“What does it matter where my body happens to be?” he said. “My mind goes on working all the same. In fact, the more head downwards I am, the more I keep inventing new things.”
– Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
All commentators agree that the White Knight is the only friendly figure that Alice encounters in Wonderland.
To continue my analysis of Lewis Carroll’s books as Alice’s spiritual journey where she finally becomes a queen and reaches enlightenment the white knight plays an important role. The other characters that I have discussed the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit, Humpty Dumpty… represent the negative disturbing emotions that Alice must transform in order to move forward on her journey. Each encounter is marked by the characters either aggressive or dismissive behavior towards her.
When Alice meets the White Knight, her first impression is his kindly face. He rescues her from the Red Knight and helps her to leave the forest and become a queen. His kindness is a form of compassion that is also a necessary component for enlightenment. Although the knight is ridiculous he is always selfless. Sliding off his horse with each step and climbing back up, he is not put off but determined to accomplish his mission for Alice’s benefit.
Perhaps his assertion that he thinks better upside down is because the heart is above the brain. The intellect alone is not where creativity lies, understanding is intelligence coupled with compassion. the White Knight may seem foolish but like the fool he also speaks wisdom in the upside down context of Wonderland. He shows a good heart that can balance Alice and enable her to become a queen.
Our society is so obsessed with intellect, with inventing all sorts of objects like the White Knight’. We believe they are important will make us happy but if we look carefully we can see the absurdity. We have overlooked the importance of a good heart and our world is galloping forward out of control. We are clinging to the saddle hoping that the impending fall will not be mortal.