Day #106: Impie Tames the Lions

"Little Nemo in Slumberland" dated October 20, 1907:

Transcript of Tweets by @LittleNemo1905 (SEPTEMBER 10, 2020):

Has there been an animal more prominently depicted in #LittleNemo than the lion? Maybe the elephant, but lions just really stand out in my mind… - 1/19

Directly continuing from the events of last strip, Nemo, Flip, and Impie complete their massive climb only to find themselves face-to-face with three male lions who are all too eager to pounce! - 2/19

As (I think) has been a pretty constant trend with the lion depictions, they are all male. This seems like something that would happen in the unconscious mind of a little boy as it conjures up dreamstuff, even if it makes little zoological sense… - 3/19

One of the most important questions that I have about this strip is whether or not Nemo, Flip, and Impie have, since climbing the mountain side, returned to normal-size? - 4/19

I think this has important implications… did the trio GROW when they emerged from the forest chased away by the red-giants? Or is the city they recently destroyed naturally SMALL? - 5/19

I think the latter explanation makes the most sense, but this is a dreamscape and I'm not sure that "sense" is the best criteria by which to judge moments of surreality such as this. It's failed us in the past, though it seems safe here, I think. - 6/19

One of the other elements of surreality that stood out to me last strip, but that I didn't mention because I wasn't exactly sure what it was communicating, was the shifting colour of the rockface and ground at the top. - 7/19

I'm still not sure what it's communicating, but I'm wondering if it might have something to do with where they're going… - 8/19

In the next strip, the "rock" walls will slowly transform into what seems to be crystals… if the rockface that the trio has just climbed up is also a type of crystal, then the colour shifting would align well to that reading. - 9/19

I like this reading because it demonstrates the type of negotiating and re-negotiating of meaning making that occurs as we continue to read these more serialized moments within #LittleNemo. - 10/19

Though a 1907 reader wouldn't quite understand this rock/crystal interpretation yet, by the time they finish the next strip, they could re-negotiate their understanding of the past two strips in light of the new information. - 11/19

Again, this is just *one* potential interpretation, but I am personally fond of it for this reason. - 12/19

Finally, I think it's important to discuss the quiet prejudice that is revealed through Impie's ability to speak with the lions. - 13/19

We've spent much time discussing the negatives of Impie's caricature, and, in this moment, we're again reminded of Impie's position as "Other". - 14/19

As a previous inhabitant of the Candy Islands, Impie is given the ability to speak to the lions and is actually the reason that the trio aren't pounced right back down the gorge they just climbed out of. - 15/19

Though this gives Impie a leading role, it's one that is stereotypical of his position as a jungle imp. The insinuation is that his value stems from being able to communicate with the beasts, not the other "cultured" characters (to whom he cannot/does not communicate). - 16/19

That said, Flip and Nemo trust in Impie's expertise and follow along without hesitation. This does, at least partially, signal their recognition of what he can offer to the group. They don't fight with him about the danger, but simply "take [his] word" that its safe. - 17/19

I'm not sure that it makes up for the prejudice of the stereotyped assumption, but, it's worth noting. - 18/19

This is my reading of "Little Nemo in Slumberland" #106. What's yours? - 19/19