Carroll establishes the parallel to adolescence when Alice encounters a caterpillar sitting on a mushroom smoking a hookah, a questionable activity for a children’s story. The caterpillar engages Alice in paradoxical questions and statements such as “Who are you?” and “Explain yourself!” These two phrases are characterizing of a pre-teen child questioning themselves while going through the change of becoming a young adult. During this conversation, the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly is discussed, and how strange it would be for the caterpillar to turn into a chrysalis and then to a new creature altogether with bright color and wings. The caterpillar, a representation of a child who has not undergone growing up yet...
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...rovide their child with these things.
These transformations also draw a relationship between Wonderland and adolescence because of Alice’s constant change in size. The radical growth she experiences is signifying of the physical changes that adolescents endure. These growth spurts, in both height and weight, often cause teenagers to question their identity and their personal worth. Rapid development makes it difficult for young adolescents to retain a sense of personal continuity which is crucial to maintaining self-identity. Alice’s growing and shrinking could also represent the many sudden mood swings teenagers feel during adolescence. Another interpretation of this could be how adolescents oscillate between acting like adults and acting like children. Carroll exaggerates these through Alice’s many drastic size changes over the course of what she believes is a day.
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