Essay On Adolescence In Alice In Wonderland

Essay On Adolescence In Alice In Wonderland

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Adolescence is a time of great turmoil, in which we straddle the border between childhood and adulthood. It is a chaotic time where ideas of identity, responsibility, and change swirl around us in a whirlwind of confusion. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a text that plays with this confusion. Her journey through Wonderland can be read as a metaphorical journey through adolescence itself, where Alice encounters the plights and fears of trying to define who she is as a person, who she will be as an adult, and where she struggles to cling to the joys of her childhood. Much like adolescence, Wonderland is constantly in a state of change. It is a difficult world to navigate for Alice, fraught with instability and uncertainty, and she must do this without a clear roadmap, and with no real set of rules, much like the muddy road that a child must navigate on the way to adulthood.
When Alice starts her journey through Wonderland, she plunges down a deep hole of curiosities, wanders through a hall of many doors, and encounters one that is locked that she desperately wishes to open in order to reach the beautiful garden on the other side. When she drinks the mysterious potion on the glass table she is surprised to find she has shrunk down to a miniature size. She then eats a strange cake and balloons into a colossus. This constant fluctuation in size heralds the beginning of the many challenges Alice will face in this new mysterious land in the same way the physical transformations of puberty mark the uncomfortable onset of adolescence.
When Alice balloons so large that she can barely fit in the room, much less through the door, she begins to cry a pool of tears. Here, she mourns her small stature and in doing so mourns the loss of her...

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... to the joys that youth offers. When Alice leaves the caterpillar she continues to stumble through Wonderland, with no real sense of direction or purpose. She blunders constantly, continues to fluctuate in size, and finds no clear answer regarding her identity.
The end of the text reveals that Alice’s adventures weren’t real, but merely a dream. Dreams act as a mechanism through which our subconscious deals with issues that plague our waking days in order to come to a deeper understanding of ourselves. Everything that happens to Alice becomes symbolic of deeper fears that she carries around with her. The chaos of Wonderland becomes the chaos of adolescence and the struggle of being pulled in two different directions.

Works Cited
Carroll, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Through the Looking-Glass. (Kindle Locations 1-1240). GB Software. Kindle Edition.

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