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Why is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?

A raven.
One creative answer to "why is a raven like a writing desk" is they both come with inky quills.
Lewis Carroll never intended an answer to the question of why a raven is like a writing desk.
The raven-writing desk riddle hails from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
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The answer to this famous riddle is, of course, that neither one is made of cheese.

Actually, this riddle is designed to be nonsensical, and according to its author, Lewis Carroll, he never intended for there to be any real answer to the question: “why is a raven like a writing desk?” The entire point of the riddle is that it has no answer, although numerous people have come up with creative interpretations of the riddle.

This question is posed in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in a scene with Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Dormouse at the famous Tea Party. Alice is informed that riddles are being exchanged, and the Mad Hatter asks “why is a raven like a writing desk?” The guests attempt to puzzle the riddle out, and several pages later, the Hatter admits “I haven't the slightest idea.” The scene is meant to illustrate the topsy-turvy world into which Alice has fallen, with the whole book illustrating how confusing the adult world seems to children. When Alice asks about why they are wasting their time with riddles which have no answer, she's really asking a larger question about adults.

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In an introduction to a later edition of the book, Lewis Carroll addressed the issue, saying “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front!” In the original preface, “never” was spelled “nevar,” which is “raven” backward. Carroll's pun was unfortunately lost to the red pen of a proofreader, confusing the issue of the riddle even further.

A number of people have come up with creative answer to “why is a raven like a writing desk.” The answer “Poe wrote on both” is popular, as is “they both stand on sticks” and “they both come with inky quills.” One wit responded with “because there is a B in both and an N in neither,” an answer which was meant to highlight the absurdity of the original question. (Saying it aloud might make it clearer.)

The answer to the question of is largely up to you. Many people like to come up with absurdist answers to the question, turning the strange riddle back on itself. Admitting that you have no idea is, the classic response, and the response given in the original text. However, you should certainly not allow tradition to dictate the answer, as that would spoil all the fun.

Incidentally, the correct format for the riddle is "why is a raven like a writing desk," not "how is a raven like a writing desk," contrary to any misprints you may have seen.

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cement
Post 238

The difference is one.

anon966566
Post 237

Why is a raven like a writing desk? Because that which is never backward is always forwards, and a raven is nevar backward, and a writing desk is always for words.

If you knew a little bit about Carroll's habit of feeding out teasing clues bit by bit, you’d know that Carroll’s statement that the riddle was not intended to have an answer was very similar in form to other little games he played.

For those of you who are not familiar with the statement, it’s in the form of “no meaning was originally intended, but if it was, hint, hint, and hint”.

I’m paraphrasing here, but I truly believe that if Carroll hadn’t died so soon after making the statement, he would have given us more clues until someone finally came up with the answer. – Mary H.

anon956506
Post 236

I prefer Stephen King's answer from The Shining: The higher you go, the less of them there are.

anon954187
Post 235

Because they both come with inky quills.

anon359711
Post 230

Lewis Carrol wants use to brain to think about, "why is a raven like a writing desk ? " Their really is no real answer to this question; it is as simple as that. But people insist on coming up with their own replies to this question. My response to the question, you ask? Well it is, "I have not the slightest idea." It is as simple as that.

anon341162
Post 229

To me, the question is just a pleasant sounding string of words.

anon332688
Post 228

They do not mix well with water.

anon308957
Post 225

They both make loud creaking noises.

anon308822
Post 224

Because there are no answers, there are infinite answers. Paradox!

anon306216
Post 222

Both are often mistaken for their counter, a raven for a crow, and a writing desk for a office desk or such.

anon292044
Post 220

They are both the cause of much scratching.

anon291339
Post 219

More than half of you completely missed the point of the book and the article.

The "riddle" was a satirical attempt by Lewis Carroll stating that adults should stop wasting time trying to answer questions with no answers and instead focus on more important things.

anon291129
Post 218

I know there's no need for a response but I had a thought as well. Back in old times before email and even mail carriers, ravens brought letters and information to people on routes I believe. Each raven traveled specific routes and carried letters or small scrolls. So a writing desk helps carry or allow information to be copied or written down/delivered through other means. And a raven would deliver information or copied information to another person/to other means also.

anon263319
Post 217

Why is a raven like a writing desk? Because both are full of mystery, they are both ominous in that you have no idea what's coming. Plus the Poe thing.

