Carroll and Alice Intertwined

Throughout Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland she changes from being extraordinarily small to being massively big. There are twelve occasions in which this change takes place. Richard Ellmann suggests that this could represent the little girl Alice, whom Carroll loved, but with a love transfixed to her youth. The bigger Alice represents the older Alice, which she would soon become. I believe that Carroll was expressing the way he felt about Alice’s growing older through the changes that take place in Alice throughout the story. In chapter four of the Annotated Alice, Alice wonders, “Shall I ever get any older than I am now? That’ll be comfort, one way—never to be an old woman—but then—always to have to learn lessons! Oh, I shouldn’t like that!” This quote is possibly another time where Carroll indicates his feelings about his “child-friends” growing up. We know that Carroll views this transformation most unpleasantly. In the annotations Carroll says, “Some children have a most disagreeable way of growing up. I hope you won’t do anything of the sort before we meet again.”  All through the book we continue to see Carroll instill into the fictional Alice, an expression of himself.

Carroll, as a matter of fact, is a part of fictional Alice. The likenesses we see between the two represent Carroll voicing himself through fictional Alice. In the story, one finds that Alice was very fond of pretending to be two people. There is no evidence that Alice Liddell engaged in this aspect of playacting in real life. This may also be another instance of Carroll embedding himself into the story. In a way Carroll acts as a conscience of the fictional Alice. The way she talks to herself and gives herself advice makes us feel like there are two people in the story. One of which is Carroll living a separate life through the fictional Alice. The other is Alice Liddell, an ordinary little girl.

Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 08:55  Comments (2)  

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  1. I agree with the whole idea you are presenting here; that Carroll himself is a part of the story Alice. It seems to me that Carroll has made an ‘Alice’ to be how he would have liked her to have been and have stayed. Like you mentioned, Carroll wasn’t always pleased by how some children grew up, so perhaps he feared that he would lose the Alice he knew. So he wrote her into a story as a way to capture her youth as he would have liked others to see her.
    Where you said he was her conscience was absolutely brilliant. That hadn’t occurred to me before as significant; most authors do play the role of conscience, but in Carroll’s situation- it seems to mean more. It seemed to be his way of showing, or perhaps implying that he was a guiding force of the young Alice Liddell.

  2. I have been pondering the same thing:
    “Carroll, as a matter of fact, is a part of fictional Alice. The likenesses we see between the two represent Carroll voicing himself through fictional Alice.”

    Alice thought process is very peculiar indeed. For such a young girl, Alice’s knowledge is highly advanced compared to the average little girl. Carroll even refers to her as the “wise” Alice! I agree that, like William Golding in Lord of the Flies, Carroll is embedding his knowledge and input in the voice of Alice.

    I love this statement you made:
    “In a way Carroll acts as a conscience of the fictional Alice.”

    Carroll probably did not want to flat out say his opinion in the story, so one of his ways of reaching the audience could be through Alice. In a way Carroll acts as the other character’s conscience, even if we do not see what goes through their head.

    I can’t wait to see more of your blogs!

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