A View From an Outsider

I recently asked myself the question: What does a person who has never read or heard the story of Alice think the story means? If you were to ask a person who has never heard of Alice in Wonderland and has never read the book how would they respond? It is interesting because I am sure we have all heard of the story at some point in our lives. Even if the only thing we knew about the story was that a little girl, named Alice, went down a rabbit whole, and got lost in her own curiosity, we still know the gist of the story. We would be able to read the story from there and be able to come up with an idea of what it means.

Another question I asked myself is: Is it harder for those who have heard of the story before to be able to understand the true meaning of the story. Maybe because most of us have grown up with the story of Alice it is hard for us to even think it possible for it to have a deeper more thought out meaning. What we originally thought about the story might still be stuck in our heads and we cannot get a grasp on what it truly is. A person, who has never heard of the story, might be able to think about it in a different way. Maybe they wouldn’t see Alice as a little girl, but a representation of curiosity and the ways of life.

Finally, do thoughts on the story change depending on what version you know? The answer to this is yes. Anyone can watch the Disney movie, Alice in Wonderland, and think it just as innocent as all other Disney movies. They might see it as a simple fairytale with happy ending. What if a person like us read the Annotated Alice?   My thoughts on the story have surely changed after reading this more detailed version. I can see now that the story has a lot of input from Carroll’s emotions about Alice growing older. If I was a person who has never heard of the story and I read the Annotated version, I might not even look at the story as innocent at all. My understanding of the story would be based on a different background and it could be looked at with completely new eyes.

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Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 03:31  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good questions. I especially connect with your last remark about which version of the story you know. Many people who know “the story” of Alice are familiar only with the Disney movie.

  2. Erin,

    Great point/question! It would be really interesting to see how either version would be interpreted by different generations or cultures.

    Alice meant something completely different during the 1960s than it does now, for instance.


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