Study Questions for Lewis Padgett's "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" [1943]

Below, I refer to the author as "he" in the study questions; however, Lewis Padgett is, of course, one of the pen names adopted by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner when they collaborated on a short story. Here are a few issues to consider:

  1. Why does Padgett have Dennis Paradine demean his college students [1088-89]? How does this college philosophy professor's attitude toward the intelligence of his students--especially as he contrasts their ability to learn to that of his children--initiate a thematic concern central to the story?
  2. How do the toys function in the story? That is, what is their specific purpose for children of the future like Unthahorsten's son, Snowen?
  3. What comment does the story make about human beings's pursuit of knowledge? Is the story in any way a comment on the tendency of scientific inquiry to, at best, expose the limits of human knowledge?
  4. Given the above issues, what do you think this story is really about? That is, what is Lewis Padgett getting at in this story?