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Comparing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll and Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes

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Growth is inevitable and the most anticipated quest of man. It is a never-ending quest to evolve, fuelled by the constant hope for survival. Once natural growth halts, man’s focus shifts to the growth within. The coming of age, associates itself with this transformation from child to man, the step of letting go of childish ways and moving on to more mature things. The need for such a dramatic transformation is questioned by Miguel de Cervantes and Lewis Carroll in their texts, Don Quixote and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. While the texts follow two contrasting characters, they are brought together by the theme of fantasy. Cervantes’ Don Quixote is an old gentleman of noble lineage who becomes tired of the monotony and the lack of meaning in his life. Through his maddening and compulsive taste in books of chivalry, he concludes that the ideal life is that which is undertaken by a knight-errant. He chooses to leave his home and ensue the path of knight-errantry. Carroll’s Alice, on the other hand, is a young girl who cannot fully comprehend the world of adults but still adheres to the etiquette drawn out by society. She is transported to the land of Wonderland where the surreal is real, and where whatever she thought she knew, now becomes nothing at all. The importance of fantasy in the lives of their protagonists is shown by Cervantes and Carroll through the impact it has on the growth of the protagonists. This becomes evident through their placement in phantasmagorical settings, their interactions with the surrounding characters, and their final detachment from fantasy.
Both authors bring madness into their world to detach their protagonists from reality. In Don Quixote, the world of madness is one which is contrived by the ...


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...mes in both cases; however, it is through these experiences that the characters are equipped for situations which are rooted in reality. Both protagonists approach their leap out of fantasy in differing ways. Don Quixote’s death reveals that once fantasies are let go, the person lets go. Alice on the other hand is prompted to cling to her fantasy for the rest of her life. Through this, both Carroll and Cervantes show that fantasy is a vital part of growth and living. Growth is presented as something which does not absolve an individual from their fantasies but rather, embraces them. Fantasy is a medium without which the human race would cease to be ‘human’ because it is true that every man and woman was once a boy and girl living out their fantasies; paradoxically, it is the surrealism of fantasy that allows man to understand himself and his role in the real world.



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