ChanDawn
Post 215

In disagreement with the article, I think that one can assume that Alice is a pre-teen or even a young teen always being told what to doM how to live and so on, she hates it and like Dorothy and Oz, Alice longs for something different -- A place where she will fit in because no one expects anything of anyone and what you do expect is never so and vice versa. In a sense, she gets what she asked for, only to find that it's not what she wanted at all. So her trip to Wonderland causes the realization that she is prepared to be rational and conform to societal expectations for fear of finding herself as Mad as a Hatter.

If Wonderland is what she created in her mind, then a riddle would be a serious question. Since a serious question warrants a serious answer, then the answer should be nonsense. The only answer that makes sense and no sense is: Because in your mind it is so!

anon239743
Post 214

I think you are all looking backward at a forward question. It is childhood that Alice finds is nonsensical and thereby takes her first steps into adulthood after her visit to Wonderland.

In the beginning, she says that if the world were her way than all the things that were would not be and contrariwise, how they weren't they would be. So the obvious answer is that a raven is not like a writing desk because if it were, then it wouldn't be.

anon216852
Post 212

Did any of you actually read the article? I think not because all you are posting is what is written in the article.

anon212420
Post 211

"Why is a writing desk like a raven?"

Take that, Lewis Carroll! Hope that question makes you turn in your grave just the way your riddle makes me turn in my bed!

anon193117
Post 210

Why is a raven like a writing desk? Because Edgar Ellen Poe wrote on both of them.

anon189452
Post 209

why is a raven like a writing desk? because neither one can write.

think about it. have you ever seen a desk writing, or a raven writing? no, and you'll never see a cigar box, or a horsefly, or a rubber band, etc. all very silly ideas/definitions/concepts.

and a silly answer to a silly riddle in a silly story that i have loved since forever.

anon183423
Post 208

Just a quick thought on my part: If I understand correctly, the question is, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" This means that Carrol wanted to know for what reason the are alike not which characteristics do they share. This can be answered by from 2 points of view. 1. (child asking the question) Because I said so. It doesn't matter than none of this makes sense to you. It simply is because I say so. 2. (adult asking the question) Because God made it so. We can't change what simply is no matter how little sense it makes to us.

manchwr
Post 207

"Because it is difficult to find a good specimen of either."

dickens
Post 205

Because I'm sure they both long to be red.

anon172030
Post 204

because when you burn both they will be nevermore.

anon168678
Post 203

there really is only one answer: that it doesn't have one. It's as simple as that. You're not stupid to believe this. Maybe he just wrote the riddle to cause confusion, because as others have said "humanity always has to have an answer," but really what do we do when there is no answer? we force one on to others. so just go with the simple idea of, well, not having an answer.

anon164656
Post 201

Poster 107: and all you other people who were calling anybody who replied, "Because Poe writes/wrote on both" dimwits, stupid, 'utterly American' (ex-cuse me? well, it's like me telling me that's 'utterly British of you'. (Doesn't make much sense, does it?) need to get your facts straight before you say something that is actually a very wise answer, and just accept the fact that there is no true answer to this question. There are many.

Edgar Allan Poe, born January 19, 1809, died October 7, 1849. To cut to the chase, he was a famous author, who wrote a poem called 'The Raven'. Obviously, being in the time frame he was in, he didn't write his works on a wall, iphone, or laptop computer. He wrote it on a writing desk.

You see? Poe wrote about a raven, and he wrote *on* a writing desk. Poe writes on both. Ta-da!

anon163943
Post 200

To number 154: We are not dimwits thank you. They are just trying to find a conclusion. And technically it is humanly impossible to prove another wrong, as in the word butterfly. The word butterfly was originally supposed to be flutterby but there was a typo when it was being put into the dictionary. So as I said, you can't prove that they are wrong.

I like the answer. I haven't the slightest idea. Ps. I'm eleven.

anon161024
Post 199

In relation to this riddle, a raven is like a writing desk because there are never any answers.

If you look at the riddle, and the information surrounding it, "there is no answer" is what you get every time.

Therefore, a raven and a writing desk are akin to each other because you can ask either as many questions in as many ways as you like, but neither will ever be able to provide you the answer.

anon159800
Post 198

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

They both hurt your hand if you hit em' with it.

OK, pretty bad, but hey, it was created by Lewis Carrol. It's going to be.

anon159133
Post 197

Caroll answered this question in a preface actually. It wasn't meant to be answered. He did, however, give an afterthought: "Because both produce notes and both are very flat."

