Decorative Initial In this passage from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass (1872), the theme that logic and reason conflict with emotion and passion emerges in characterization. When Alice and Tweedledee discuss the poem that Tweedledee recited about the Walrus and the Carpenter, one notices that Alice, young and full of emotion, relates to the Walrus because he "was a little sorry" for them. On the other hand, Tweedledee, fully understanding the situation as a series of logical facts, quickly points out that the Walrus ate more oysters than the Carpenter. As the conversation continues, and Alice quickly changes her mind and decides to like the Carpenter better because the Walrus was "mean," but once again Tweedledee makes a logical statement about the situation and confuses Alice. Alice bases her judgments on emotion, whereas Tweedledee always seems to contradict her emotional statements using his reasoning.

Like Alice and Tweedledee, Jane Eyre and St. John Rivers of Brontë's Jane Eyre , value passion and reason differently. Their different views dramatically appear when St. John asks Jane to marry him. St. John feels that the proposed union would be logical; he reasons that Jane would be the perfect fit as a missionary wife and entreats her to simplify her "complicated interests, feelings, thoughts, wishes, aims; merge all considerations in one pupose" (357). Jane, on the other hand, later gives a wonderful display of emotion. "I scorn your idea of love,' I could not help saying, as I rose up and stood before him.... I scorn the counterfeit sentiment you offer: yes St. John, and I scorn you when you offer it" (359). Jane's display of emotion conflicts with St. John's subdued manner and logical reasoning. After listening to her adamant statement, St. John shows little emotion, except for a pair of compressed lips, and once again responds very calmly by reasoning why he did not deserve that statement. Through the characters of Alice and Tweedledee, and Jane and St. John, both Carroll and Brontë display the two distinct dimensions of passion and logic.


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Last modified May 1994