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Encyclopedia > Cheshire Cat
For other uses of the term Cheshire cat, see Cheshire Cat (disambiguation).
The Cheshire cat as John Tenniel envisioned it in the 1866 publication

The Cheshire Cat is a fictional cat appearing in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. It appears and disappears at will, engaging Alice in amusing but sometimes vexing conversation. The cat sometimes points out philosophical points that annoy Alice. It does, however, appear to cheer her up when it turns up suddenly at the Queen of Hearts' croquet field, and when sentenced to death baffles everyone by making its body disappear, but its head remain visible, sparking a massive argument between the King, the Queen and the executioner about whether or not something that does not have a body can indeed be beheaded. Cheshire Cat may refer to: Cheshire Cat, a the character from Alice in Wonderland, or derivations, including a character in the computer game American McGees Alice. ... The Cheshire Cats original form, by Tenniel. ... 1889 Self-portrait Sir John Tenniel (February 28, 1820 – February 25, 1914) was an English illustrator. ... Cats and other felines have often been used as characters in literature and in other forms of media. ... Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) – believed to be a self-portrait Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (IPA: ) (January 27, 1832 – January 14, 1898), better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and photographer. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The philosopher Socrates about to take poison hemlock as ordered by the court. ... John Tenniel illustrated the first editions of the Alice books. ... Miss Piggy on The Muppet Show, as the Queen of Hearts The Queen of Hearts is a character from the book Alices Adventures in Wonderland by the mathematician Lewis Carroll. ... Winslow Homer: Croquet, 1864 Croquet is a recreational game and, latterly, a competitive sport that involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops embedded into the grass playing arena. ...


At one point, the cat disappears gradually until nothing is left but its grin, prompting Alice to remark that she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat. This has become a point of notability for the cat: most people remember it most strongly performing its vanishing act.

Contents

Inspiration

Church carvings

There are reports that Carroll found inspiration for the Cheshire Cat in a carving in a church in the village of Croft-on-Tees, in the north east of England, where his father had been rector. Another view is that the cat is based on a gargoyle found on a pillar in St Nicolas Church Cranleigh, where Carroll used to travel frequently when he lived in Guildford. The cat is named after Carroll's home county, Cheshire. Others attribute it to a carving on the west face of the tower at St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall, Warrington, Cheshire. It has been suggested that Ecclesia (Church) be merged into this article or section. ... Croft-on-Tees is a village in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire, England. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto)1 Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Monarch Queen Elizabeth II... The word rector (ruler, from the Latin regere) has a number of different meanings, but all of them indicate someone who is in charge of something. ... Cheshire (or, archaically, the County of Chester)[1] is a county in North West England. ... St Wilfrids, Grappenhall St Wilfrids Church, Grappenhall, is in Church Lane, Grappenhall, a village near Warrington, Cheshire, England (grid reference SJ638863). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Cheshire (or, archaically, the County of Chester)[1] is a county in North West England. ...


Cheese molds

Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable says grinning like a Cheshire cat is "an old simile, popularized by Lewis Carroll". Brewer adds, "The phrase has never been satisfactorily accounted for, but it has been said that cheese was formerly sold in Cheshire moulded like a cat that looked as though it was grinning." The cheese was cut from the tail end, so that the last part eaten was the head of the smiling cat. Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable - sometimes referred to simply as Brewers - is a reference work containing definitions and explanations of many famous phrases, allusions and figures, whether historical or mythical. ... A simile is a comparison of two unlike things, typically marked by use of like, as, than, or resembles. Examples may include the snow was as thick as a blanket, or she was as smart as a crow, or the usage of emotions similes like madder than a bull fast...


Dockyard cats

A more likely origin for the story concerns the cats that lived in the port of Chester. Until the late 1970s, a monument to the Cheshire Cat stood beside the River Dee, where there had formerly been a cheese warehouse. It was said that cats sitting on the dock would wait for the rats and mice to leave the ships transporting Cheshire cheese to London and were the happiest cats in the kingdom, hence their grins. The monument was destroyed when Copfield House, a house that stood on the site of the warehouse, was demolished in 1979.


Cats from a dairy county

A yet simpler explanation and one widely believed in the area itself is that, Cheshire being famed as a dairy county, its cats enjoyed copious amounts of milk and cream and in consequence displayed a contented grin.


See also

The Cheshire Cats radically altered form in American McGees Alice, 2000 The Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carrolls Alices Adventures in Wonderland makes appearances in derivative works: // He can be found in Disneys film version of the books, wearing pink and purple stripes and singing of...

Quotes

"Please, would you tell me," said Alice, a little timidly, ... "why your cat grins like that?"
"It's a Cheshire cat," said the Duchess, "and that's why."
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
Alice didn't think that proved it at all: however she went on. "And how do you know that you're mad?"
"To begin with," said the Cat, "a dog's not mad. You grant that?"
"I suppose so," said Alice
"Well, then, " the Cat went on, "you see a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad."
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where –" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"– so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) – believed to be a self-portrait Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (IPA: ) (January 27, 1832 – January 14, 1898), better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman and photographer. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Cheshire Cat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (902 words)
The Cheshire Cat is a fictional cat appearing in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
At one point, the cat disappeared gradually until nothing was left but its grin, prompting Alice to remark that she had often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat.
There are reports that Carroll found inspiration for the Cheshire Cat in a carving in a church in the village of Croft-on-Tees, in the north east of England, where his father had been rector.
Cheshire Cat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (902 words)
The Cheshire cat as John Tenniel envisioned it in the 1866 publication
It has been claimed that Carroll intended the Cheshire Cat to be Wonderland's God.
The cat appears in Jasper Fforde's novels about Thursday Next, in which it is the librarian of the great library in the book-world.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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