Identity Crisis in Wonderland

I have picked up several themes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Alice goes into Wonderland looking for her lost identity. She encounters different creatures in Wonderland that continuously are asking her who she is. Yet she fails to give them a direct answer. She what she is trained to say, but she questions if that is correct. She is unsure of whether she has changed into a different person. When the White Rabbit mistakes her for his maid Mary Anne, she does not deny the fact that she is not his maid. As an obedient child she goes as his maid to get his things.  At this point she makes another change in size and becomes somewhat of a monster. Later she is also questioned by the Caterpillar who asks, “Who are you?” She is unable to answer.

The fact that Alice keeps changing size does not help her case. When she grows extremely tall a pigeon calls her a serpent. This makes Alice question what she is.  The Cheshire Cat does not challenge her of her species but of her sanity. He says they are all mad. This makes Alice confused for she denies the fact that she is mad. Why is she in Wonderland if she is not mad?

On the contrary, if you notice a lot of the creatures in Wonderland also deal with identity problems as well. They struggle with keeping up with who they are. For example: the Duchess’ baby turns into a pig. This change is like Alice’s constant changes from being one thing to another.  Also the jury in the court has to write down their names or else they will forget who they are.

Something to think about:  If we were not constantly being reminded of our names would we forget what they are?

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 03:36  Comments (5)  

”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.

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

Growing Up in Wonderland

I know that Carroll felt strongly about Alice growing up. I figured that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland must have some correspondence with that fact. When Alice travels through Wonderland there are a lot of things that do not make sense to her at first, but over the course of her time there she begins to understand. This is her transition to becoming more of an adult. Wonderland is like the Adult world she lives in and at first is incomprehensible. To be able to cope in this world Alice has to start thinking as an adult would. Carroll was very fond of the way that children handled the world and approached different situations. In his story he wanted to show his readers the way a child looks at the adult world.

In Wonderland Alice is involved in many events where she has to handle the situation on her own. She goes to a mad tea party, meets a Duchess who has a moral for everything, and she witnesses unjust trials. One thing Alice learned from her experience is how to stand up to those with more authority, yet keep her place. She had to be strong against a queen that was ready to take her head. She now comprehends the things going on in Wonderland. She is growing up. This growing up is represented be her constant change in size. The changes also account for how Carroll feels about her growing older.

Throughout her journey in Wonderland, Alice finally begins to cope with the crazy rules that often don’t make sense. She begins managing the situations in a more adult like fashion. She stands up to the queen and begins to take control. Little by little she begins to lose her imagination of a child and sees things for what they really are. She realizes that the creatures of Wonderland are nothing but playing cards. Now she has matured to the point where Wonderland no longer welcomes her and she wakes up. Now she is in the real world that we live in, looking at it from a more realistic view.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 03:33  Comments (2)  

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.

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

Alice and Lord of Flies Have Little in Common

In my previous blog I stated that Alice was a fantasy. Can we argue that the Lord of the Flies is also fantasy? After all wasn’t Lord of the Flies meant to be everything but fantasy? Golding wanted to make a strong point about society. What Golding wanted was for us to realize that what happened in Lord of the Flies could really happen. Nothing in Alice could really happen. The two stories have little in common because of their originality.

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a little girl goes on an adventure. Her adventure turned out to be a journey to self-discovery that all happened in a dream. In Lord of the Flies the young boys were not on an adventure. They were fighting for their lives by using only their primal instincts. If we look at Alice in the story she never stops to think about consequence. She simply uses logic that she was taught in her lessons even if it was not right.

Alice had nothing to do with good or evil. Lord of the Flies was based on the good and evil in human nature. Though, both in Alice and Lord of the Flies we can compare the structure of society. Comparing the Queen to Jack we can see that they are both selfish and love power. Both Carroll and Golding have set up similar societies.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 03:30  Comments (2)  

A Cherished Fantasy

We know by now that Carroll loved Alice Liddell. He often expressed his emotions through Alice in the story. Carroll is practically in the story himself. He is a part of Alice in the story, like a subconscious character. He represents his feelings through a lot of the events that take place in the story. These feelings are not just feelings for Alice, but how he feels about the society that he lives in and what the world is becoming.  His views are hidden throughout the book waiting for anyone to discover them. Other than the messages, what other meaning is in Alice? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is purely opinion and thought.

The actual story differs greatly from other books that were meant to have greater impact. When reading Alice one has to remember not to look to deep because it was only written for little girls. In a way Alice is a true fantasy. Carroll has a fantasy that became a greater fantasy to many others. The story has reached out and touched many people. As I have said before we learn what we want to learn from Alice. Nobody is telling us what they want us to believe, but someone is telling us what we want to believe. Carroll loved Alice, now Alice is greatly beloved by many people. Carroll’s fantasy has been made into many fantasies.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 03:30  Leave a Comment  

Thoughts After Reading Alice

Even as a young child I was acquainted with the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I had seen the Disney motion picture of Alice in Wonderland and heard about in various situations. The story meant little to me then. I was unaware of the meaning behind the story. I was unfamiliar with the author, Lewis Carroll. For a long time the story had just been another imaginary fairytale written for little kids to enjoy and have fun with.

