Well, I’ve read the column on it, and it’s wonderful in answering.
Yet…there’s one small problem, with the provided answers and with the author’s own attempt at an answer.
It seems that the answers are aimed more at HOW a raven is like a writing desk.
It doesn’t say WHY a raven is like a writing desk. Much akin to saying “How are you going to ties your shoes?” “Why are you going to tie your shoes?”
Two entirely different things. If the raven is going to be compared to the writing desk, that’s all grand and all, but WHY is the raven like a writing desk? That, is a little snag that can usually just be trod over with “Why and how are much the same thing.” Yet to that I answer: Why and how may be very similar to the point of being almost the same, yet they are NOT the same.
So you see, the answers have been being provided, and have been done quite well…but they are answering the wrong question! :eek:
There are at least four different gross meanings of “why” in English:[ol]
[li]What is the physical cause?[/li][li]What is the psychological motivation?[/li][li]What is the logical antecedent?[/li][li]What is the moral justification?[/li][/ol]
I thought that the column was quite clear: There is no answer. The whole riddle was a joke!
Riddles were popular in England at the time Alice in Wonderland was written and could be found all over. The whole point of this riddle is that the Mad Hatter, who asked, didn’t know the answer. It’s as if the Hatter was asking a legitimate question (like if he asked “What’s the capital of England”) and not some child’s riddle.
As Cecil pointed out, those who couldn’t get the joke made up their own answers. So, if you don’t like their “How” answers, make up your own “Why” answer, and let us know.
Skarath is right of course…but it is too tempting… so some more answers:
a) Ravens are reknowned fancy flyers, writing desks are where flights of fancy are recorded.
b) the Norse god Odin had two raven companions named ‘Forethought’ and ‘Memory’. Forethought and memory are deployed by a writer working at his desk.
c) You can find examples of both in the Tower of London.