Another common answer is, "Because Poe wrote on both of them."

anon156302
Post 195

They both make notes that are flat. (i got it from a friend).

anon155498
Post 194

It just occurred to me that a raven and a writing desk both collect shiny objects. Poor answer but it tickled me. --AGF

anon149684
Post 192

I've just been reading all these comments and had to say something: I don't think there is a answer, and that is the point of the riddle. The mad hatter is very mad and if you asked 'why is the mad hatter mad?' then the answer would have to be 'because he is.' If you asked 'why is the white rabbit always late?' There is no precise reason -- just because he is. There's no point going into the question so much so you get yourself confused about it all. So if there ever was an answer it would be simply 'Because it is'. Hope this helped.

anon149612
Post 191

They both tender the imagination.

anon148580
Post 190

There should really be no answer to this riddle.

and I think it should remain to be a mystery to everyone - just like a wonderland that is full of mysteries. -Ches.

anon148491
Post 189

As my friend Chuck Bridges puzzled and concluded, "One supports opinion and the other is supported by a pinion!" Give him a few drinks and he will solve the world's problems. Thanks, Chuck!

anon145133
Post 187

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Because when you have a group of either it's murder!

anon145105
Post 186

that quote has nothing to do with Edgar Allen Poe. yes he wrote a poem called the raven. but that quote is based on something else.

anon144496
Post 185

Edgar Allan Poe is the answer a friend told me.

anon143900
Post 184

a dead man sits on one the other sits in a dead man -- from a book lewis enjoyed

anon143797
Post 182

Because they both have inky quills.

anon140641
Post 181

Another answer could be: 'They both produce a flat note' As in when the Raven crows and a note being paper written on the desk.

anon138723
Post 180

Because they both don't think.

anon137674
Post 179

why is it? because if it wasn't it wouldn't be as entertaining to see people fight about it.

anon135704
Post 177

Riddle: Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Answer: The answer for me is that it is like the answer. The answer that some people say is, "I haven't the slightest idea." The answer is like life, the riddle has no answer and no one can figure out what the real answer is really going to be. It is like life because it is like before your death, you don't have an answer to how you are going to die and no one can figure out what the real answer really is.

anon135402
Post 176

They both devour you.

anon135275
Post 175

# 107: Poe wrote on a raven in a different sense than writing on a desk. He wrote on the topic of a raven in his poem, "The Raven."

However, as this answer can be fit to make sense, I believe that it is incorrect. The whole point, in my opinion, is that there was never meant to be an answer, because, like it or not, the riddle isn't a question. It is a statement. A statement about how truly ridiculous people are, needing to have an answer to everything, when in reality there is no answer to everything. People cannot accept that it just is what it is.

anon135273
Post 174

To number 128: That must be the answer!

anon135134
Post 173

Ever since I heard that quote in the new Disney version, I thought it was an allusion to Poe. I'm a fan of his so naturally I would think of him when "raven" and "writing desk" are put in the same sentence.

anon134461
Post 172

Why is a raven like a writing desk you may ask?

Well my answer is that they both don't exist. Mind blown? Let's go further: they both don't exist but neither do we. The world as you know it will fall apart upon reading the above.

anon132641
Post 170

To 158: The author used a mad hatter to assist in signifying how strange the adult world is to a child. The character of the Mad Hatter was based on a common turn of phrase used during the time the book was written to describe the mental condition of a hat maker before they discovered that mercury, used in making hats in that time was toxic and could caused brain damage. Clock makers also had had a similar condition.

This was not a reference to Poe; it was an alliteration of the confusion of a child in an adult world, for those who missed the sedulity.

anon129224
Post 168

Because both can go far! a raven can fly far away and a writing desk can lead to a book which can get very popular. And if a child asked an adult this the answer would be because i said so.

anon128822
Post 167

It's simple. A raven, as an embodiment of both intrigue and some association with the dark, or death, is like a writing desk because approaching the creative process (i.e. sitting down to write) is very much the same way. Those who don't know this are simply not writers.

anon128611
Post 166

number 85, an open window isn't at all open when the sign is flipped to the side that says closed.

anon127527
Post 165

poe wrote on both.

anon127405
Post 164

Not only are you all trying to answer a riddle that has no answer, but most of you are answering to "How is a raven like a writing desk?" instead of "Why?"

anon124683
Post 163

Q. Why is a raven like a writing desk?

A. I haven't the slightest idea

All these answers can be the right one which means the answer is whatever you can come up with and in fact there is no real right answer.

anon124202
Post 161

My brother told me this riddle a long time ago, and after a few days of bugging him for the answer, he said:

"A raven is like a writing desk because...

