Finally Believable

As I read some of my fellow classmate’s blog entries I began to see a pattern. None of them seem to enjoy the end of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where Alice wakes up and realizes that the whole thing was a dream. I, on the other hand, loved this ending for so many reasons:

  1. Alice now has the opportunity to return to Wonderland whenever her mind longs to be there.
  2. As the reader we can now relate to Alice’s adventures.
  3. (Most importantly) It is now (finally) believable

If Wonderland had turned out to be a real place full of real people Alice might not have been able to return. How would she get back? How would she know where it was? Would it still exist without Alice?

Every story we are told we try to relate it to our own lives, whether we realize it or not. We think “Oh I wouldn’t have done that in that situation” or “That was just like the time I (insert random act here).” We all want to read a story about ourselves. We are selfish and conceded beings. We all want, on a simple level, to be Therefore every character has to have some human characteristics or mannerisms. These were few and far between in Wonderland. It becomes almost too unrealistic when nothing seems to make sense. It became annoying to me how unreal it was (coming from a girl who lives in her own wonderland).

On a basic level this ending was quite predictable because in my eyes Carroll had no other choice. Creating an alternate reality is very hard. It has to be unrealistic while still seeming possible and probable. These new worlds are put within borders and told not to cross them. Carroll’s world broke down all barriers and therefore had to rebuild them with the Hey-by-the-way-none-of-it-was-real method and while some may see this as being weak and afraid of the monstrous story he created I see it as purely strategic.

Just think about it- How else could he have ended the story and retain the audiences attention?

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Published in: on November 30, 2009 at 22:06  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I mentioned “suspension of disbelief” in another comment in your posts. Should everything we read have to be believable to be enjoyable? Or can we lose ourselves in fantasy and still feel it was worthwhile?

    Carroll does use the nonsense device to an extreme in Alice, but is that necessarily a bad thing?

    I’m reminded of an instance when my daughter was younger. The Lion King was in the movie theater, and her father and I took her to see it. During the movie, he (a science teacher) leaned over to her to say, “You know, the animals wouldn’t really be friends, because the lions are the predators.” At the age of 5, her response was, “Daddy, animals don’t really talk either. It’s just a movie.” 🙂

    When do we get “too old” or “too mature” to take a trip down that Rabbit Hole? What would your 5 year old self say about this book? Not a criticism- I’m just curious.

    Very thought-provoking post. Thanks!!

  2. How about stories today ending with “It was just a dream,” Rachel? I always feel a bit “ripped-off” when some version of that is thrown at me. For instance, in a movie like Fight Club, I was so upset at the end of almost 2 hours to find that it was mostly this guy’s imagination.

    In Alice, I agree, though. I think it does make sense. The story bring into question: what is reality? Like the dream state, Wonderland is believable and substantive, but only while we’re there.

  3. I completely agree with you, Rachel. I am also glad to see someone take this stance against the ending of the book. I liked the ending as well, because it makes it so that the human brain can fit itself around the story. It is a lot easier to believe that Wonderland was just a figment of Alice’s imagination instead of trying to grasp the concept of an alternate universe accessed through a rabbit hole. It also makes it more appealing. If Wonderland was just Alice’s dream that means that we can have our own Wonderland, and make it however we want it to be.

  4. I loved this blog. I think you worded it very well and everything really made me re think how i felt about the end of the story. Now that I think about it. How do you end the story from there? I mean somehow she would have to come back or reunite with her family since this is a childrens story, it should have a “happily ever after”. I agree, now you can totally relate to this story and anyone can possibly have their own “Wonderland” and it is stil a unique story.

  5. You know, he could have closed the story with a giant rock crushing the Hatter, the King stabbing at Alice with a stick, and the Queen sharpening a stick at both ends.

    Or is that Lord Of The Flies?

    I think, for such an oddity of a creation, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland is unchangeable. Carroll’s setup of the journey as a dream allows the imagination to accept the story. The themes as well as political and social jokes are funny and he barely got away with making the story and not being declared insane. His sanity was maintainable by having the story be a dreamstate


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