If I had to choose a favorite character from Alice in Wonderland, I would choose the Cheshire Cat. He’s creepy and possibly madder than any of the other characters, but he knows things. He knows things, and he refuses to share them.
It’s that secret knowledge that makes him interesting. He seems to know more about Wonderland and the characters who populate that land than the other characters do. He’s the one who tells Alice that the Hatter and the March Hare are both mad. He stumps the Queen of Hearts at his own execution. How does one cut off a head when that head is all that can be seen?
Yes, the Cheshire Cat is an enigma. He aids Alice only to get her into trouble later. He both encourages and thwarts the pursuit of knowledge with his philosophical questions and vexing riddles. He acts illogically yet is altogether logical according to the laws that govern Wonderland.
I don’t know why those qualities make the Cheshire Cat endearing. They shouldn’t. They didn’t in the past. I didn’t particularly care for the cat in the past. I thought he was cruel to Alice. Of course, that was my perspective as a child. I now view the story from an adult’s perspective and a writer’s one. When I examine the story now, I find myself pondering the cat because he’s complicated. He’s a case of both/and rather than either/or. He can’t be explained in a single sentence (unless Faulkner’s doing the explaining). He’s both a cat with a grin as well as a grin without a cat.
Who’s your favorite character in Wonderland?