Sorry about the title, but I’m a rock and roll nerd (I could give an hour long lecture on how Guns N Roses and the emergence of Grunge killed rock and roll in the span of 4 years). Anyway, it was asked if there are any underlying meanings to The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll. I would have to say yes and no (fitting for the odd nature of this poem) because both would be correct. Saying there are no underlying meanings is easy to defend because his material was created for children and therefore it could be a world of impossibilities easily coexisting. Yes, on the other hand, is a different story. Here’s what came to mind for me:
First was a religious aspect with the Carpenter representing Jesus. Carroll was a reverend after all, so it would be almost impossible to not have that influence emerge in his work. The Walrus could represent gluttony (a mortal sin) and the fact that they walked together could be interpreted as the good and evil within man. This could have been commentary on a number of things ranging from organized religion doing bad things to people (think of the Walrus and the Carpenter being a priest and the young oysters being altar boys…gross, but it DID happen) all the way over to the class system in place. Perhaps Carroll wanted to make comment on how the rich can easily lead the lower class astray, I can’t say for sure.
Maybe there was a warning in place and that warning was to children to not trust anyone. The old oyster knew something was afoot, so he remained in the oyster bed while the younger ones happily went along with them and it didn’t end well. One could go as far as to say this was a warning to others to stay away from Carroll himself as there is speculation of some inappropriate and unnatural attractions held by him. Again, all around creepy, just like the poem.