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Could someone explain the humor in Haddocks Eyes - (for Alice in Wonderland fans)?

  1. Apr 16, 2012 #1
    Could someone explain the humor in "Haddocks Eyes" - (for Alice in Wonderland fans)?

    Hello , I was recently reminded of a section of 'Through The Looking Glass' - the one about Haddock's Eyes because of a post here at PF :-

    I will post the relevant material :-
    Well , I understood the humor till 'The Aged Aged Man' , but I am confused after that point.

    Here's what I understood -
    The name of the song is :-The Aged Aged Man
    The name of the name of the song is :- Haddock's Eyes.

    But I am unable to understand what 'Ways and Means' and 'A-sitting on A gate' stand for.(Or is it the case that from this point on it really is nonsensical ?)


    Jokes and puns lose their punch if explained , but I just am not getting it here. :biggrin: .
    It is so maddening that I am beginning to appreciate the point made by the Cheshire cat, when he says that we are all mad here.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2012 #2

    tiny-tim

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    my friend's cat …

    is called "pussy"

    is named "montmorency montescue parminedes"

    and is my friend's cat :wink:
     
  4. Apr 16, 2012 #3
    Re: Could someone explain the humor in "Haddocks Eyes" - (for Alice in Wonderland fan

    Song is ...
    Song is called ...
    Name is ...
    Name is called ...
     
  5. Apr 16, 2012 #4
    Re: Could someone explain the humor in "Haddocks Eyes" - (for Alice in Wonderland fan

    I still am a bit fuzzy.

    Here is where I am confused :-
    1) Isn't 'Name' = 'What the song is called' ?

    So why should there be there be two different values for 'Name is'(which is given as 'The Aged Aged Man') and 'Song is Called'(which is given as 'Ways and Means') ?

    Or is it just the case of their being multiple names for the same object ? (as so often happens in life , for example a person who is named Robert is also called Bob sometimes)

    2) It is given that the Song is 'A-sitting On A Gate' ,

    Should the entire song be written within quotes ?


    Sorry , for still not getting the joke.:cry:
     
  6. Apr 16, 2012 #5
    Re: Could someone explain the humor in "Haddocks Eyes" - (for Alice in Wonderland fan

    I think what's going on here is that Carroll is humorously amplifying the confusion that might result from the King James version of the Bible, which all his readers at the time would have been familiar with.

    It is a strange thing to say "his name shall be called". Why not "his name will be", or "he will be called"? Instead, we get the fusion of the two "his name shall be called", which directly says without meaning to, not that he will be called those things, but that his name will be called those things.

    I happen to remember this passage in particular because Handel uses it in "The Messiah", but there are probably more places in the Bible where this construction is used. I don't know if this reflects the English of the time of the translation, or the original language. Regardless, it is certainly an awkward and misleading enough construction to provoke someone like Carroll, who was into word play, into this descant on the silliness of the logic of the construction, removed from a religious context, of course.
     
  7. Apr 16, 2012 #6

    tiny-tim

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    it is in the original language (biblical hebrew)

    it's from Isaiah 9:5 (or 9:6)
    and his name is called wonderful etc (vayikrah shemo pele … וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ פֶּלֶא)​

    vayikrah = and called, shemo = his name, pele = wonderful

    the same phrase is used throughout the Old Testament (to search, go to http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0.htm and enter וַיִּקְרָא), here are some examples from Genesis …

    Genesis 2:19-20
    and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them (mah yikrah lo מַה-יִּקְרָא-לוֹ); and whatsoever the man would call every living creature, that was to be the name thereof. And the man gave names to all cattle … (vayikrah ha'adam shemos lecol habehamoh ... וַיִּקְרָא הָאָדָם שֵׁמוֹת, לְכָל-הַבְּהֵמָה)​

    also Genesis 5:2, 3, 29
    and called their name Adam …
    And Adam … called his name Seth
    And he called his name Noah …​

    also Genesis 35:8, 15 and 20
    and the name of it was called Allon-bacuth …
    And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Beth-el …
    and He called his name Israel …​

    Genesis 26:18, 20, 21, 22
    And Isaac digged again the wells … and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
    And he called the name of the well Esek …
    And he called the name of it Sitnah …
    And he called the name of it Rehoboth …​

    Interestingly, Genesis 26:33 …
    And he called it [a well] Shibah. Therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba unto this day. (vayikrah osah shivah, ul-cain-shem-ha'ir be'air shevah … וַיִּקְרָא אֹתָהּ, שִׁבְעָה; עַל-כֵּן שֵׁם-הָעִיר בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע)​

    "vayikrah" can also mean the other sense of "called", see Genesis 26:9 …
    And Abimelech called Isaac, and said … (vayikrah Abimelech vYitzhak … וַיִּקְרָא אֲבִימֶלֶךְ לְיִצְחָק)​
    also Genesis 12:17, Genesis 21:3, 17, Genesis 28:1
    And Pharaoh called Abram …
    and the angel of God called to Hagar …
    And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him …​
     
  8. Apr 16, 2012 #7
    Re: Could someone explain the humor in "Haddocks Eyes" - (for Alice in Wonderland fan

    "...and Tiny-Tim's name, henceforth, shall be called researcher, for he is of those who are thorough and comprehensive in the finding of information..."
     
  9. Apr 16, 2012 #8

    jtbell

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    Re: Could someone explain the humor in "Haddocks Eyes" - (for Alice in Wonderland fan

    Of course, at this point, the Knight should have actually started to sing. :wink:
     
  10. Apr 16, 2012 #9
    Re: Could someone explain the humor in "Haddocks Eyes" - (for Alice in Wonderland fan

    Wow , I wasn't aware that 'Haddocks Eyes' conversation had such a background of biblical proportions.

    Thanks , this perfectly addresses what I intended to ask in the doubt #2 of my previous post.:smile:

    But I am still not getting the solution to doubt #1. :-

    Do 'Ways and Means' and 'The Aged Aged Man' name the same object viz. the song ? (Just as 'Charles Lutwidge Dodgson' and 'Lewis Carroll' name the same person)


    By the way , thanks everyone for participating in this thread. All of your responses helped me in a better understanding of the passage.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  11. Apr 16, 2012 #10
    Re: Could someone explain the humor in "Haddocks Eyes" - (for Alice in Wonderland fan

    http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/use_and_mention.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use–mention_distinction
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  12. Apr 17, 2012 #11
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