Misconceptions and Word PlayThis research paper would like to discuss the works of Lewis Carroll namely “The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” in which I would like to point out certain symbols, ideas, and messages from the said literary pieces. The focus of this paper is to analyze these works of Lewis Carroll.Alice requires no introduction everyone is supposed to know her name, having read the story or not.
Written by Lewis Carroll for a little girl he knew, the book combines fantasy and adventure with elements of tragedy, comedy, madness, and absurdity, and is full with plays on words, twisted logic, re-phrased rhymes and clever dialogues. (Sharma 2007)Alice in wonder land is considered to be one of the most characteristic examples of the genre of literary nonsense, and its narrative course and structure has been enormously influential, mainly in the fantasy genre. (Gray, 1992)Alice in Wonderland is referred to as the loss of youth and innocence in to the world of adulthood. In the story Alice goes through a variety of strange physical changes.
She feels not being the right size signifies the changes during puberty. Alice sees that these changes are all too sudden, and becomes frustrated when she experiences it. She tries to sustain a normal size. In the first chapter, she is disappointed when she changes too big or too small to enter the garden.
And in chapter five, she loses control of her body when her neck stretches just like a giraffe. These changes signify the way a child may feel as a young girl growing up. (Schellenberg 2001)This paper would like to answer the following questions. What is the point of this story? Why is it made? What are the messages of these books? What are the symbols and themes pertaining to? About The AuthorLewis Carroll or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, his real name is born in Daresbury, England on January 27, 1832.
Lewis wrote frequently at an early age. During the age of thirteen he was composing bits of poetry for his family and friends. In 1850 he studied at Oxford. He studied mathematics and earned many scholarships and awards.
A condition of his studentship was he could not marry or have any relationships, because Oxford is a strict institution. Carroll also has a hobby of photography and eventually became a portraitist. Victorian art form back then was nude photos of children, with the consent of the parents. Carroll si involved in photography, because it is a common practice at that time.
The purpose of the photos is to imitating angels and cherubs of classical art. (Sharma 2007) On 1862, Carroll went out with the family of hiss boss Henry George Liddell. He had a daughter named Alice, with whom Carroll established a friendship with. At that time near Godstow, England, Carroll first told Alice of Wonderland.
In November, he began writing down the manuscript of the stories he had told Alice.By February 1863 he had finished the text of his story, which he named Alice’s Adventures Underground. By 1865 the manuscript had flourished and become Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. On December 14th, the book was published.
Carroll sent a copy of the book to Alice Liddell for Christmas.(Kim 2005) People have misinterpreted some events to be drug related in the books of Caroll, just like the constant tea time, the mushrooms and the smoking by a hookah of the caterpillar. The issue of drug use made Caroll very popular, being exploited by drug addicts as a way of demonstrating that one of their most recognized writers also used drugs.There is no proof that he used drugs.
It is a fact that the common painkiller back then was, laudanum, which could cause a “high” if used in a large amounts and that Caroll, may have used it from time to time, but still there is a lack of evidence that he ever used it or that its usage affected his work. (Twayne, 1990) Many parts of Lewis Carroll’s life affected his writing. Some of these things include his mathematical background and logical nature, interest in photography of little girls, odd eating habits, dual personality, and sleeping difficulties. These traits of his life can be seen in his literature.
Dual personality was evident in Carroll’s life beginning when he was writing under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Like his duality, many contrasting characters are seen in Carroll’s literature. In the book Looking Glass, Tweedledee and Tweedledum are twins who repeatedly contest each other’s opinion. In Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland, the animals have conflicting characteristics.
Just like when Alice falls down the rabbit hole, top and bottom are one. (Bloom 1987) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland CharactersAlice is a young girl in the novel, Alice is actually a real-life friend of Carroll, Alice, is a girl struggling with the complexities of growing up. Alice’s sister is a responsible adult in the book. The older sister of Alice in which recognizes Alice’s change.
She is an adult interpretation of Wonderland to support the sense that Alice has grown. White rabbit he is the individual that Alice is chasing around, and he pops out to get things moving. In he is like a guide in the story. Dinah Alice’s cat is a hunter that she can’t keep to herself.
