Gemini came up (after I introduced in an earlier prompt) with a quite interesting answer to the question “Are ‘the maker of Bonnets and Hoods’ and the ‘Boots’ the same person in Lewis Carroll’s ‘The Hunting of the Snark'”?

Q: Are “the maker of Bonnets and Hoods” and the “Boots” the same person in Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark”?

A: The document says that there is ambiguity about whether the maker of Bonnets and Hoods and the Boots are the same person. Some argue that the fact that the maker of Bonnets and Hoods is not pictured in any illustrations and the Boots’ job description includes unshipping the bowsprit, which requires some knowledge of ship parts, suggests they are the same person. Others argue that the description of the Boots’ incompetence makes it unlikely that they would be entrusted with such a task. Ultimately, the author leaves it up to the reader to decide.

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I already knew that ‘bonnets’ and ‘hoods’ can be understood not only as ats, but also as ship parts. (Carroll liked to use words with more than one meaning.) However, I didn’t make the link to the third ship part, the ‘bowsprit’. Thus, Gemini can generate new ideas (e.g. by checking which words belong to the same category).

It was quite probably Henry Holiday’s illustration (left image) of the Bonnetmaker holding a hat, which gave almost all Snark readers the idea that the Bonnetmaker just made hats. I think that Carroll associated some of his Snark characters with his Oxford colleagues, and the Bonnetmaker could have be a professor who graduated students to doctors and gave them their Tudor bonnet.

But on a ship, a maker of the bonnets and hoods (you see both ship parts together behind the Butcher and the Beaver in the right illustration) might be more helpful to repair these ship parts (and the bowsprit) than a hat maker.

2024-03-12, update: 2024-04-07

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