Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Today I have mostly been cleaning up my house, or watching old favourite films... now, due to my lack of bandwidth, this is actually only a grand total of two - Babe and The Last Unicorn. Both these films almost make me cry at certain points and make me laugh out loud in others, they're both brilliant and have a wonderful set of characters

As I'm now watching The Last Unicorn, one of the characters is foxed by the famous Lewis Carroll riddle from Alice in Wonderland, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

The answer Lewis Carroll gave was that; "they both produce a few notes, all very flat, and are almost never turned the wrong way front."

I had to do a search for this and when I came across it I was a little stumped... fortunately, the same site gave one person's explanation:

"they both produce a few notes" - ravens don't have much variety in their songs and people use desks to write (paper) notes as well.
"all very flat" - what could be flatter than a piece of paper? And ravens' songs are apparently rather flat-sounding.
"and are almost never turned the wrong way front" - a desk is useless if it's faced the wrong way, because you can't sit there. "raven" spelt backwards is "nevar", and thus "raven" is almost "never" turned the wrong way front.

I had come across this last bit before during a brief study of the author himself in an English Language class, which is why I wanted to look it up, since I couldn't remember the exact answer. However, it is further said that there is no real answer for the question, but many ideas have been created by those people who think too hard, such as "Poe wrote on both" and "One is a rest for pens, the other is a pest for wrens" - both of which I'm more likely to remember than the one I was first told...

So, now you know and can confuse your friends by actually giving an answer from Mr Carroll himself, or even from the many enthusiasts who think about riddles way too hard. I find his Alice books and the movies that have been spawned from them very amusing... infact, I wish I could download them now...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?