Labels

In chapter two of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland we encounter Alice’s first encounter with Carroll’s adult material that is supposedly placed throughout the story. Even though I don’t believe that this story should be analyzed, I will do my best to interpret this.

Alice sees a small, pretty bottle with a tag that reads “DRINK ME.” As many of my fellow classmates have pointed out this may make a reference to drugs. But the surprising part is that Alice, although inclined to drink the liquid immediately, checks the bottle to make sure it is not labeled as poison. I had to read this part a few times before I truly believed what she had done. Alice is portrayed as so naive and credulous that she would think that if the bottle were poisoned that it would be labeled accordingly.

Is this one of Carroll’s stabs at society? I believe so. Today’s society is so dependent on something warning them of the dangers of their decisions that if left without the flashing warnings they would do whatever they are told to do. We are no longer encouraged to think for ourselves. We have technology and other sources of information to do the thinking for us now. Everything is advertised to make it look good so without the warning labels we would do whatever the marketed item was displaying. Take away the labels and we are lost.

Published in: on November 5, 2009 at 21:23  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I believe Rachel makes a very good point in this post. One thing about Alice though is that she is simply a young girl who knows nothing about the real world. Many people in society would simply just read the label and instantly believe that its true, but you have to ask yourself also if you are naive enough to drink the small vial as well. I’m not saying I do not agree with what you are saying because I most definitely do but I am sure most people, who are of age to know better, would not just simply drink the bottle after reading a label saying it was not poisoned.

  2. I agree. I think there are 2 extreme groups in todays society-those who trust way too much and those who are extremely paranoid because that trust has been broken. We trust people enough to believe that if there is no warning label with neon lights flashing “DRINK THIS AND DIE, DON”T DO IT!” then it obviously must be safe to drink. Or, some people may read the list of ingredients and if they see something artificial or with some strange name they become suspicious and believe that everyone is out to get them. How did our society get like this? Is it because we are now used to everything being handed to us in the form of the internet? Or, regarding the paranoia, how we see so many advertisements on TV warning us not to do this or that because there are a million things that could go wrong? Or the fact that the media always focuses on the bad things in society, tries to make a conspiracy out of everything, and blows things way out of proportion, and we believe them because we are so dependent on the information they give us? I’m not sure, but I think you’re onto something with your thought that Carroll may be “taking a stab” at one of these extreme groups in modern society.

  3. I completely agree with this. A few years back, I read a really interesting article called “PowerPoint makes you dumb.” The premise of the article was that by presenting all the important information to people in a simple and consice manner, with all the information displayed right on the screen, people lost their ability to delve deeply into information. The accessibility of the information stopped people from thinking deeply about information that wasn’t as accessible. Therefore, the article concluded, accessible information actually stops us from processing said information. This is another way of saying that. We need these guideposts of labels, instruction manuals, and PowerPoint slides to be able to find our way. Unfortunately, we have become over-dependent on things like these, and have really lost a majority of our ability to truly understand information.

  4. I think this post does a great job of highlighting a very prominent issue in society. People in America have lost what made them Americans. The open-minded thought that leads to great discoveries and changes society. Like in Lord of the Flies, we have turned the clock backwards and put ourselves in a more primitive state. Instead of moving forward as the revolutionaries we once were, we are slowly going backwards. If we don’t correct this problem, we will lose what our society once was.


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