It is awkward when she is with many animals that are scared rather than impressed. Little Bill a small salamander. Mary Ann is the white rabbit’s housekeeper, that the rabbit thought that Alice is Mary Ann. Caterpillar is a wise character who sits on a large mushroom smoking by the use of a Hookah.
The Caterpillar is like an adviser that teaches Alice on how to manage her growth. Cheshire cat a grinning cat, that appears and disappears. He is the symbol of irony in being a grown up and a child. He shows Alice that once the rules are learned she must apply them.
He is the one who told Alice to go with the Mad Hatter and to the Queen of hearts as lessons in what will happen if the rules are broken. March hare the character is in charge of tea and lives in a state of stasis. Mad Hatter is the one in charge of nonstop tea time. He is said to be mad because of mercury is used in the production of hats.
It is said that mercury could cause madness when exposed after long period of time. The Dor mouse a sluggish companion of the mad hatter and the march hare Queen of hearts is the ruler of Wonderland. The Queen is a symbol of an adult who has lost her good manners and become quite mad. In a sense, she is really a childish adult.
The book shows this by siding her against Alice’s personal growth. As Alice grows stronger and more responsible, the Queen is sinks into weakness and madness. As Alice becomes a red woman. King of hearts is the husband of the Queen of hearts.
Theme’s and SymbolsAlice in Wonderland is a story of growth. It is the growth of Alice from a child to a wise young woman. This growth is has two parts. First Alice should learn that rules are important to adult life.
Then she must learn that if there are no rules then society becomes a childish anarchy. These are shown in the metaphors of children’s games and rhymes. In the end she must overcome the silliness of being young and know what adulthood is all about. What could be the sense of this book? Lewis Carroll himself said his words could be filled with meanings he did not plan.
The story ends with Alice’s older sister on how a girl like Alice would grow up with feelings and love for children in her heart. Wonderland is the world of adults as seen in the eyes of a child. In its exaggerated portrayal of characters and events it appears unreal and imaginary. Yet, it may not be too far removed from reality.
Themes are the basic ideas explored in a literary work. Here are some of the themes found on the book Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland Life as a Meaningless Puzzle In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, she faces a series of challenges that have no solutions, in which like life upsets a persons expectations. Alice anticipates that the situations she faces with will make some sense, but end up disappointing her ability to find the meaning in them. Alice tries to figure out the “Caucus race”, answer the Mad Hatter’s riddle, and understand the Queen’s silly “croquet game”, but the riddles and challenges have no purpose or answer.
Carroll is a logician but makes jokes, games, and riddles out of logic in the book. Alice discovers that she can’t find the logic of things she experience, even if they appear to be simple problems, riddles, or games that have solutions but she won’t be able to figure it out. Death as a Constant and Underlying Menace Alice ends up in situations which she risks her life, and even though these threats never occur, it implies that death can be found behind these events of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as an outcome. Death is found in the first chapter, when the narrator states that Alice is falling off of her house, that it would kill her.
Alice takes some risks could kill her, but she never thought that death as a possible outcome. In time, she begins to see that her experiences in Wonderland are more threatening than seem. As the Queen yells “Off with its head!” Alice sees that Wonderland is not a ridiculous realm after all. MotifsMotifs are events in a book that help build up the theme of the story.
Here are some of the motifs found in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and their meanings. Dream Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland happens in a dream, so that the characters and encounters of the real world merge with Alice’s unconscious mind. The dream motif explains the presence of weird and incoherent events in the story. Just like a dream, the narrative directs Alice as she faces different events which she tries to figure out in relationship to her world.
Subversion Alice discovers in as she travels that the only thing she can be certain in Wonderland is that it will disappoint her expectations and test her knowledge of the world. In Wonderland, Alice sees that her knowledge have no meaning at all, as she messed up her multiplication tables and imperfectly recites poems she know. Even Alice’s herself becomes distorted as she change sizes randomly all throughout the book. Language Carroll’s “word play” in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is one of the most recognizable marks of his work.
By the use of multiple meanings of words in the story. Carroll creates new words and terms and makes new meanings of those words. Alice’s expression “Curious and curiouser!” shows that both her environment and even the language she uses expands beyond the normal way we use words. Nothing is impossible in Wonderland, and Carroll’s exploitation of language shows this sense of infinite possibilities.
Curious, Nonsense, and ConfusingAlice can’t seem to find the words to describe events in her journey. Though the words are exchangeable, she usually faces curious and puzzling encounters that she accepts. She endures the events that are confusing, hoping to have a clearer idea of things in the world.SymbolsSymbols are things places characters events that take place in the story which have other meanings than the ones they present.
The GardenAlmost every object in the story is a symbol, but nothing clearly symbolizes one thing. The symbolic importances of the things in Wonderland are generally contained to the certain event in which they are present. Often the symbols mesh together to express a certain meaning. The garden symbolizes the Garden of Eden, a peaceful place of purity and innocence that Alice is not able to go to.
The garden represents the longing in that Alice exerts all her efforts on trying to acquire it. The two symbols’ meanings work together to highlight Alice’s wish to keep her youth and innocence that she will behind as she grows. Through the Looking-Glass: And What Alice Found ThereIs a story about a little girl lost, using mirror as doorways, and a indistinct view of things as a reflection in a piece of glass pertaining to the mind’s eye. People often mistake it for the Alice in Wonderland but it is actually a sequel.
Even though it never had any references of Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, but because of several film adaptations that combined the two books together, many mistaken it with the initial book. Indeed, Alice “Through the Looking Glass” is where Tweedledee and Tweedledum in the first book, is referred to as the Walrus and the Carpenter in Through the Looking Glass. (Gibron 2007) Characters of Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw There Red Queen the bossy and unpleasant, which does not know what is happening. She wants Alice to follow her rules of proper manners.
White Queen a sweet, but dim witted queen. She allows herself to be dominated in the red queen. Red King the sleeping king which Tweedledum and Tweedledee said that his dreams are responsible for all the things in the looking glass world. White King, he is the clumsy and incompetent king.
He promises to send all of his horses and all his men when Humpty Dumpty falls off his wall. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are the two fat brothers who dress like a schoolboy who loves dancing and poetry. They are very kind with each other, but fight over a small thing. They are insignificant and weak.
Humpty Dumpty is an arrogant and sensitive character, who sees himself as a master of words. He is rude and unwise and deserves what he gets. White Knight is a kind, tender, and noble, despite his awkwardness. He wants to be clever, but fails.
He greatly enjoys Alice’s company. He is Carroll’s counterpart in this book. Themes and SymbolsThemes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in this literary work. Chess as Metaphor for Fate Alice’s journey through Looking-Glass is guided by a set of strict rules that help her along her way to an inevitable conclusion.
In the chess game, Alice has no power over the course of her life, and forces affect her decisions and actions. During the start of the game, Alice is just like a pawn with limited motion. She has limited abilities to affect outcomes and doesn’t really know the rules of the game. And so an unseen hand helps her to her journey, forming different circumstances and events that lead her along towards the goal.
Even though she wants to be queen, she must learn to abide by the rules of the game, and slowly discovers that each move she makes draws her to the goal. This is the concept of life, free will is a myth because choices are bound by rules that control our decisions. Language as a Means to Order the World In the book “Through the Looking-Glass”, language is able to foresee and even make some events to happen. Alice recites rhymes on several times in the story, which causes the characters to do the actions in the rhymes that she described.
Words that are not just describing the events that are happening, it also give actions to the characters just by being spoken. Just like Humpty Dumpty’s fall didn’t took place until Alice describes the classic nursery rhyme. The flowers reinforce this law by stating that “a tree can fend off enemies with its bark.” In the normal world of language, there is no relationship between a tree’s bark and the bark of a dog, but in the world of The Looking glass, this similarity results as a common ground of meaning.
The Loneliness of Growing Up All through her adventures, Alice feels an inevitable feeling of loneliness in which she can find no peace. Alice only friends are her pet cats, which she treats like real people to keep her company before entering the world of The Looking Glass. Upon entering the new world, she looks for kindness from every character she meets, but she is disappointed most of the time.She is treated badly by the characters and she becomes sad.