The higher the fewer." (which basically means that there is no real answer because everything gets fewer the higher you go up).

anon123972
Post 160

He, He. The real (19th century) answer is: because they both contain blackened quills! --Arapahoe

anon122035
Post 159

If Lewis Carroll - sorry, I meant Charles Dodgson- could see this page now, he would be so proud. He has achieved exactly what he set out to do: started a debate and made people laugh in the process. The answer to the riddle is, like it or not, irrelevant.

anon121351
Post 158

Edgar Allan Poe wrote "The Raven" on a writing desk. I believe that Lewis Carol used this riddle as a reference to Edgar Allan Poe, because Poe was a character who had always questioned whether or not he was "mad", much like the Hatter. --Jessica G.

anon119925
Post 156

On both are bills which cause (caws) concern.

Bows deeply.

anon119920
Post 155

I think a raven is like a writing desk because they make us ask so many questions!

Example: With a raven, you wonder about its past, where it has lived,how old is it and stuff like that.

Example: With a writing desk, you wonder who it was made by, where was is made, how many generations has it been passed down for and stuff like that. That is what i think, at least.

anon118835
Post 154

Good Lord. When did the world get so stupid? It's disconcerting enough that most of you fail to have even a rudimentary grasp of the English language, but the lack of sophistication evident in these posts is disheartening and conclusive proof that the world is populated by a bunch of dimwits. May Dodgson's ghost haunt you all. - The Dread Pirate Roberts

anon117680
Post 153

Because Poe wrote on both of them. ~NRG

anon117004
Post 152

Because they are both free. The raven is obviously a free being, and when someone writes what they are truly feeling, it can be the most freeing experience.

anon116162
Post 151

The answer is whatever you want it to be, and the point of the riddle is that there is no point, and that is what makes it brilliant. And if you think I'm mad, I am, but I'll let you in on a little secret: all the best people are.

anon115834
Post 150

i have the answer: because it was made to show how the mad hatter was freaking insane. he has these constant thoughts in his head and multiple personalities. he came up with a riddle that he himself kept looking for an answer then to realize there was no answer and he was mad "insane".

why is everyone still trying to come up with answers? the writer of the book said himself there is no answer to it. i don't get why you guys can't interpret this simple article.

anon115348
Post 149

why is a raven like a writing desk? It's simple, if you haven't noticed. Alice in Wonderland is all mad from the part when she falls in the rabbit hole so everything everybody says and does is mad. so simply the riddle is mad to fit in with the theme of the movie.

anon114972
Post 148

The answer is simple - both have a "B" and neither has an "N." Simple!

anon114855
Post 147

Has anyone else noticed that the riddle is asking why a raven is like a writing desk?

Working out how they are alike is just the first step.

And I very much like the idea of making up a riddle before the answer(s).

anon113746
Post 146

Because they both have legs (table legs and the legs of the writing desk). Although i have my own answer i like number 19's answer.

anon113620
Post 145

Because Lewis Carroll wanted us all to freak out about a little question.

In my opinion, there's lots of ways that they're similar, though. There doesn't have to be just one answer either, there can be millions. It's like asking someone, "What's your favorite color?" They may answer "salmon pink", "blue", "weasels start with M" or whatever takes their fancy for all I care.

anon113549
Post 144

whats cheese got to do with a raven and a writing desk?

anon113514
Post 143

-42-

that is the ultimate answer

anon113499
Post 142

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Because they both have legs.

That was my first thought of an answer to the question.

anon113364
Post 141

Actually, you are all incorrect and partially so is the description: Q: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"

A: "Careful, she's stark ravin' mad!"

It is the play on words of a writer and a creative reader to answer correctly. A writing desk could indeed seek plunder and prey as a 'raven' does. If you have ever had writers block where it felt like a pen weighed a ton and the desk held you captive or ever had to listen to a raven then you know that both situations could make you utterly, absolutely, or quite mad.

anon112588
Post 140

I guess the intention of Carroll was to show that adults sometimes say weird stuff or do weird things but later have no idea why they said or did.

The whole story of wonderland happens inside Alice's dream (The tea she drank was a drug of some kind that put her to sleep). Each character portrays someone in her life. But, as I guess, The Mad Hatter is a resemblance of all the adults in the world.

Well, after all they say "As mad as the hat is."

anon112157
Post 139

to answer this is easy. It's a trick. Edgar Allan poe wrote the raven on his first writing desk.

anon111886
Post 138

Why is a cat like a stool? Why is a dog like a mirror? Why is a bear like a shelf?

