Friday, July 12, 2013

Looking Glass


Michael W. Davis

Those two words are notorious with a story remade over and over in Hollywood, and express all kinds of hidden meaning in Lit 101 classes, The associated reference has offered many curious minds food for thought since its creation in the childhood fantasy Alice in wonderland. When I was a kid, my mind did not explore the depths of the human condition, rather I was focused on playing war, trying to figure out girls, and the dozens of other boyhood fancies. Yet as I matured, as my mind pondered the wonder, and confusion, of emotions, the uncertainty we all experience in who and what we are, I stumbled on a deeper meaning to the mental excursions in Charles Dodgson’s fairytale when Alice studied her reflection in the looking glass and perplexed over what she saw.

I hear your words, “what in the world are you talking about big guy” and “what does this have to do with writing.”  Well, let me explain. Remember, you may not agree but this is my interpretation and something I have applied to all my stories, namely the path to and moment of self-awareness. The goal of all searching minds is someday to answer our quest for who and what we are. If we’re lucky, some, by the time they hit their golden years, get hit smack in the face with the truth to that eternal question. In a novel, don’t you plead with the hero and heroine to wake up, turn around, realize what they’re missing, quench their thirst for revelations about what the heck is happening to them. Why can’t they find love? Why aren’t they happy?  Why is what’s happening happening to them? You know, sort of like what was that white furry thing that just disappeared down the hole.

You see, I think Alice was curious about herself as she evaluated the reflection; who she was, what would she be, why didn’t the other kids like her, what were the strange thoughts and feelings going on in her mind. Just like the internal turmoil going on in the H and H of our novels. And as readers we get enveloped in those struggles, cause, just like us, they’re confused at what they see in the looking glass, the reflection, themselves, and like me, like you, by the end of the story we want them (us) to have resolution. Right?

Like I said, that was my interpretation of the profound statement by Dodgson in his icon about self-reflection and analysis when the cute young girl peered into the looking glass for answers to her own confusing questions. Well, I said you might not agree with me (g).


Rhobin Lee Courtright said...

I think we are all trying to figure out exactly who it is in the mirror. It's one reason people read -- to find out if they are 'normal,' if others think and act like themselves. The problem is that whenever we think we have ourselves pegged, some new situation develops and we find the image in the mirror is only a reflection of what really exists.

Interesting, thought-provoking post.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

And for some the image in the mirror is blurred by ego or fear.

Big Mike said...

Cancer set me straight. Now I look at my reflection totally different.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)