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Facing Adolescence in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Essay

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Lewis Carroll exemplifies the inevitable changes all children face when they enter the adult world in his novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by taking readers on a compelling journey through the adolescence of a young girl who struggles to find her identity in a realm she cannot comprehend. Carroll personifies this trying journey through the protagonist, Alice. Alice is a seven year old girl, growing up in the Victorian Age, a time of rapid change and development. “Alice is engaged in a romance quest for her own identity and growth, for some understanding of logic, rules, the games people play, authority, time, and death” (Frey). Throughout the novel, Alice faces the challenge of not only adolescency, but also finding her identity and her place within the cruel adult world and determining her relationships with others. Alice struggles to adapt to her ever-changing and perplexing surroundings in Wonderland, which contradict “the demure, pleasant and obedient ideal of Victorian girlhood” (Auerbach).
The challenge of adolescence in this novel is evident from the first chapter. De Rooy states that “Lewis Carroll adore[s] the unprejudiced and innocent way young children approach the world. With Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, he [describes] how a child sees the adult world, including all of the rules and social etiquette… as well as the ego's and bad habits [adults develop] during their lives.” Alice’s adventures parallel the journey from innocent childhood to adulthood. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland mirrors a child's journey through the adult world, specifically that of upper-class Victorian England. The key to her success in these journeys is adaptability (Walker). In the beginning of the novel, Alice does not handle th...


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...in the Western Tradition. Greenwood Press, 1987. 115-122. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Gerard J. Senick. Vol. 18. Detroit: Gale Research, 1989. Literature Resource Center. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

Graham, Neilson. "Sanity, Madness and Alice." EXPLORING Novels. Detroit: Gale, 2003.
Student Resources in Context. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.

Kelly, Richard. "Introduction." Introduction. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Second Edition.
Claremont: Broadview, 2011. 9-50. Print.

Leach, Allison. "Identifying Alice's Identity." The Victorian Web: An Overview. 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

Levin, Harry. "Wonderland Revisited." EXPLORING Novels. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Student Resources in Context. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

Walker, Stan. "Overview of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." EXPLORING Novels. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Student Resources in Context. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.


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