Why must there be an answer?

anon111763
Post 137

A raven is like a writing desk because the question makes us think of them both at the same time.

Of course, there are possibly thousands of answers, but the point is that there doesn't have to be an answer.

anon111704
Post 136

The first time i heard it i really wanted to know the answer but could not come up with one but then i turned 11 and figured it out it is like the tooth fairy; it is simply made up.

it is just a bunch of fibs, and lies that got created. both are true but who are we humans maybe animals to question god's will? who are we to do that? maybe when we die we could try to ask god. maybe he knows. i don't know. i am not dead yet but one day i will be.

anon110148
Post 135

The meaning of life. Like the question, has no answer. It's what you make of it. Do something profound.

anon109804
Post 134

A reason a raven is like a writing desk is that both can strike fear in the hearts of school-children around the world.

Another is the fact that both can be black.

But the fact that neither is made of cheese is clearly the answer we have been searching for all these years.

anon109553
Post 133

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

- they ran out of wood to build writing desks but had a rather strange surplus of ravens that they started using as building materials in woodwork class.

anon108525
Post 132

Tell you what, I'll ask my profoundly gifted 5 year old when he wakes up tomorrow morning and post what he says. I'm guessing he's going to say "that doesn't make any sense".

anon106981
Post 131

I have always thought it was because a raven is not like a writing desk and a writing desk is not like a raven and since they have something in common then a raven is like a writing desk. But that's just my answer.

anon106303
Post 130

To poster 107, Poe wrote on both is not as dumb as it seems. Poe would have written 'The Raven' at a writing desk, therefore 'Poe wrote on both' is not as dumb as it seems, because I seriously doubt Poe would have been writing 'The Raven' on his laptop at the bus station in London.

ShadowHunter
Post 129

You want my answer? Ok. My answer is simply: Because.

anon104480
Post 128

...because they both, like very small rocks, float! (Thank you...Monty P.)

anon103295
Post 127

Because they're a part of something unwelcome.

anon102459
Post 126

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Why is up, up and down, down? Why can't up be down and down be up? Why can't humanity understand the simplest things?

You are standing too close to the question. I know the answer.

anon101731
Post 125

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Well i believe the answer to this isn't necessarily the answer to the actual question. I think the answer is "Why does there have to be a correct answer?"

Every time I see this question I don't try to think of the "right or correct" answer, I think "Why is the question being asked?". This is when I began really thinking. I think of the question some more and funny images pop into my head. Maybe the raven isn't like a writing desk. Maybe our minds just want it to be.

"Why does there have to be an answer?" I ask myself, and it's because the adult world wants there to be. But if you ask a little kid, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?", one of two things will happen: the child will either be completely confused (in this case they are already consumed in the adult world) or the child will come up with, what to you might be a very ridiculous answer, but nonetheless an answer which will make sense in every way to them (in this case they are what we all used to be: innocent and open-minded). To them there is no reason why a raven is like a writing desk, it just is. And maybe that's just how it's supposed to be.

Why is a raven like a writing desk? Because it is.

anon101406
Post 124

why is a raven like a writing desk?

- they both hold quills.

- they both stand on legs.

i don't really know the answer. but there cannot be an answer to everything.

anon101164
Post 123

There are two answers. The more popular is, "Poe wrote on both."

My answer is, "Both are believed capable of bearing the soul of another."

anon100755
Post 120

a raven is like a writing desk simply because a glass of orange juice is like a shark.

anon100267
Post 119

Because they are both boring: a writing desk is boring because you work and write on it and a raven is boring because of its dull, black colour and they both sit there all day doing nothing!

anon99486
Post 118

There both make the "Ra" sound in the beginning. Your questions are answered.

anon99397
Post 116

This is a reference to Edgar Allen Poe and "The Raven". Look it up! --D.

anon99062
Post 114

Because you can put a raven in a desk, or a desk in a raven. Yet in both situations, the raven will die. Either from suffocation or forceful injury. I just came up with that.

anon98813
Post 113

I think it is because neither horses or rainbow fish are similar to the silver star of apple.

anon97718
Post 112

maybe, because they both sit on wood.

anon95914
Post 109

But because there is a question there must also be an answer, because there must be a yin if there is a yang. For everything must have a balance. otherwise there is chaos.

anon94999
Post 108

You cannot find the answer because there is none. More to the point, must people have an answer for everything?

or must everything have an answer? and the answer to that is, as long as there are humans, right or wrong, they will always have an answer.

