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Differences Between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

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At the mention of the name Alice, one tends to usually think of the children’s stories by Lewis Carroll. Namely, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are two classic works of children’s literature that for over a century have been read by children and adults alike. These two stories tell the tale of a young girl named Alice who finds herself in peculiar surroundings, where she encounters many different and unusual characters. Although Alice is at the centre of both stories, each tale is uniquely different in its purpose, characters and style.

     Carroll first published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, three years after he had first told the story to the young girl Alice Liddell and her sisters, following her request for a story full of nonsense. The creation of this story began on a river picnic as Carroll began telling the tale of Alice in Wonderland to entertain the girls. Unlike the spontaneity in the creation of the first story, Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass was published six years after the first, when Alice was a teenager. This latter story was more logical than the first and clearly differed from it in both its style and direction.

     The introduction of Alice and how she finds herself in the “other” world is very different in each of the stories. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice’s curiosity and boredom leads her to follow the White Rabbit as he rushes passed her. She ends up falling down the rabbit hole which takes both her and the reader into a world of magic and disorder. Carroll’s Wonderland is a place where Alice finds many of the characters difficult and odd. She encounters various characters along her journey, many of whom likely represented real people known to the real Alice Liddell. Throughout the first story, Alice also finds herself growing and shrinking at various stages, something that Carroll does not repeat in Through the Looking Glass.
     
     Alice’s curiosity also leads her into the “other” world in Through the Looking Glass. Unlike Carroll’s first story, this world is one that is logical and in that loses some of its magic. As Alice enters through the glass mirror, her surroundings become reversed and Carroll repeats this image of reversal throughout the story in the poem of the Jabberwocky, the mirror images of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, as well as when the White...


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...e is shaking her cat. Carroll ends the story with a question to the reader- who had really dreamed the dream, Alice or the Red King? This ending is open to the reader to conclude.

     There exists several differences between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. These differences may be due to the disparity in time between the writing of both stories and the circumstances that surrounded Carroll’s writing, as well as the intention that Carroll possessed when he began to tell the tale. However, these differences are essential to the distinctive nature of each story and convey to the reader a different portrayal of the view that Carroll had of the relationship between child and adult. Whether it was the difference between characters in the stories, or the style in which the story was written, they play an important role in the development of Alice and in the depiction that Carroll intended.


Works Cited


Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Illus. Arthur Rackham. Poem by Austin Dobson. New York: Sea Star Books, 2002.

Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking Glass. From Project Gutenberg. http://www.gutenberg.net Etext91/glass18.txt


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