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Like Nails to the SlaughterEdit

Nail in a block of wood









A family of nails lived in a box

Their lives punctuated by constant cries

Of “Hell and damnation! Fiddle! A pox!”

As the carpenter took one of their lives

The mother would cry, but she had no mouth

The father would run, but he had no feet

The littl’est nail, no matter how uncouth,

Could do nothing by sob because of it.

The large coarse hands propped nails against the wood

Shrill cries punctuated his every breath

The large formation took shape where it stood

A work of art, sacrifice, and dark death.

The great ones in power will take many lives

Instead of working to better their lives


ThesisEdit

Lewis Carroll shows his desire for freedom and just rulers through his poetry. While the poems show the reality of the world, the tyranny, and lying of many leaders, they also show how unjust he believes the situation is, and hint at how it could be better. In “How Doth The Little Crocodile”, the powerful crocodile hides his true nature to bring the innocent fish close enough to him to eat them; in “You are Old, Father William”, the old man abuses his authority, his age, to do whatever he pleases; in “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, the pair pretend to be kind, and well-meaning, when in reality, they intend on eating the Oysters for dinner; “The Jabberwock”, by contrast, is a poem that shows how leaders, like the boy’s father, should be: kind, and instructive, but who let the people have their independence.

In “How Doth The Little Crocodile”, the crocodile is a wily creature who hides his true nature to lure unsuspecting fish. While this is a good technique for hunting prey, it is a quality that should not be present in a leader. Unfortunately, leaders often hide things from their people, and Lewis Carroll may have used his poem to point this out. The poem warns readers not to trust a person’s smile, not to trust their looks, but to look at their personality instead, and if they are true on the outside and the inside, then they have at least the start of a good leader.

In “You Are Old, Father William”, the Old man misuses his authority, his age, to do whatever he wants. Now that he’s old, he can turn somersaults, balance an eel on his nose, eat however much he wants, and tell the annoying child to leave him alone. This is not the ideal leader; he shouldn’t abuse his power, especially for his own gain. He abuses the freedom he has, and takes away the freedom of speech of the boy, purely because the boy’s questions irritated him. He does not take the boy’s age into consideration. He is not a just or considerate person, and does not make a good leader.

In “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, the two beings use their knowledge to take advantage of the oysters; young oysters are misled into believing that they may safely go for a stroll with them. However, the innocent creatures are then murdered and devoured by the Walrus and the Carpenter without scruple, simply so that they may enjoy a free, and decadent meal. They misuse their authority for their own gain, and take advantage of the people over trifles. They do not make good leaders.

In “The Jabberwock”, the father is good to his son; he prepares him for his journey into the outside world, telling him of the dangers out there, but not spoon-feeding him, so that his son will have the chance, the freedom, to experience it himself. He is knowledgeable, not tyrannical; he doesn’t retain total control over his son, but rather, lets him be his own individual. This poem shows not Carroll’s idea of a bad leader, but how a good leader is: a good teacher, intelligent, gives freedom to his people.

Lewis Carroll shows his ideas of leadership through the poems he writes: In “How Doth The Little Crocodile”, the powerful crocodile hides his true nature to bring the innocent fish close enough to him to eat them; in “You are Old, Father William”, the old man abuses his authority, his age, to do whatever he pleases; in “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, the pair pretend to be kind, and well-meaning, when in reality, they intend on eating the Oysters for dinner; “The Jabberwock”, by contrast, is a poem that shows how leaders, like the boy’s father, should be: kind, and instructive, but who let the people have their independence. Good leaders put the needs of the many before the needs of the one, and Lewis Carroll’s poems reflect this well.

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