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The Crocodile - Delightful Short Poem by Lewis Carroll

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Introduction to ‘The Crocodile’ by Lewis Carroll

'The Crocodile' is a delightful and brief poem. It was first published in Lewis Carroll's work Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, and is also known as 'How Doth the Little Crocodile.' In chapter two, Alice reads a poem. This poem came to her thoughts as she was trying to remember another, Isaac Watts' 'Against Idleness and Mischief.'

Carroll allowed the crocodile's virtues to shine through in his storey "The Crocodile." These characteristics, as well as cunning, deception, and predation, are central to the poem and the novel in which it was written.

Let us hum every line of the poem and understand the meaning of ‘The Crocodile’ in this article.

Poem: The Crocodile by Lewis Caroll

Let us look at the poem here.

How doth the little crocodile

Improve his shining tail,

And pour the waters of the Nile

On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin!

How neatly spread his claws,

And welcomes little fishes in

With gently smiling jaws!

– Lewis Carroll

The Crocodile

The Crocodile

Structure of the Poem: The Crocodile

'The Crocodile,' by Lewis Carroll, is a two-stanza poem divided into quatrains (groups of four lines). The rhyming structure for these quatrains is ABAB CDCD. The lines are also around the same length, with alternating margins that correspond to the rhyming system.

Starting with line one of the first stanza, odd-numbered lines feature four groups of two beats each line. The first is unaffected by stress, while the second is affected by it. Starting with line two of the first stanza, the same may be said for the even-numbered lines. There are three sets of two beats in each line, for a total of six syllables.

Since this work was written for a younger audience, the lines' sing-song rhythm is perfect. Carroll uses this pattern to make the words more enjoyable to read and listen to. It also aids to hold a child's attention for a longer period of time. Carroll uses the comical aspect of the poem to make it more appealing to children. The poem's events should be relatable to the child who hears or reads it. It is most known for its inclusion in Lewis Carroll's beloved work Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Analysis of the Poem: The Crocodile

Stanza 1

The speaker of 'The Crocodile,' in the first verse, draws the reader's attention to "the little crocodile." As the second stanza will reveal, this description does not do the appropriate justice for the creature. It portrays him as little, unthreatening, and inoffensive, but this is not the reality.

The crocodile has taken on a life of its own. He makes the decision to "improve his shining tail" by waving it through the Nile River's waters. This enhances its shine and highlights the "gold" on each scale.

Stanza 2

The speaker discloses in the second verse of 'The Crocodile' that the beast is not only enjoying the water but is also hunting. As he "spreads his claws," he looks to "smile" cheerfully. He captures the fish in his "gently smiling jaws," as though bringing them in for a hug. It's amazing how adjectives like "gently" and "smiling" are combined with "jaws" and "claws." It gives the impression that the crocodile is cunning and clever.

Summary of ‘The Crocodile’

Lewis Carroll's poem 'The Crocodile' speaks about a crocodile who draws fish invisibly and then takes them with a huge smile on his face.

This poem walks the reader through some of the characteristics that one specific crocodile exhibits. Among them are deception and cunning. He smiles, relaxes in the sun, washes his scales, and expands his claws as though welcoming fish into his arms.

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FAQs on The Crocodile - Delightful Short Poem by Lewis Carroll

1. What is the poem ‘The Crocodile’ all about?

A little crocodile is described by the poet. He wonders how the crocodile improves the appearance of its tail by pouring water from the Nile River on its scales, which makes it shine like gold.

2. Why does he welcome little fishes?

The fishes are hungry and the crocodile wants to feed them. That’s why he welcomes them.