*This is a response to Benedikt K.’s “Size Does Matter”
“You’re too old to trick or treat.” “You’re too young to go to that party.”
These are the things that teenagers hear almost every day. We are in the “in between” phase of our lives, not children, but not yet adults either. We are encouraged to embrace both our playful, childlike side as well as our sophisticated, adult personality. Yet when we act childish we are scorned and when we try to act grown-up we are seen as foolish. We always seem to be the wrong size. It is an awkward time in our lives that is necessary to the growth of our bodies and minds. We long for the freedoms of adult life, but at the same time they terrify us. We will have to be self-sufficient and responsible. We also pine for the innocence of childhood when our mistakes were cute and we didn’t have to do anything for ourselves.
Humans are complicated beings and Alice is beginning to find that out. Alice Liddell is a twelve year old girl which means that soon she too will venture into the unknown land of puberty and all the changes it brings. Carroll must recognize this, for he portrays Alice as never being the proper size. When she is small she needs to be big, but once she grows she realizes that she needs to be small. This would make her feel constantly awkward as so many teenage girls do. To Carroll this make signify the end of Alice’s childhood and innocence that he loved, yet also the beginning of her voyage into being an adult and accepting the burdens that come with it.
For the fictional Alice this is simply a terrible inconvenience, but for Alice Liddell this was her life. She must be able to retain some of her child-like self even as she makes this transition to adulthood. Otherwise she woudl lose it forever. Perhaps Carroll wanted Alice to be able to read this story that way she would never grow old. So that her inner child could live on even after her body gets older.