Key Difference – Raven vs Writing Desk
The riddle of ‘why is a raven like a writing desk?’ has perplexed and aroused the curiosity of so many readers. To many this might seem like a ridiculous question, but those who have seen the movie Alice in Wonderland will appreciate and understand what I mean. In the legendary novel by the same name written by Lewis Carroll, Hatter the rabbit poses this famous riddle– Why is a Raven like a writing desk? Audiences kept waiting to get the answer till the end of the movie, but they got none.
Later in the movie, Hatter asked Alice if she has guessed the answer to the riddle to which Alice replied that she did not have the slightest of idea. To this Hatter said that even he does not know the answer to this riddle. Now comes the surprising piece of information. Even the writer of the novel had no answer to the riddle as it was merely presented in the form of a nonsensical riddle. He was asked so much about this riddle later on that he finally answered 31 years later in 1896. Carroll wrote, “Because it can produce a few notes though they were very flat, and it is a nevar put with the wrong end in front. This is however as an afterthought; the riddle as originally invented had no answer at all”. Although in Carroll’s original preface the word ‘never’ was spelled as ‘nevar’ (raven backwards) this was lost in proofreading and was corrected as ‘never’.
Carroll is not the only one to have come up with an answer; there are others who have come up with ingenious answers to this riddle. Among the best answers is “because Poe wrote on both”. This was obviously in reference to Edgar Allen Poe as he wrote the famous poem ‘The Raven’, and he wrote on a writing desk, as writers tend to do. Some other answers to the riddle are ‘they both come with inky quills’ and also ‘they both stand on sticks’. However, your answer does not have to conform with these ideas presented by others as answers to this famous riddle.
What is the Difference Between a Raven and a Writing Desk?
Definitions of Raven and Writing Desk:
Raven: A raven is a bird.
Writing Desk: A writing desk is used by writers or any individual for the purpose of writing.
Characteristics of Raven and Writing Desk:
Through the riddle of the Mad Hatter, a connection between the raven and the writing desk is highlighted. This riddle is interpreted in different ways by different people as they attempt to provide possible answers. The writer Lewis Carroll’s answer is as follows.
- ‘Because it can produce a few notes though they were very flat, and it is a nevar put with the wrong end in front.’
Others however have presented different answers to the riddle such as;
- Because Poe wrote on both.
- They both come with inky quills and also
- They both stand on sticks.
1. John Tenniel- Alice’s mad tea party, colour By John Tenniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2. “Corvus corax (Common Raven), Yosemite NP, CA, US – Diliff” by Diliff – Own work. [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons