The Sense Of Style By Lewis Carroll Essay

The Sense Of Style By Lewis Carroll Essay

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Lewis Carroll’s original story of Alice in Wonderland was released in 1865 and focuses on a young girl’s adventures in a dream world in which she experiences size changes and encounters different creatures. Alice’s adventures express the importance of imagination and adventure throughout childhood, and the story acts as a progression of how children grow into adults both physically and emotionally. Carroll builds this image of Victorian England through the language he uses throughout the novel, and it is particularly evident in the conversation between Alice and the Caterpillar. In Steven Pinker’s Sense of Style, he examines the different aspects to a writer’s style, and the implications that style can have on both the writer and audience when conveying ideas. A look at the style and grammatical choices in relation to Pinker’s Sense of Style, will help explain reasons for Carroll’s choices as a writer and how his writing style contributes to the story. In Carroll’s “Who am I” passage, the influence of his audience and the situation he is creating are evident in his language and style choices, as well as the way he conveys the larger ideas of identity through the arrangement and syntax of the passage.
Carroll created this story with the intention that his audience would be children, but because of the sophisticated language and ideas within the text it can also be enjoyed by adults. The conversation between Alice and the Caterpillar reflect Victorian language and vocabulary, which build the world and characters that Carroll has created in his story. Alice’s tone in the dialogue with the Caterpillar is one of confusion and uncertainty of who she is as she remarks, “I can 't explain MYSELF, I 'm afraid, sir ' said Alice, 'because ...


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...k I must have been changed” appears to be odd in regards to syntax. That phrase is an affirmative sentence in which it has the subject, to be verb, and past participle. The arrangement of this phrase suggests that Alice firmly believes that she must have been changed already.
However there is one grammatical puzzle in this passage, which is the use of a contraction in the Caterpillar’s dialogue. Towards the end of the conversation the Caterpillar says, “ 'Come back! ' the Caterpillar called after her. 'I 've something important to say! '” (Carroll 38). If Carroll used “I have” instead, it would have placed greater importance on the Caterpillar’s opinion that he wished to express. Although Carroll may have used the contraction to speed up the conversation and create a sense of urgency of the Caterpillar’s dialogue in order to make Alice come back and listen to him.

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