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The Wasp is a character created for Through the Looking Glass, and Where Alice Found There in the removed, "The Wasp in a Wig" episode.

Description[]

The Wasp in a Wig was subject of an unused chapter or portion of Through the Looking Glass. On the 1 June of 1870, illustrator Sir John Tenniel wrote Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) saying, "I am bound to say that the ''wasp chapter doesn't interest me in the least, and I can't see my way to a picture. If you want to shorten the book, I can't help thinking – with all submission – that there is your opportunity". One theory regarding the nature of the chapter is that it may have been a play on the English expression, "To have a bee in one's bonnet", meaning to repeatedly talk or think about a subject.

Alleged text[]

In 1974, alleged gallery proofs of The Wasp in a Wig chapter were sold at Sotheby's with the catalogue description, " the proofs were bought at the sale of the author's…personal effects…Oxford, 1898". The text of the chapter within was included in Martin Gardner's More Annotated Alice (1990) and often has its imagery used as short-hand for the Wasp character, depicting it as a large gentleman wasp in a powdered-wig. However, the authenticity of the chapter has been called into question; with some citing how the chapter has weaker quality than the rest of the book (namely its awkwardly paced dialogue, poetry, and often feeling as if it is imitating other portions of the story) as evidence for it likely not being authentic, though this diminished quality could also be interpreted as the cause for why it was omitted. There are also questionable claims regarding the sales which transpired at its auction, and Dodgson's family had apparently no knowledge of the sold episode.

This episode depicts the Wasp as being an old man, complaining about his stiff bones and neck. Alice asks him to express his issues in rhyme, to which he responds,

When I was young, my ringlets waved

And curled and crinkled on my head:
And then they said ‘You should be shaved,
And wear a yellow wig instead.’

But when I followed their advice,
And they had noticed the effect,
They said I did not look so nice
As they had ventured to expect.

They said it did not fit, and so
It made me look extremely plain:
But what was I to do, you know?
My ringlets would not grow again.

So now that I am old and grey,
And all my hair is nearly gone,
They take my wig from me and say
‘How can you put such rubbish on?’

And still, whenever I appear,
They hoot at me and call me ‘Pig!’
And that is why they do it, dear,
Because I wear a yellow wig

The Wasp proceeds to harass Alice for the shape of her jaws and how they must not be good for biting anything. After Alice protests, she leaves, satisfied that she made the old Wasp feel better.

Other appearances[]

Alice through the Looking Glass (1998 film)[]

The Wasp appeared in this film, portrayed by Ian Richardson and depicted as an old human man in a suit.

Alice: Madness Returns[]

Several anthropomorphic wasps appeared as enemies of Alice in Oriental Grove, though lacking wigs and based on samurais. There are two variants, the Daimyo Wasps, and Samurai Wasps.

Gallery[]

References[]

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