Alice In Wonderland Essay, Research Paper
Through the writing of Lewis Carroll in the story Alice in Wonderland
the difference between fantasy and reality can be seen through the eyes of
a child. The stories created by Carroll are a combination of make believe stories made to entertain children he talked to on an almost daily basis. Seen as odd by adults in society Carroll better associated himself with children because of his stammering disability when speaking.
Carroll the man of many talents was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson on January 27, 1832. Out of a family of eleven children Dodgson was the oldest son and third child. As a child he was very academic and had many interest which he pursued after becoming a deacon in the Church of England. His many accomplishments include Mathematician, English logician, photographer, and novelist (”Carroll, Lewis”).
From the imagination of Lewis Carroll came Alice in Wonderland and many books like it created for children. These books have been compared and interpreted by adults around the world to get a better understanding of who Carroll was as a person. For ages children have enjoyed reading about Alice and her adventure but that story is not the only thing accredited to Carroll.
Carroll the man of many talents was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson on January 27, 1832. Out of a family of eleven children Dodgson was the oldest son and third child. As a child he was very academic and had many interest which he pursued after becoming a deacon in the Church of England. His many accomplishments include mathematician, english logician, photographer, and novelist (Cohen 52-3).
Later in life while writing humorous works he used the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Dodgson arrived at this pen name by taking his own name Charles Lutwidge, and translating it into Latin as Carolus Ludovicus, then reversing and retranslating them in to English. The pen name he used only for nonacadmemic works. He then in turn used his real name when writing books on mathematics such as Euclid and His Modern Rivals (1879) which is one of historical interest (”Carroll, Lewis”).
Carroll’s inspiration to write Alice in Wonderland came from his entertaining of the Liddell children. Under the supervision of the governess, Carroll read stories to entertain them on their visits to his college room, where he taught mathematics. The children’s father was dean of Christ Church College where Carroll taught (Hudson 264). Alice Liddell the oldest of the children was the one who begged Carroll to write the Alice Adventure’s out, he did so and gave it to her. When handing the finished product to Alice he never gave any thought about hearing about it again. In weeks to come Henry Kingsley the novelist picked up the story while sitting in the drawing room of the Liddell house. When Kingsley finished reading about Alice and her Adventurers he urged Mrs. Liddell to persuade the author to publish it. Carroll impressed by Kingsley’s suggestion consulted his friend George MacDonald. MacDonald read it to his children, in which they thoroughly enjoyed it and wished for “60,000 volumes of it.” Carroll then revised it and published it in 1865 (”Carroll, Lewis”).
It was all very well to say ‘DRINK ME,’ but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. ‘No, I’ll look first,’ she said ‘and see whether it’s marked “poison” or not’; for she had read several nice little histories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that if you cut your finger very deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked ’poison,’ it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later (Carroll).
In this passage from Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland(1865) by Lewis Carroll, Alice talks to herself, just after she gulps down the bottle labeled “DRINK ME.” Suddenly she finds herself to be large in size in comparison to her smaller surroundings. She now considers herself grown up.” Alice exists in a double state of reality; she sees that she exists “in” a fairy tale, yet fairy tales are magical and unreal like the ones she reads about. Therefore, through Alice, the reader sees Alice’s world of fantasy as reality.
Carroll uses dialogue in Alice in Wonderland to reflect the passionate feelings of his character Alice. At one point, in the story she exclaims that she is in the middle of a fairy tale, she is excited and animated. These feelings then disappear when she realizes that she is already “grown-up,” and she becomes upset over this realization. Alice almost convinces the reader that even though she exists in a fairy tale, all of her fantastic adventures with the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter are actually part of reality. With this she convinces the reader that this mystical adventure is really a true event (Hudson 25).
Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet ground in her life: it was all ridges and furrows; the croquet balls were live hedgehogs, and the mallets live flamingoes, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches (Collingwood 327)…
The players all played at once, without waiting for turns, quarreling all the while, and fighting for the hedgehogs, and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting ‘Off with her head!’, about once a minute (Collingwood 327).
The use of true fantasy is used when examining the relationship between the mad croquet game in the world of the Red Queen and a normal croquet game in Alice’s world in many ways parallels the relationship between Fantasy and Reality (Wallace 38-9). According to Eric Rabkin, (Quoted by George P. Landow in the web) Fantasies may be generally distinguished from other narratives by this: the very nature of the ground rules, of how we know things…the problem of knowing infects Fantasies on all levels, in their settings, in their methods, in their characters (Brownell). The very nature of the ground rules at the Queen’s croquet part is strange indeed, totally unlike anything Alice or any other dweller in the world of Reality has ever seen. In fact, Alice cannot “know” the rules of the game, or of the country at all, no matter how she tries, for to her they appear to be utterly arbitrary and inconstant. the characters also keep Alice firmly planted in the fantastic. The people she encounters are talking animals, mythical beats, and playing cards who follow a code of conduct unique to their homeland and totally foreign to Alice. The Queen is fond of sentencing her subjects to death for no particular reason, and (although not at the croquet party) babies turn into pigs, cats disappear but leave their smiles behind (Brownell).
In Carroll’s story Through the Looking Glass, simple language seems to establish a strange reality where double meanings of words stress a new dimension. The Queen plays with the word “way”, giving it another meaning from which it was originally intended. An example of that is when Alice is in the garden she says that she has lost her way and asks the Queen of Hearts for help, and the Queen says that all the “ways” belong to her, so then evidently it would have been impossible for Alice to have lost her way in the first place because she doesn’t have one. The Queen then requests that Alice “think” while she’s curtseying so that it “saves time” which establishes another seemingly absurd remark through the use of simple diction, which distorts reality.
Carroll is one Victorian writer that has influenced many generations of writers. His ability to take reality and change into fantasy has created the interest of interpreting his works. The capability of one man astonishes society and makes them want to know more about who he was and what he lived for. Carroll was the type of man that never settled seriously and enjoyed his time spent with children telling them stories. He learned many things that taught him to work with children. His interest in writing however had the greatest impact on society because of his use of absurdities, logic, satire, realism, and fantasy which always interests society.