The Enigmatic Toves: A Closer Look at Their Defining Traits


Could you elucidate the distinguishing features that are typical of Toves?


Carroll describes Toves as “slithy,” suggesting they are lithe and flexible creatures, possibly slimy in texture. They also “gyre,” meaning they spiral or rotate, which could imply a corkscrew-like movement.

Borogoves and Mome Raths Outgrabe:

The Toves are mentioned alongside other fantastical creatures like Borogoves and Mome Raths, adding to the whimsical nature of their environment. The phrase “mome raths outgrabe” further paints a picture of a vibrant ecosystem where Toves may interact with or avoid these other beings.


Toves are said to live in an area called the “wabe,” which Carroll explains as the grassy plot around a sundial. This suggests they may prefer open, sunny areas.


While not much is detailed about their behavior, the act of gyring and gimbling (making holes) in the wabe implies they are active and possibly industrious creatures.

Physical Appearance:

Carroll’s own illustrations depict Toves as somewhat reptilian with a long neck and sharp snout, bearing a resemblance to badgers or lizards.

In summary, while Toves are a product of Carroll’s vivid imagination, we can infer that they are slithy, gyring creatures, possibly resembling a cross between a lizard and a badger, that inhabit sunny, grassy areas and engage in curious behaviors like gimbling in the wabe. Their role in “Jabberwocky” serves to evoke wonder and stimulate the imagination, typical of Carroll’s literary style.

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