Satirical Social Construct Theories in Carolls Wonderland

1278 Words6 Pages
The Victorian Era held many common beliefs that contrast to everything modern society holds as true.These beliefs ecompassed such areas as social theory, class differences, racial prejudices, the effect of capitalism in society, and the role and extent of education Lewis Carroll challenges and satirizes these social constructs in his novels Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by the use of fantasy characters and settings. He confronts the reader indirectly through Alice; as the fantasy world of Wonderland disobeys Alice's established views, so does it disobey the reader's views.
Throughout Alice in Wonderland, Alice interacts with things that are commonly seen in her Victorian world. Throught out the majority of both novel the inhabitants of Wonderland , who all have distinct personalities and the ability to communicate, dictate Alice's behavior. However, in the final scene of Wonderland Alice turns the table on the citizens of Wonderland. Rather than continuing to accept and comply with their behavior, she recognizes that they do not behave as they should in Victorian society. When she shouts to the army of cards that they are in fact nothing more than a mere pack of cards Alice immediately wakes up to find that she has returned from Wonderland. Once she treats the cards as she should in her own society, simply as objects, then Alice is allowed to return to her own world . She has learned the lesson that a girl in Victorian England must control the objects around her, rather than be controlled by them.
The actions of Alice at the end of Through the Looking Glass and Alice Wonderland references Carroll's views of Victorian education. Education plays a large role in the Alice books, contributing both to Carroll's characterization of Alice and of his perceptions of the common Victorian English citizen. Throughout the Alice books Alice alludes to her lessons and her education, usually very proud of all that she knows.. However, most of the time the information that she spurts out is either useless or absurd, for when she can recite exactly how many miles it is to the center of the earth she follows up with the comment of how funny it will be when she comes to the other side of the world and everything is upside down. She is quite often aware of her folly but her mistakes almost always go unnoticed by those around her and are always left uncorrec...

... middle of paper ...
Ebeneezer Scrooge personifies this exact desire in Victorian literature, and even being that Alice is no were near as cruel and heartless, the same mode of desire exists in both. Many modern works of both fiction and non-fiction revolve around the stories fanatical capitalists, those who stop at nothing and are willing to give up everything near and dear to them to obtain that which is just out of their reach and never really appreciate that which they already have. Alice goes through the same motions but in a seemingly more innocent manner. Such innoncence draws attention away from harsh reality but still personifies everything inherent in a capitalist society.
The Victorian Age was an age of growth, change, and uncertanties. While those of the time were coming into the modern era in the technological sector, their ideas in the social arena were still behind their time. However, in Alice in Wonderland, Caroll's foresight sought to question the ideals common of the era. With Alice, Caroll satarized class and race systems, education, capitalism and challanged the fragile order of the Victorian social construct, for the amusement of a teenage girl.

    More about Satirical Social Construct Theories in Carolls Wonderland

      Open Document