Abstract Alice

In Carroll’s famous Wonderland tale the demented simplicity of the Tweedles has always been hyperbolized. The twins are in fact deeply intelligent. That intelligence, however, is unparsable to us readers when we do not take the time to analyze. Please read the sample text and make a list of all unfamiliar vocabulary.


“Join me in the gloaming,” said Tweedledee to Tweedledum.

“I don’t like the look of your face in the gloaming,” said Tweedledum to Tweedledee. “It is most mulberry, to the point of seeming cadaverous.”

“I like the look of your face best in the gloaming,” said Dee to Dum, “since I can see so little of it as the day turns positively crepuscular.”

They spat in each other’s faces, hooked elbows, and walked into the forest of their childfears together.


1. gloaming
2. mulberry?
3. cadaverous
4. crepuscular


Good. Now define them. Then we’ll discuss how the Tweedles’ dialogue fulfills three out of four of Grice’s conversational Maxims. We’ll also talk briefly about the concept of ‘idiolect’ as it pertains to these characters. Lastly, we’ll examine the final sentence – its jarring juxtaposition of actions, and what that symbolizes (spoiler alert: blood is thicker than water).

~ by kingzoko on January 24, 2014.

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