anon94982
Post 107

What's with this poe thing? It seems to be the americans posting this which is weird because Lewis Carroll was British so I highly doubt he would use something american as the answer! What/who is poe? And how can you write on a raven? So "poe wrote on both" is a stupid and obviously wrong answer.

anon94934
Post 106

A raven is like a writing desk because a cat is like a stool.

anon94933
Post 105

Because they are both what they are, and neither is what it isn’t.

anon93854
Post 104

Because they both have inky quills, i guess.

anon93361
Post 103

a raven is like a writing desk because they both exist and...

anon93183
Post 102

Both are flammable.

anon92832
Post 101

Because they both taunt you, as does the riddle.

anon92597
Post 100

I've always said 'because poe wrote on both.' i actually had no idea what it was from, to be honest.

anon92481
Post 98

I'm not claiming to know the answer, as there are many possible answers. for the same reason, I'm not saying any of you are wrong. it's true that neither of them are made of cheese, poe did write on both and there truly is a "B" in 'both' and an "N" in 'neither' but I like my own answer better than these.

My answer is not to the original question, 'Why is raven like a writing desk' but to a re-interpretation. poster 31 re-interpreted the question as follows: why is a 'dark and beautiful creature' like the One that made it? to simplify that, why is the creation like its creator? or in what way is the raven like the one that wrote about it? (note, it's not "in what way" but "why").

My answer is a geeky one. because everybody puts aspects of themselves into many of their characters to make them easier to write. I also choose to interpret this as Lewis Carrol saying that he too is as mad as a hatter.

There are other ways I could interpret it, such as saying that the raven is choosing to be like a writing desk by mimicking it. I don't know why it would do that. I could also say that it says 'a writing desk' not 'any writing desk' and so the writing desk in question could be made of raven bones or something. absurd, but possible.

anon92399
Post 97

They're both 'black'

anon92269
Post 96

a raven is like a writing desk because they each produce notes but they are all flat.

i hope it helps.

anon91798
Post 95

Pondering upon this question I have actually come across an idea that holds true to the original answer of "I haven't the slightest". Perhaps the answer, in keeping with the original intentions is that it is never kissed, why a raven is like a writing desk. if this doesn't make sense then an easier way to look at it would be to read the sentence out loud.

anon91729
Post 94

because you can get a low note (musical) out of both.

anon91099
Post 93

Because it can produce a few notes, though. they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!" (Note the spelling of "never" as "never"—turning it into "raven" when inverted. This spelling, however, was "corrected" in later editions to "never" and Carroll's pun was lost.)

anon90753
Post 92

why don't you guys just not look for the answer!

be imaginative, and fun about it! create your own answer!

you guys think too deeply about this question.

it's just a question. i could say, how is a mirror like a dog? i would have no answer, and you guys would be trying to figure an answer out all day.

anon90742
Post 91

Response numbered "81" got it perfectly.

anon89449
Post 89

Why is a Raven like a writing desk? I have no idea. Have I gone mad? I'm afraid so, completely around the bend, but can I tell you a secret? All the best people are.

anon89444
Post 88

Because Poe wrote on both.

anon89439
Post 87

why is a raven like a writing desk? There is no answer.

anon89328
Post 86

a raven is like a writing desk because apparently it is. that's why.

anon89162
Post 85

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

The answer is "I haven't the slightest idea!" because the best answer is sometimes to admit that you didn't know and may never know.

The question simply unearths other questions.

When is an open window not at all open?

anon88579
Post 83

That is absurd. Ravens don't have thumbs.

Obviously, it's because they both have legs and feathers.

anon88547
Post 82

I know there isn't an answer or the answer is, "I haven't the slightest idea," but I think it would be cool if you replied a quote from X-Men:

"Why do you always ask questions you already know the answers to?"

Try it. You might just get the results you are supposed to. --ME

anon88372
Post 81

i think its original intention is a mockery of our need to have an answer to everything.

anon88043
Post 79

I'm not very sure if this is correct but if you watch the movie then you will see how later in the movie,after the mad hatter asks the question, when alice tries to find her way back, there is a raven using its beak as a pencil and writing on a desk.

There is also another one that i heard only once from someone: because there is a type of wood called raven wood often used to make desks!

anon87887
Post 78

Well you see if you spell them backward, each in turn, neither one can you discern.

anon87487
Post 75

it's not that hard, really. well, do they both tweet? no.

can you write on both? no.

well then they have absolutely nothing in common unless they are both very old and then they might just croak. But when you think about it for a really long time, you might come up with a different answer.

anon87288
Post 74

because poe wrote on both!

anon87210
Post 73

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

You may say because there is a B in both and an N in neither, but I say because i said so. owned. completely. by me.

