point, nestle near, and, lovingly shall nestle,

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(Carroll). This really is about Lewiss obsession with Alice and how he wants her to nestle and
stay near to him. The line, children three that nestle near, creates a warm atmosphere of
comforting story telling (Carroll), (Grace). Most of the poetic element of this poem is imagery of
a safe place for him and Alice.
After Lewiss previous points about growing up, he ends his poem with a perfect
metaphor about life. He concludes his poem with a question, Life, what is it but a dream?
(Carroll). This could connect to my point of how dreaming is another way of escaping and Alice
is his escape. Another way to understand the metaphor would be what is life but a drifting
dream? I guess it says that because life is over in a blink of an eye, (Mitchell). Carroll
expresses how childhood and life is fleeing therefore to him it is but a dream because it passes so
quickly (Grace). It made me stop and think, my childhood is gone and my adolescent years are
fleeting. Maybe, perhaps the thought of Alice moving to adulthood with Carroll comforted him
(Leach). However, it is still interesting that Carroll end his poem with a question leaving it open
ended.
He expresses how childhood is fleeting, how it is but a moment, a whisper, a dream
(Grace). Poetry has a funny way of speaking to you and Carroll has spoken to me. Carroll
manages to provoke my mind into thinking about how my personal childhood and how it is
fleeting. I dont know if I will take it the same way he did about Alice growing up and starting a
new stage of life but I know that when the time comes, I can think back and read this poem and
maybe relate more to Carroll possibly when my children are growing up.

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Works Cited
Lewis Carroll Biography. Cliffnotes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.
<http://www.cliffnotes.com/literature/a/alices-adventures-in-wonderland/lewis-carrollbiography>
Carroll, Lewis. A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky. Shenandoah the Noir Issue. Shenandoah
Literary, 2015. Web. 9 Feb. 2015. <http://shenandoahliterary.org/blog/2012/01/a-boatbeneath-a-sunny-sky-by-lewis-carroll/>
Grace, Caroline. A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky by: Lewis Carroll. Positively Poetry. n.p., 2012.
Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <http://poeddiction.blogspot.com/2012/05/boat-beneath-sunny-skyby-lewis.html>
Leach, Karoline. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll): a Brief Biography. The
Victorian Web. n.p., 25 Nov. 2004. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.
<http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/carroll/bio1.html>
Samuel, Sam. A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky. Prezi. n.p., 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 9 Feb.
2015.<http://prezi.com/56fh8wzogpcb/copy-of-a-boat-beneath-a-sunny-sky-by-lewiscarroll/>
Mitchell, Valarie. A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky By: Lewis Carroll. Prezi. n.p., 17 Nov. 2013.
Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <https://prezi.com/paqaplx851pk/boat-beneat-a-sunny-sky-bylewiscarol/>