The Appearance of Archetypes in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass


  • Jennifer Reiten University of Wisconsin-Superior
  • Hilary Fezzey University of Wisconsin-Superior



Jung, Carroll, Archetype, Alice, Looking-Glass


I researched what insight could be gained about the archetypes (images, color, characters) represented in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass (1871) by analyzing these archetypes from the perspective of Carl Jung (1875-1961), an important figure in the field of psychoanalysis and an understudied theorist in the psychological scholarship written about Carroll’s works. Jung’s concepts of archetypes and the collective unconscious in particular offer a fruitful way to interpret Carroll’s work. Using a Jungian psychological perspective, my essay argues that archetypes of water, the quest, the trickster, and the wise old man are present in this story, and then I outline their ultimate purpose. Through the Looking-Glass is a timeless tale that many scholars throughout history have analyzed in a variety of ways. As of today, there are over 200 scholarly articles on Carroll’s works. Some scholars have researched the publication and/or translation history of Carroll’s works, about which there is vast information. Many scholars have gone with the New Historicist approach, the most popular approach by far when it comes to Carroll’s works. Other scholars combine the New Historicist and psychological approaches or research Carroll’s works from a philosophical approach. Additionally, scholars analyze Carroll’s works from a psychological stance, the second most common approach. Though the psychological approach is a fairly common one, most scholars have chosen to emphasize Sigmund Freud’s theories instead of Jung’s. There are very few scholarly studies on Carroll’s works that employ a Jungian approach. Thus, my essay enhances the psychological scholarship on the novel. To further my findings and increase my understanding of Carroll, Jung, and their works, I read Through the Looking-Glass, a biography on Lewis Carroll, research about Victorian England, multiple books written by Jung regarding his theories of the collective unconscious, and a lot of the scholarship written about the novel.


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Author Biographies

Jennifer Reiten, University of Wisconsin-Superior

I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Superior with a major in English and a minor in Writing.

Hilary Fezzey, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Associate Professor of English



How to Cite

Reiten, J., & Fezzey, H. (2018). The Appearance of Archetypes in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. Journal of Student Research.