”Be Who You Seem To Be”

The Duchess says in chapter 9 that everything has a moral if you look for it. One of the morals she say caught my attention. She says “Be what you seem to be…Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them otherwise.” I am sure that anyone who reads this will get confused. The first time you look at it you may know what it means. Then you might read it again and get something else. When I first read this I figured it meant be yourself. However, I read it again and again until it confused me out of my mind. I finally got something quite interesting out of it.

The whole point of Alice’s Adventure is to discover who she is. Often as human being we struggle with our own identity because of the pressure to live up to other peoples standards. Alice did not know who she was. In chapter 5 Alice meets a Caterpillar. The Caterpillar asked her a question that we are most familiar with, “Who are you?” Alice did not know how to answer. She replied, “I hardly know sir…” When we dream we often dream of things that we desire. We go through interesting journeys in our dreams that lead us to what we want. In Alice’s dream she is trying to discover who she is. So the Duchess tells her “Be who you seem to be.”

This may seem confusing, because to ‘be who you seem to be’ you have to know who you are. Alice has to discover who she is and accept that.

Since this is a dream what Alice is imagining are the things she has on her mind. So when she grows extremely large or small, she is in a state of unacceptance of who she is. Once she grows to her original size she is still dissatisfied. Alice must learn to accept who she is. This brings me to the next part of the moral, “Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others…” Basically, this is saying do not try to be something you are not.

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Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 03:35  Comments (2)  

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  1. “So when she grows extremely large or small, she is in a state of unacceptance of who she is. Once she grows to her original size she is still dissatisfied.”

    Does Alice ever find contentment in who she is?

    I never thought about your point: that her size shows her state of not being at peace with who she is. It’s easy to blame that on all the shrinking and growing going on, but why doesn’t she find normalcy when she arrives back at her “normal” size?

    You have me thinking about this in a “psychology” way: that Alice blames her discontentment with that which is external (i.e., the changes forced upon her by the potions), when in fact, she still is unsatisfied when everything is supposedly back to “normal” (i.e., her size).

    When the Duchess tells her “Be who you seem to be,” is this good or bad advice? Does she need to explore deeper than what she thinks she is or what she should be to really find her way out of Wonderland?

    You’ve really got me thinking!

  2. If you ever look in my office you know I like quotes. Here are a couple the Duchess may like.

    “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” – Thoreau

    “Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a person as if he were where he could be and should be, and he will become what he could be and should be. ” – Jimmy Johnson

    Do you think either of those coincide with what she is saying?


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