Fantasy, Courage, and Portmanteau
There is a world full of borogroves, mome raths, Jubjub birds, and toves. What do these words mean exactly? In the poem “Jabberwocky,” Lewis Carroll creates a confusing yet beautiful fantasy world. There are many whimsical creatures in this world; there is also a boy who faces his fears and kills his biggest enemy, the Jabberwock. With the help of nonsense verses, diction and portmanteau, onomatopoeia, and assonance, Carroll explores the importance of having an imagination and exploring beyond life’s common happenings to create an exciting fantasy world. The use of a nonsense verse helps to create a fantasy world within a poem. A nonsense verse is a form of verse that is often rhythmical and used in children’s poems. Usually, the tone of a nonsense verse is whimsical and tends to employ seemingly meaningless made-up words and absurd phrases. “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! / The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! / Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun / the frumious Bandersnatch!” (lines 5-8). The words in this poem aren’t in the dictionary and are created, but still develop a meaning after reading this poem a few more times. Words in a nonsense verse are easily identified as a specific part of speech. “Frumious,” though not in the dictionary, is clearly an adjective describing the “Bandersnatch”. “Bandersnatch” is clearly a noun. The fact that words closely resemble common words today helps readers understand what is happening in the poem without knowing the meaning of all the nonsense words. “He left it dead, and with its head / He went galumphing back” (lines 19-20). Though “galumphing” might not be in most people’s vocabulary, we are still able to understand that the boy was going back to his father with the ferocious beast’s head for a prize. Exactly how he was going back is left open for the reader to infer. In many poems, diction plays an important role in establishing the tone and mood, but portmanteau...
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