Lewis Carroll Writing Styles in Jabberwocky

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Any song that tells a story is a ballad. Originally intended for singing, ballads became "poetry" when the English poet Sir Walter Scott began collecting them to write down so they would not be forgotten. This is a typical form for stories about knights, which "Jabberwocky" purports to be, although it is considered a literary ballad, to be read rather than sung.

The ballad-stanza is usually four lines rhymed abcb, in which the lines have a syllable pattern of 8, 6, 8, 6. Note how the third, fifth, and sixth stanzas of the poem follow this rhyme scheme, with the others rhyming abab.

Carroll also plays with the syllable pattern, with each of the first three lines of a stanza having eight syllables and the last line six, except in the third stanza, where it might be said that the third line "borrows" a syllable from the last line. The effect of the...

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This section contains 413 words
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Poetry for Students
Jabberwocky from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.