But one character really stands out. The Cheshire Cat is magical and mystical. And, we don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say, he’s a metaphorical genius. He turns words into read-between-the-lines poetry. Anyone can say what they mean. It takes a special kind of cat to say something that sounds like it means one thing but really has implications far beyond the imagination. This can be demonstrated best in three interactions (in order of impressiveness).
The first is one is when Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat when she’s lost and feeling a little blue. A few things unfold and then he tells her about the Queen and her ways. When Alice says she doesn’t know the Queen, the Cheshire Cat has a cat-like response:
Mad seems like a good thing, but really it’s a “Who’s been painting my roses red?” kind of angry madness. Poor Alice. She has no idea what’s about to happen.
The second metaphor happens when Chess “helps” Alice find the White Rabbit she’s looking for. He explains that she can ask the Mad Hatter or the March Hare, but that both are a little bit mad. When she says she doesn’t want to talk to mad people, he counters that everyone’s mad there. And then adds (metaphor coming your way)…
“You may have noticed that I’m not all there myself.”
That worked on so many levels. Really all the levels. He’s a bit crazy. And also disappears. And is really fun to watch on loop. Bonus.
The last, and in our opinion best, Cheshire Cat metaphor comes in the form of a highly existential conversation between he and Alice. She asks “I was just wondering if you could help me find my way.”
That’s some serious metaphorical madness, Cheshire Cat. If you don’t know where you’re going, there is no one way to get there. With experience we’ve learned that when you’re not sure which direction to take, the answer is to just pick a direction. Remember: some go one way, some go another, but the Cheshire Cat prefers the shortcut.