P.S. in order to accept my answer you have to be as mad as a hatter

anon87164
Post 72

Where is this raven? He's got some explaining to do.

anon86200
Post 68

because a writing desk is made from wood which could be made from the type of wood called raven wood!

anon85808
Post 67

Because A raven is A bird. and a desk is a desk. so that makes no sense.

anon85652
Post 64

because one can communicate to the dead with either.

Ravens are known to be associated with death.

anon85287
Post 62

When is a door not a door?

When it's a writing desk.

anon84402
Post 58

Because as they both age, they lose their youth and luster and eventually fade away making use for the new.

As they age they lose what they had when they were younger, and become old and frail. This might be why Lewis Carrol (pardon any misspellings) said that he was talking about the confusing world of the adults, and how an innocent child might look at it.

I do not know why those above are posting comments on Poe and "The Raven" when the real question is not how it is similar to other works, but why is the raven like the writing desk.

anon84367
Post 57

Because you can baffle the billions with both.

anon84274
Post 56

They are both made of wood.

anon84075
Post 55

Because either can easily make you feel uncomfortable, even if it doesn't croak.

anon82965
Post 53

They can both produce excrement.

My answer is the right one because it is good.

But, yeah "the question was "why", not "in what way". To the why, I guess I'd answer with the question, "Why not?"

anon82776
Post 52

This raven is clearly not a raven at all but a writing desk. Ravens cannot be writing desks and thus writing desks cannot be ravens. If I were a raven i would want a simple life of a writing desk, if I was a writing desk I would want the exciting life of a raven.

The correct or "incorrect" answer as some would say, is that the raven and writing desk are envious of each other.

anon82083
Post 50

Because neither is freaking made of cheese! They already told you the answer!

anon81984
Post 49

Why is the raven like a writing desk? Well it is simple if we were supposed to know what it meant. wouldn't the answer have been revealed, and for that matter, why are all you people obsessing over finding the answer to something you will never understand?

anon81506
Post 47

Because they both stand on legs.

anon80566
Post 46

There is blood on both be it by the hand of a traitor upon shining wood or the meal of a raven on a beak as sharp as sword.

anon80433
Post 45

They are both brought into this world and they both can be taken out and they can cut you if you don't treat them well.

anon80335
Post 44

Because they both use quills.

anon79986
Post 42

Because ravens fly and the stuff you write at the desk flies with your imagination.

anon79638
Post 41

Because Poe wrote on both of them.

anon78936
Post 38

Because ravens are used to deliver messages like pigeons and you write letters on a writing desk so you send the letter that you wrote on the writing desk! see? it's along those lines2

anon78889
Post 37

The answer is obviously because they both are flat, hold quills, and most of all because they both stay still.

anon78623
Post 35

Who are we but simple humans?

Why must there be an answer or no answer?

Life is simply a perspective, an answer is only a part of your limited point of view, which all life is.

So 'Why is a raven like a writing desk?' I could certainly associate many connections to it, or take Charles 'original statement in there being none.

But perhaps the answer to the riddle is all of this.

chipmunk3
Post 34

why is a raven like a writing desk?

because it just is (and whoever asks that question is bonkers, mad like me)

anon78344
Post 33

of, there is no such thing as a murder of Ravens. It is a murder of crows, and an unkindness, or a congress of ravens.

anon78180
Post 32

because they both hold quills.

anon78076
Post 31

There are many interpretations and applications for this riddle. (the nonsensical riddle is a tool to make you think; kind of like algebra; and let us bear in mind that Carroll was a mathematician; who might use his ambiguous allusions to convey philosophical and theological conundrums). Lewis Carrol was known to use double, triple and quadruple meanings.

The application i see most overarchingly is perhaps an allusion to 'the problem of evil'. God is the creator; He also made the raven. Like the work of Poe, is not 'the raven' also a beautiful creature? God is good and not evil; though He created evil.

An implication here poses the question: Why is raven like a writing desk; why is a 'dark and beautiful creature' like the One that made it? Poe wrote on the desk; but why is the raven like the desk from which it was made?