The only character who showed Alice a little bit kindness is the White Knight. But in the end he must leave when Alice reaches the other side of the board and will be a Queen. The concept of her dreams is the anxieties of growing up and becoming an adult. Because Alice believes that being alone is a natural part of growing up, it reflects on her dreams the thought of being alone.
MotifsMotifs are events in a book that help build up the theme of the story. Here are some of the motifs found in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and their meanings.Inverse ReflectionsThe environment and the way things are reversed in Looking-Glass World. Results go before the process, just like “starting with the ending of a story and then ending at the beginning.
These odd events test the way Alice thinks. Many of Alice’s experiences exist as insignificant events. Alice sees a new, inverted view on life as she wanders forward and backward through this world. Dream Alice falls asleep at the start of Through the Looking-Glass, just like in of Alice in Wonderland.
The story takes place in Alice’s “dream” so that we experience her journey by her thoughts of the Looking-Glass House, the chess game, and her quest to be queen. The characters and things that she encounters live as a mixture of her memories, spontaneous creations of her dreaming mind. Carroll uses the dream motif to make some characters Looking-Glass World from the people in life of his real-life, like Alice Liddell. ChessThe chess game in which Alice becomes a part of, serves as the mechanism for her journey in world of the Looking-glass.
Alice’s journey is basically abiding by the rules of a game. The movements of the characters represent the movements of their particular pieces. The queens of each side have a broad view of the board, since queens can move in any direction and as many blocks in a turn. The kings of both sides can go in any direction but only one space at a time.
This is why the king couldn’t chase the queen when she runs away, because she moves too far and too fast. Alice as a pawn can only move one space at a time, with exception to her first move, which she can go two spaces. But when she reaches the last square and becomes a queen, is when she can see the whole board. As she moves to catch the Red Queen which ends up in a checkmate of the Red King, concluding the game causing Alice to wake up.
Train ImageryTrains appear regularly to give emphasis to the feeling of continuous forward motion that rules over Alice’s adventure to becoming a woman. The Red King’s snoring is compared to the sound of a train. As she skips forward she sees herself on a train, headed towards her goal in the game. The train imagery symbolizes the inevitable movement to adulthood.
SymbolsSymbols are things places characters events that take place in the story which have other meanings than the ones they present. The RushesRushes are plans that grow in rivers and their tips are seen at the surface of the water. The vanishing of the rushes’ symbolizes to the lapse of the memory when a person wakes up from a dream. The Sleeping Red KingTweedledum and Tweedledee told Alice that she is part of the imagination of the Red King as he dreams, which means that Looking-Glass World did not come from Alice’s dream.
The Red King becomes a figure of “divinity” that made up all of Alice’s journeys. The concept stated by Bishop Berkeley is that “we are all just creations of a dream from a higher power”. Berkeley is a philosopher and a writer during Carroll’s time which believed that man and the universe is just a part of God’s imagination (Stock 2001). Conclusion We live in troubled times.
Maybe it’s the millennium, maybe its political correctness, but reasons never that is why we suspect, conspiracies in such literary works. Lewis Carroll is single unusual man from the Victorian era whose life is lived through the entertainment and depictions of little girls tend to make people nervous. (Calhoun 1998) Critics have said that the book is a result of drug abuse by Caroll which can’t be helped because, the widespread use of opium during his life time is reflected in Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. Mind bending experiences from narcotics relate nicely to some of the specific descriptions in the books, such as Alice’s changing of sizes and the caterpillar smoking the hookah.
The complicated dream environment which Alice lives through may be compared to a drug reaction. The thought of eating a mushroom or drinking from a bottle that causes one to feel odd in some way parallels drug effects as well. (Connell 1997) An allegation arose Carroll used the “fungus ergot”, which is a drug that can cause a high experience at large doses, and was used as a medical treatment during the 19th century. While artists and poets have used drugs, Lewis Carroll was most likely a brilliant man with an incredible imagination because there is no factual evidence for the charges that Carroll took drugs at that time.
Similar charges happened to Robert Lewis Stevenson with his book of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), but still there was no factual evidence. (Twayne, 1990)Caroll’s love for little girls suggests that he is a pedophile because of his photographs of nude girls and his sketchbooks having his own sketches of nude or semi-nude girls — have all led to this speculation.
