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water lily
02-01-2006, 03:45 PM
For those of you who haven't read it or want to freshen your memories:
http://www.online-literature.com/carroll/869/

I always took a nonsensical delight in this poem. But recently I came across the hypothesis that this poem is not so devoid of sense. The basic idea is that the poem is condmening relgion: the walrus respresenting Buddha (or Eastern religion) and the carpenter representing Jesus (or Western Religion). These two characters basically trick and exploit all the young and naive oysters (or people in general). This idea made me also look more closely at all the contradictions in the poem, perhaps representative of the hypocrsy or corruption of relgious organizations.

Well anyways, this idea depressed me. And I'd rather not believe it, if I can. Lol, but obviously I am teeming with bias. I was wondering what you guys think of the idea. Is it founded? Is it probable? Does anyone know Lewis Carol's stance on religion?

Hazel-Ra
02-01-2006, 04:14 PM
To make things easier, let's have the poem on here

The Walrus and the Carpenter - Lewis Carrol

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.


The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"


The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.


The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"


"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.


"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."


The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.


But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.


Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.


The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.


"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."


"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.


"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."


"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?


"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"


"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"


"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.


"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

Hazel-Ra
02-01-2006, 04:21 PM
I agree with it's sentiments, at least so far as the western religons. As for the eastern religons I'm afraid I do not know enough as to support this theory. I have heard of this hypothesis before. It's widely known that for centuries the church has exploited its power and most of all the people for money and sex, among other things. What you have to remember is that this does not mean that 'God', if you believe in God, is corrupt. Through much discussion and thought through my teenage years, I decided I did not believe in any religon. Or God, for that mature. Having said that, I respect everyone's beliefs. I think you have to believe in whatever YOU believe in. You don't have to agree with other people's opinions on what God may ask of us all. I don't believe that any God who would create beings then ask them, with no proof, to believe in him would criticize their own personal views about him so long as they led a decent life. Isn't that what it all comes down to?

I would also like to add that those teenage years when I was deciding my views on this subject were probably the most interesting and fulfilling years of my life. I still love to debate with others about all areas of religion. I simply find the subject facsinating.

chmpman
02-01-2006, 04:36 PM
This poem has been intrepreted thoughout the years in many more ways than just as symbolizing, and thus satirizing, the religions of the East and West. Some have taken the poem's characters as representing politicians. Interestingly enough, I've read that when Carroll went to have his book illustrated, as all good books should be, he gave the illustrator the choice of drawing a carpenter, butterfly, or baronet. The illustrator chose the carpenter, I think for obvious reasons. Although the religios interpretation seems most logical to me, Carroll is a master of nonsense, and you can interpret this poem, as many others of his, in several ways.

whinge
04-19-2006, 07:01 AM
Do you know, when I was reading the poem - and I did look for religious undertones - I saw more political undertones than the latter. I saw how governments, no matter how different they are, will always screw over their followers. In this matter, the followers are the oysters.

I'm reminded of Stalin, actually. I see what Stalin was in both the Walrus and the Carpenter - I also see many other dictators and tyrants, but he is the first that comes to mind, though the time periods are very different. If you compare the oysters to the citizens of (what was) the Soviet Union, you can see how - like Stalin did - the Walrus and the Carpenter manipulated them and ended up devouring them. They Walrus and the Carpenter did it literally, whilst Stalin did it metaphorically.

Obviously, Carroll did not mean to create a Stalin connection (unless he was a prophet), but this can easily be related to any other dictator, like I have said.

cuppajoe_9
05-29-2006, 08:25 PM
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"This stanza looks to me like satire of man's desire to control his environment. I do like the religious interpretation, but what in the jesus does a walrus have to do with eastern religion?

Mr_Jones
07-01-2006, 01:47 AM
just a bit a trivia. Carroll was persuded to adapt "the Walrus and the Carpenter" for performing in music-halls. He added an extra stanza sung by the eldest oyster.
It's something like:

"Oh woeful, weeping walrus your tears are all sham
You're greedier for oysters than children are for jam
You love a dozen oyster to give your meal a zest.
Excuse weeping walrus for stamping on your chest!"

EdgarCarroll13
07-11-2006, 01:52 AM
They used that line in the movie that had Hagrid from Harry Potter playing one of the Tweedles...sorry, having a moment!

Anyway, if there truly is any sort of representation, I should lean more towards the idea that the Walrus and the Carpenter symbolized the industry and business overlords, or perhaps even politicians.

Shifting Leaves
08-05-2006, 04:52 PM
Actually, Lewis Carrol was a preacher, I don't think that he was particularly anti-religious. Also, Buddha was not a big man, he was actually very skinny. That general view of the large Buddha figure is a pop-culture misinterpretation, what most people think of as Buddha is actually a monk that has nothing to do with him. Mr. Carrol wouldn't have known anything about that. Also he was very against drug use, particularly opium, just so people know that his works didn't have anything to do with druggy side-effects. It's just a humorus bit of nonsense. If you want to make it about religion, then go ahead. Just know that those were not his intentions. He just wanted to amuse children.

mono
08-06-2006, 01:32 PM
Actually, Lewis Carrol was a preacher, I don't think that he was particularly anti-religious . . .
Indeed, Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson), himself, had quite a bit of admirable depth to his personality and achievements. I think, besides a writer and reverend, he also worked as a mathematician and photographer.

EdgarCarroll13
08-10-2006, 02:11 AM
:nod: Yes, he was a great man, but he will have the accusations and whispers of being a pedophile following him, as well as those horrible misconceptions that he was a druggy, following him until the end of time, or the death of true literature!

However, I do like the idea that it was JUST nonsense, but yeah...

kathycf
08-10-2006, 05:51 PM
This is an interesting bit:

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
Such hypocrisy! I don't think the Walrus and the Carpenter is sheer nonsense at all, but as a metaphor for religion? Hmmm....I like the idea of social satire myself. Perhaps the Walrus is the wealthy class exploiting the poorer people. Or maybe the poem really is just there to be amusing.

I remember I always loved this passage when I was a child.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Just conjured up funny images to me.

littlelit
11-21-2008, 08:56 AM
Another bit of trivia:
The following bit was added by Carroll as the last stanza in a theatrical version of the book:

The Carpenter he ceased to sob;
The walrus ceased to weep;
They'd finished all the oysters;
And they laid them down to sleep-
And of their craft and cruelty
The punishment to reap.

This is followed by a scene in which ghosts of three oysters come and stamp on the sleeping walrus and carpenter.