The Hunting of the Snark tells the tale of several characters who go on a sea journey, searching for a mythical creature called "The Snark", whatever it may be, for the Snark is different things to each of the characters. The Baker's uncle once told him, "If your Snark be a Boojum! ... You will softly and suddenly vanish away, And never be met with again!". Through this journey relationships develop, tensions rise and the Baker's worst nightmare comes true.
The Hunting of the Snark shares its fictional setting with Lewis Carroll's earlier poem "Jabberwocky" published in his children's novel Through the Looking-Glass (1871). Eight nonsense words from "Jabberwocky" appear in The Hunting of the Snark: bandersnatch, beamish, frumious, galumphing, jubjub, mimsiest (which previously appeared as mimsy in "Jabberwocky"), outgrabe and uffish. In a letter to the mother of his young friend Gertrude Chataway, Carroll described the domain of the Snark as "an island frequented by the Jubjub and the Bandersnatch—no doubt the very island where the Jabberwock was slain."