One of the joys of fiction is being able to identify with the characters. When we recognize similarities between ourselves and the the hero or heroine of a novel or a movie, we can enjoy the thrill of living vicariously through them.
But sometimes we find characteristics we’d rather not share. No one wants to watch Glenn Close boil the bunny in Fatal Attraction and have a friend or family member say, “Wow, that reminds me of you!” Such is the case with the Queen of Hearts in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
As a child, the Queen distressed me. Her penchant for ordering random beheadings frightened me. Reading it again as a grown woman, I cringe every time she appears in a scene.
If “literary nonsense” can have a villainess, the Queen is it. But she’s not the usual villainess. She’s not a witch, or a puppy-napper, or a stalker. No, it’s worse. The Queen exhibits the kind of negative behavior we’re all susceptible to from time to time.
1. She’s reactionary, not responsive.
“May it please your Majesty, said Two, in a very humble tone, going down on one knee as he spoke, “we were trying–“
“I see!” said the Queen, who had meanwhile been examining the roses. “Off with their heads!”
When situations arise, with my husband or my children, or at work or at church, do I REACT, or do I RESPOND? A response implies thought and consideration. A reaction simply happens, there’s no self-control involved. The worst reactions usually come from our mouth, like the Queen, whose answer for nearly everything is “Off with his head!”
We live in a reactionary culture these days, where we have the ability to voice our thoughts and opinions on any subject, anywhere, within seconds of its occurrence. And react we do, often without checking sources or weighing the potential consequences of our words or actions. James admonishes us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath (excitement of mind).” How applicable those words are still, 2000 years later!
2. She’s completely irrational.
“No, no!” said the Queen. “Sentence first–verdict afterwards.”
This goes with the first trait. None of her actions make sense. In Spock’s words, “that’s illogical.” Solomon put it this way: “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” Prov 11:22 NIV
I’m irrational sometimes. I chalk it up to heightened emotions, wayward hormones, and ingrained behaviors carried over from past experiences. But justifying those irrational behaviors and reactions doesn’t make them permissible. The most rational, logical Being in the universe is with me, in me, at all times, guiding me, teaching me, revealing truth and wisdom if I’ll just slow down long enough to look and listen.
3. She inspires fear instead of respect.
“How do you like the Queen?” said the Cat in a low voice.
“Not at all,” said Alice: “she’s so extremely–” Just then she noticed that the Queen was close behind her, listening: so she went on “–likely to win, that it’s hardly worthwhile finishing the game.”
This might be the worst trait of all. Though you may or may not be a CEO, or a teacher, or a parent, every person has a place of influence in the lives of others. Your words and actions have an influence, or effect, on the people you are connected to in life.
Are they afraid of you? Afraid to “cross” you for fear of retribution? Unsure what to expect–acceptance or rejection–when they approach you? Do you use threats of punishment or paybacks to control the behavior of the people around you?
“You masters, act on the same [principle] toward them and give up threatening and using violent and abusive words, knowing that He Who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no respect of persons (no partiality) with Him.” Eph 6:9 AMP
There are characters we seek to emulate, but the Queen of Hearts is a character we can all choose to avoid.
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- Watch This: Alice in Wonderland (The 1903 Version) (cinematical.com)