The words of the riddle are intentionally unsound; like the raven that is (unlike the writing desk.

anon77558
Post 30

No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness.

anon77515
Post 29

because the raven wanted to be.

anon77165
Post 28

Because bills and tales (tails) are in their characteristics.

anon76649
Post 27

You all are missing the point of the riddle. The actual question is "Why is a raven like a writing desk?", suggesting that the raven chose to be different from the writing desk, not how. It is a question of intent not characteristics in common or differing. Why did the raven choose to be like, or different from, the writing desk?

anon76613
Post 25

They both mock. A raven will mock you, like in Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven', and a writing desk will mock you when you have writer's block. Clearly they both will mock you.

anon75795
Post 23

Because they both make notes, (songs...) and they are/can be a dark color? I have no clue!

anon75220
Post 22

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

I haven't the slightest idea.

anon74587
Post 21

the answer is obvious: they both have nothing to do with cheese!

anon74332
Post 19

because they both exist.

anon74112
Post 18

it has no answer. That's what it was meant for. The mad hatter, someone who was clearly insane and not thinking, asks alice this with no real expectation that she would get it anyway. i love the youngsters who think they know what is what and probably think that emo isn't the new goth.

anon73709
Post 16

I always thought it was because "They both lead to murder" as in the Raven, the bird, in a group are called a murder, or can be used symbolically to represent an dark situation such as murder, and the writing desk because how often do we see murder in the written word? or even authors that kill themselves/others?

anon73515
Post 15

Why is a raven like a writing desk? Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front.

the incorrect spelling of "never" was intended because never backward is Raven because you don't put the end in front.

anon72974
Post 14

How amusing to see how some posters believe being smarter than others, just because they know an answer to something.

Fact is, not everything bears an answer or the answer is so simple that it is difficult to accept it as being the right one. It lies within human nature to see things in the most complicated way instead of going practical.

Lewis Carrol joked with this, thus asking this question, knowing exactly that people would try to find the answer, which, of course, does not exist or is too simple to accept.

Saying "I don't know the answer" would be the same as admitting defeat in a certain way. But it does not mean one is dumb or ignorant just because the answer remains unknown. I believe people tend to proof themselves by showing they know the answers, even when there isn't one.

In other words, the answer to this is:

There is no answer.

anon72956
Post 13

The answer is: “I haven't the slightest idea.”

Who is the raven? The raven is a guy who went "raven' mad!" (raving mad, in slang) which is: the mad hatter.

This pertains to the future. The future is like a white bond paper. The future is not set. It is always changing. Thus whatever happens in the future is up to us. Whatever we write on our white bond paper of destiny is up to us. If the raven is the mad hatter who has the power to write our destiny on a writing desk, and if you ask him what will he write, he'll say, “I haven't the slightest idea.”

anon72627
Post 11

Because there's a B in both and an N in neither.

anon72380
Post 10

none of those are right. it is everything you can't do. on either, you cannot ride either of them like a bicycle.

anon72320
Post 9

Originally, there is no answer to that riddle.

Lewis Carrol came up with an answer later because of the many readers asking him what the answer was.

anon72093
Post 8

Edgar Allan Poe wrote on both.

He wrote about a raven, and he did his writing on a desk. I'm only twelve, and I can't believe no one else could figure it out.

anon71810
Post 7

Because they both have inky quills.

anon71564
Post 6

because edgar allan poe wrote on both of them.

anon70995
Post 5

"They both produce a few notes, all very flat, and are almost never turned the wrong way front."

i am 13 and i know the answer better than the two other posters. Why is that? Because i'm mad? Bonkers? Well let me tell you something, the best people are.

anon70723
Post 4

ah, but the one answer anon mentions is by lewis carol in a post-edition from the original. and the "never" was also originally "never" being raven backward. the editors thought he made a slip, but didn't. oh jolly times

anon70244
Post 2

the answer is: they can both produce some notes, although they are both very flat, you can never put it with the wrong side up. or something like that; it's in the original book. i have almost finished through the looking glass. it is a very good book!

cinder
Post 1

Ah those darn proofreaders. My little sister asked me this once. Since I am the family bibliophile everyone assumes I know the answer to everything.

I was immensely pleased with myself to haughtily answer "I haven't the slightest idea", which wasn't as well received as I had expected. My smug expression apparently implied to her that I knew the answer but was being a mean big sister and refusing to tell her.

Which resulted in a crying episode to mom about how I was being mean to her for no reason at all.

The end result was a weekend of detention because mom had never read the book and wouldn't believe me when I insisted that was really the answer!

I was pretty mad about it at the time but looking back I still feel a bit smug about my answer!

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