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Why a Cheshire Cat?

December 3, 2009

Have you ever wondered why they had a Cheshire Cat talk to Alice? Why didn’t Carroll choose a different animal? Carroll most likely chose a Cheshire Cat because a common phase in Carroll’s was “Grin like a Cheshire Cat.” This is in one of the annotations from The Annotated Alice. The Cheshire Cat was so popular most likely because Cheshire cheeses were once molded into cats. Another reason could be because a sign painter in Cheshire painted grinning lions on the signboards of inns. Carroll was also born in Cheshire which could mean he wanted to bring in some of his childhood into the story. All of these facts were from The Annotated Alice if you would like to read more about the possible reasons.

Here is a little “did you know?” fact. Did you know that the Cheshire Cat was not in the original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground? Why would Carroll not have him in the original manuscript? The Cheshire Cat seems like a big character. Also Alice at first did not call it a Cheshire Cat. At first she called it a Cheshire-Puss. Was Carroll trying to signify something by doing this because it was cut out in the Disney movie of Alice in Wonderland? During the first scene when Alice meets the Cheshire Cat, the Cat asks about the baby. This does not seem important at all. The Cheshire Cat asks his question about the baby. Alice answers it and that’s it. Nothing else is spoken about it. Although the Cheshire Cat seems to be a key character, I just get this feeling that there is more than just cat that disappears.

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