Dissection

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.

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Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 15:21  Comments (6)  

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  1. One of the best qualities of the story is that you can look at it in two different ways. You can look at it as a adult or as child. The problem with looking at it was a child is once you past a certain age we as humans of the 21st century are taught to use reason to guide our beliefs instead of using our imagination. This concept can be looked at two different what’s of which is agreeing with reason and ignoring your imagination. The other is to use your imagination to guide you therefore allowing your mind up to many more possibilities. For children this is a tale of rhymes and a fun and interesting plot. But to adults it’s a story of so much more. If exposed to this story at a young age and reexamine it at a older age you are able to view the story in the two perspectives that I am talking about. This story is famous for its use of symbolism that describes it’s time’s politics, social situations, and much more. This point of view can’t be seen by children but is widely analyzed by adults. Whether it should be over analyzed is up to the reader. The reader has a choice of either just reading it and moving on to another story or reading it and trying to decipher the meaning of the story. Which path you choose to go is up to you.

  2. We must never forget — in spite of our extraordinary ability to make ‘sense’ of ‘nonsense’ — what you said early on:

    “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.”

    So true…and I love the “allows their imagination to wonder”. Lovely.

    BTW, I’m wondering — now that you’ve read a bit more since this early post — if you still agree with this point you made towards the end:

    “If the story is dissected the magic and imagination involved can be lost.”

    Is it possible that we can have both points of view? Or do you think that we must commit to one, either way?

    • I still agree completely with my initial reaction. I do believe that this story should not be analyzed, although I have been forced to conform and do just so in order to do this project at times. I do not believe that the story should be scrutinized, but that doesn’t mean I won’t do so. Also, I do believe you must commit to one point of view. I think this because once you anayze the text it can never go back to just being that fun little children’s story as it once was. Its a one way street and you have to choose where you get off.

  3. I agree with Daniel and you. I like how you can read the story and put it into the way you would like it to be interpreted. You can read it as an adult book and all the “inside jokes” or you can read it as one big magical picture. Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland I think is a great book. Maybe there is even a bigger picture than we all see… but it’s hidden? Every one can read any book and come out with many different opinions. That is a fun thing about ruining. Anyone can come up with their outlook on a story.

  4. Are The Simpson’s, Family Guy, Little Mermaid or similar animated fare just fun stories or do they have adult themes that run through them. Can something be enjoyed one way as a child and another as one matures?

  5. I think that is what is so great about this story. You can either think of it as a children story or as a story that is more then a little girl going into fairy tail land. Maybe the author wanted this story to be figured out. Maybe there is actually a meaning to the story that nobody knows about. That is what makes this story so interesting. This story is all opinionated.


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