Most children sitting in their homes watching Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland would never think that someday they would be reading the same story in high school. To young kids the story is just a fun adventure through a magical land. The story allows their imagination to wonder to places that only Alice could take them to. Now adults are beginning to read this story and analyze every detail.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was written as a fun story for a young girl and there is much conflict about whether or not it should be read that was or analyzed in the classroom. Gilbert K. Chesterton says of Alice, “She has not only been caught and made to do lessons; she has been forced to inflict lessons on others.” In the introduction to The Annotated Alice. Chesterton claims that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is simply a children’s story and it loses its initial appeal if over analyzed. On the other hand, Martin Gardner says that “no joke is funny unless you see the point of it, and sometimes a point has to be explained.”
I personally agree with Chesterton in that the story should be read as intended, just a story for children. Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as a story for Alice Liddell, a young girl he fancied. Although the story is full of small hints to adult subject, the basic goal was to make children smile. Gardner says that the jokes need to be explained, but their mystery is part of the fun. If given this story at an adult age most average people would probably not think of all the social and intellectual implications unless prompted to do so. This children’s story should be thought of as a children’s story. If the story is dissected the magic and imagination involved can be lost.