alice and wonderland

Powerful Essays
Finding the Child in Us All Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has entertained not only children but adults for over one hundred years. The tale has become a treasure of philosophers, literary critics, psychoanalysts, and linguists. It also has attracted Carroll’s fellow mathematicians and logicians. There appears to be something in Alice for everyone, and there are almost as many explanations of the work as there are commentators. It may be perhaps Carroll’s fantastical style of writing that entertains the reader, rather than teaching them a lesson as was customary in his time. Heavy literary symbolism is difficult to trace through his works because of the fact he wrote mainly for entertainment. In fact, Carroll’s stories, including Alice, are usually described as being direct parallels to Carroll’s life. This is obvious due to the various references Carroll makes of the favorite things in his life such as his obsession with little girls and not to mention his nostalgia for childhood1. The most prominent interpretation of Alice is the theme of fantasy versus reality. The story continuously challenges the reader’s sense of the “ground rules” or what can be assumed. However, with a more in-depth search, the adult reader can find Carroll may have indeed implanted a theme relative to the confusion Alice goes through as well as the reader. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Carroll uses not only his love for children and logic but his linguistic playfulness to create a story in order to show the psyche of a child. Moreover, Carroll makes fun of the way Victorian children were raised. In the nineteenth century people were expected to behave according to a set of rules and morals. Carroll’s nonsensical behavior of his characters can be seen as making fun of the way children were forced to behave and their rationale. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland overall is contradicting the standard way children’s literature was written. As one can see, the story of Alice takes its reader through many different levels. With the lovable creation of a fantastical world, Carroll invites his readers on a nonsensical yet familiar journey of the questioning of identity by child yearning to take the step into adulthood prematurely, enabling him to entertain while simultaneously satirizing the Victorian Era. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland begins with Alice si...

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...the results of the struggles he faced throughout his life. His incorporation of logic and puzzles, puns, rules and anarchy elaborate the main point of his stories. Thus, a single interpretation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the battle between bridging from childhood to adulthood. With a simple overview, Carroll truly fulfilled that function in his writings. He seems to bring out the imagination and childhood in all his readers. It is obvious Carroll also found the rules and obligations of the time were ridiculous as he satires them throughout most of his works. Thus, the Alice books have provided the world with an inexhaustible fairy tale which has achieved a purity that “is almost unique in a period so cluttered and cumbered” (qtd. In Kelly 141).


Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. New York: Random House, Inc., 1946. Chang, Annette. “The Grotesque and Chaotic in Alice in Wonderland”. The Victorian Web. 23 January 2000. . Kelly, Richard. Lewis Carroll. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1977. Otten, Terry. “After Innocence: Alice in the Garden.” Lewis Carroll: A Celebration. Ed. Edward Guiliano. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1982.

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