Chapter Six

Apr. 8th, 2009 04:17 pm
valadilenne: (Valadilenne)
[personal profile] valadilenne

She had managed to secure the Hatter's promise that indeed he would help her where he could beyond the orders of the Duchess, but he seemed so strangely disquieted by making binding promises that she had decided not to mention the subject except in future situations of calamity, which had thankfully not yet arisen.
More hints at the fact that he doesn't get along with the Duchess too well.

But Alice remained unmoved by his inexplicable protestations and enjoyed the way the trees lifted their branches away from her, as if they too enjoyed her artistic presence more than their own scientific purpose.
There's an interesting hint here toward a theme that is still building. The idea of duality is always present, so it's obvious Alice has this strong quality of reason that the Hatter constantly challenges with a kind of laid-back chaos. The story focuses on her perspective, but the language and insight into her head are very flowy and artistic; not necessarily logical or reasoned. The Hatter, on the other hand, is very technical and has a flair for mechanics—things that are considered very logical and reasoned, and this despite all the emotion and chaos he generates. Essentially, the two of them are the same, and yet they are complete opposites.

They came in waves, these beautiful people with their pointed features and thin brows...
I didn't mention this before, but the joke is that all the background Wonderlandians look vaguely similar, like stock characters in a cartoon. They all have very upstanding, pretty features—and the most important thing is that they all have slim eyebrows, which becomes important later.

Where Alice had vaguely suspected that the two were outsiders or social pariahs somehow, her theory had been proven wrong when it was revealed to her on a Thursday afternoon that the Hatter possessed the desirable and apparently rare talent of designing hairstyles...
Haberdashers often doubled as barbers, but not necessarily women's hairdressers. The Hatter likes big, outrageous things, though, so he'd be good at baking a cake into a lady's updo for the opera.

“Tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono, donne, ragazzi, vecchi, fanciulle: Qua la parrucca! Presto la barba! Qua la sanguigna! Presto il biglietto--”
The lyrics are from the middle of “Largo al factotum” from The Barber of Seville (get it?). Factotum is from the Latin, meaning “to do everything.” Factotum in English means a jack of all trades—so there's the doubled implication that the Hatter is not only a Figaro-esque dynamo with a massive personality and barber's skills, but that he's very good at a lot of other things we might not yet know about. Literally translated, this means “Everyone asks for me, everyone wants me! Ladies, young lads, old men, young girls: here is the wig...the beard is ready... here are the leeches... the note is ready...” I chose this particular passage in the aria because the note phrasing starts to sound really absurd, and the singer has to do some very complicated “silly” voices to mimic the people clamoring for his services. It seemed to fit.

while two old ladies sat too close together in a mistaken attempt to see with the other's lorgnette...
A lorgnette is a fashionable type of eyepiece that you hold on a stick instead of putting them over your ears. They come on chains or ribbons and typically look like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Silver_Lorgnette,_circa_1909.jpg

“Er, cajun spice sweats and blushers your mind,” he said to no one, and fell with a splorch back into the pudding.
“Incense and Peppermints” by Strawberry Alarm Clock.

On a clear day, Alice could see forever; forever in her case being past the edge of the forest's border, beyond which lay the rest of the kingdom, which was visible by how the treeline suddenly fell into tan desert and low scrubland.
The borders are some way off yet, but the four quadrants of the Wonderland (for our purposes anyway) are visibly different. You know when you've entered a new realm.

She didn't even have to look at him; she could tell by the satisfying cracking noises his neck made that this afternoon walk was just as typical as every other afternoon walk.
Take note: the Hatter can crack his joints. It's not important now, but it is later.

The Hatter apparently took some enjoyment in lurching about like a mad scientist's reanimated monster...
Frankenstein's creation.

”Oil?!” Is that what you're saying? You don't need to be oiled you are not made of tin!”
Wizard of Oz.

“Why can't I just find things when I need them, or pull them out of a great bag at simply the right moment?”
“You'd need an awfully large bag for that,” said a detached and possibly helium-addicted voice from just behind Alice's left ear.

The beginning of a series of hints. The Cheshire Cat knows what's going on, but he likes silly games and wants to see if Alice can figure things out on her own. Also: I imagine no one else but Sterling Holloway as the Cat.

“Let me ask you something, then: 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?'”
Plato's Republic you may have heard of. This was a question he posed: “Who watches the watchmen?” I know, Watchmen came out recently, but it's not really a reference to that (as awesomely coincidental as that is). What the Cat is asking is, “Who is keeping an eye on and protecting us from the people who rule and guard us?”

“To know to ask something I haven't even considered yet...” she mused to herself, “That doesn't seem fair to my mind or intellect at all. I'd have to be able to see into the future, or to read other people's minds. Or know everything at once.”
“Not... necessarily, and knowing everything at once isn't something I would... recommend,” said the cat, grinning strangely.
“That's impossible, you'd be driven mad—madder than, begging your pardon but it's true, madder than you lot—you'd go mad by the sheer volume of knowledge. One couldn't begin to store that much information somewhere. ”

The entire conversation with the Cat is hugely important, but this is a very central point.

The Hatter turned to follow her in the wake of the Cheshire Cat's mysterious disseminations, his own mind secreted from her in the blessed silence he swept along between the two of them as they returned to the house.
Cat got your tongue, Mr. Hatter?

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Valadilenne

May 2009

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