Now that I have read the Annotated Alice I have become more familiar with the story and its background. I have learned that Alice is more than a simple made up story for all children. It is a story that came from Carroll’s heart to please the love of his life. He wrote it with gratification for the pleasure Alice Liddell. The story itself shows the expression of love that Carroll had for Alice. In the story there are also hidden messages to discover that young children cannot find.

The meanings behind Carroll’s work are for each individual to discover on his/her own. What I have learned from this story is that we must make of life what we can, because at times life can seem overwhelming. I would recommend anyone to read the more detailed story of Alice as an adult. Looking at Alice at a different point of view will change how you feel about the story.  The things you find in Alice will be what you want to find. Alice went on an adventure down a rabbit hole to discover who she was.

If you reread Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland it will take you down a rabbit hole. Often when we go down rabbit holes we identify what we were looking for.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 03:29  Leave a Comment  

Our Farewell to Alice Is Only the Beginning

My overall experience of doing this project helped me dig below the surface.

When I first began to read Alice, I was never sure if I was ever going to be able to come up with enough ideas for the blog. Alice seemed unimportant to me. As we got further along in the project I beagn to realize what we make of Alice comes from our own interpretations. There is such a wide variety of opinion on the story throughout the different projects. As you read what other people have posted of the story you begin to see patterns develop. Often I saw many of the same ideas with different variations. That is what is so awesome about Alice. We can all discover new things without having to follow someones original interpretation.

I think this experience was valuable to me and my fellow classmates.

By reading Alice I believe we were all able to become more open-minded. Not only to the story but the world around us.

In one of my earlier blogs I talked about Alice making us young again. I will stick to that for the rest of my life. Alice did make me feel young again. Over this entire proccess I have become more creative and have learned to approach things from different angles. Instead of just looking at something from my own view I have started taking in consideration all kinds of views. Sometimes to find things deep within something you have to go outside your own box.

This project was definitely a foundation for the rest of my life. As we come to a close on this project I do not see it as the end, but as the starting point for much more to come. Alice has prepared  me for my adventures I will take down the rabbit hole.

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 03:17  Leave a Comment  

Hidden Meaning Is Not Required

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland is a whole lot of nonsense.

In my opinion, it should not be analyzed. People have taken the simplest of things and have come up with crazy explanations of what they could mean. Everything contained in the annotations represent one man’s opinion. Isn’t it possible for anyone to come up with an idea and put it into the annotations? People state with authority that Carroll intended his characterizations to have underlying representations. But, one doesn’t really know what Carroll intended absent a direct interview with him. Why analyze something that is of no importance to us? This story does not have a significant meaning as Golding did with Lord of the Flies. Golding wanted people to break it down, and discover his point about society and human nature. Carroll wrote this story for a ten year-old girl, not for people to tear it apart and find a deeper meaning.

For instance, in chapter 7, “A Mad Tea-Party”, the reader will find a lot of ramblings and nonsense. It is confusing and makes no sense. In my opinion, it is the weakest part of the book. Yet, it is usually cited as the most enjoyable part for most people due to the upbeat atmosphere. The creativity of this scene is quite interesting to visualize, but unbelievably hard to read. Although it certainly conforms to the overall atmosphere of Wonderland, it should not be analyzed. For example, people, for many years, have been trying to figure out the riddle, “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” Carroll said himself that this was intended to have no meaning, yet people continue to attempt to make sense out of a nonsensical writing. The fact of the matter is, this book should have been left alone.

Published in: on November 18, 2009 at 09:45  Comments (11)  

Order in Wonderland

It is very amusing how Carroll used playing cards as members of a royal kingdom. It ties so well into the strange happenings of Wonderland. At the same time, playing cards also fit into our own world. They each have their own classes. Spades as gardeners, Clubs as soldiers, Diamonds are coutiers and the Hearts are the royal kingdom. The most interesting thing about is the fact that they remain adequatly with the behaviors of actual playing cards. Such as, they lie flat on their faces, they cannot be identified from their knacks, they are easily turned over, and they bend themselves into croquet arches.

The way they interact with each other is identified by what type of card they are.  The Kings and Queens are the highest and give out orders. One of the Queens(Queen of Hearts) seems to have the most authority out of all the others. She has an unforgiving nature and is very unjust. If something displeases her she shouts, “Off with his/her head.”

The interaction between the playing cards expresses the way the social classes of our own world interact. Everyone inferior to the queen must obey her commands and please or. The lower classes like the gardeners don’t have much of say in anything. It was very interesting when Alice said, “A cat may look at a king.” According to the annotations, this shows the special privileges the lower classes have to their superiors in their presence.

Having playing cards act as a society shows that their is order in Wonderland. As we see all the crazy stuff that happens it does not seem like there could be any order. From what we know it is chaos all of the time. However, now we know there is some what of a civilization in Wonderland. Later in the story you will see the way the court system works.

Published in: on November 16, 2009 at 21:41  Comments (1)