The issue has been controversial, with some arguments that child nude photos were common during that time. (Cohen 1996.)Is it possible that either view of him is correct that he was not the pedophile or the pure reverend?It is possible that our rude categories and views of romantic feeling, cannot be enough for someone like Caroll? It is impossible for us to imagine a man who falls in love with little girls without wanting to put him to jail. The sensitivity, for those of us who are still caught up in the paranoid thinking now a days, are hard to understand.
When one thinks of a pedophile, the thought of a immoral, drooling love, but that is not Lewis Carroll. His love is delicate and yet torturing due to the fact that he cannot marry, his warmth, his odd passion, more complex and complicated than anything to be described by a single word. (Bloom 1987) Charles Dodgson’s family’s wish to destroy all of his papers immediately after his demise, and their refusal to allow any evidence to be shared to the people meant that the first hand evidence remained lost or non-existent until the second half the present century. A myth behind the name “Lewis Carroll” had began even while Dodgson is still alive.
In the lack of evidence, and the unwillingness of his family to participate for biographical purposes, empowered this myth in an extraordinary and strong way. When early biographers wrote their studies of Lewis Carroll, due to the lack of evidence, they had no choice but to fill their books with the other things of this myth. (Karoline Leach1999) I’ll end my paper of the works of Caroll with a few controversies surrounding his life. I do not judge books based on the biographical details about authors, but I can value why people are intrigued in the life of Lewis Carroll.
What’s the fuss? Lewis Carroll is a is just a part of the man Charles Dodgson, a man born on 1832 and died 1898.He is the writer of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” which is a collection of contains the stories used to tell Alice Liddell his boss’s daughter. A man interested in photography of little girls, who are naked or not. To my mind, this shows the danger of applying facts about the writer’s life to their work; facts might just be wrong or inadequately recorded.
I feel that we have a little knowledge of the time Caroll lived, which ends up to a failure in understanding of how the people of the time think or act the way they did. I don’t want to be like as a neutral and silent critic, not willing to admit a subliminal message on a nice, sweet story. with this, my analysis of the books are “the things a little girl must go through the hardships of growing up and the consequences of being an adult.”.
I think that the historical method will not even be possible with any certainty looking from our life time to Caroll’s life time, and so that only with the conclusions of that the case of Carroll’s life don’t make to a convincing case. “It is not how you intend to do your work or how other people see it that is important it’s the way you made them think of other things rather than just seeing the book by the way it is written”. Work CitedAda Calhoun, The man who loved girls, – October 12, 1998http://www.alice-in-wonderland.
net/explain/alice804.html (accessed May 11, 2008) Bill Gibron May 16 2007 Alice Through the Looking Glass: And What Alice Found There,http://www.popmatters.com/pm/books/reviews/38809/alice-through-the-looking-glass-by-lewis-carroll (accessed May 11, 2008)Bloom, Harold, ed.
Lewis Carroll. New York: Chelsea Hose Publishers, 1987.http://www.omegabrands.
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com/reviews/alice.htm (accessed May 11, 2008)Joseph Stock, An Account of the Life of George Berkeley, D.D. Late Bishop of Cloyne inIreland, 2001 http://www.maths.tcd.ie/~dwilkins/Berkeley/Stock/Life.html (accessedMay 10, 2008);Karoline Leach Times Literary Supplement, Myth in the Making May 3 1996 – articlehttp://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/explain/alice803.html (accessed May 9, 2008)Lewis Carroll: A Biography by Morten Cohen, Vintage, 1996.http://www.popstarsplus.com/authors_lewiscarroll.htm (accessed May 11, 2008);Lewis Carroll by Richard Kelly, Twayne, 1990.http://www.popstarsplus.com/authors_lewiscarroll.htm (accessed May 11, 2008)Opium as a Possible Influence upon the Alice Books By Kate Connell – ’97 (1993)http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/explain/alice816.html (accessed May 11, 2008)Sunghyun Kim, ‘Political Unconscious in Fantastic Narrative: Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland(Korean)’, Yonsei University Graduate School, 2005