Alice’s Growth In Wonderland: Confusion, Transition And Maturity Stages

May 18, 2022 by Essay Writer

Lewis Carroll, who is the author of Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, is a famous British fairy tale writer, mathematician and logician. Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland is one of his representative works. The book tells the growth of a little girl, Alice, from the rabbit hole fall into a magical world, and met many creatures and experienced many beautiful adventures; At the same time, she is continuously learning about herself and growing up. According to the development of the plot, this paper chooses the clauses related to the protagonist Alice and divides the selected provisions into three stages: confusion stage, transition stage and maturity stage.

Alice, the protagonist of the story, who is full of endless curiosity about the world, believing that the world is composed of a series of logical and orderly. However, after she was entering the Wonderland, all her cognition has continuously been attacked and denied, and she has been in the crisis of ‘self-identity.’ In Alice confusion period, Lacan’s concept of Mirror Stage could explain. The theory based on Lacan’s observations of babies in front of a mirror. Children who age from six to eighteen months(pre-linguistic stage), they identify their mirror images by the reflection in the mirror, known as the ‘Mirroring Stage.’ At this stage, the baby recognizes himself in the mirror and, although he does not speak, expresses his joy at the discovery with unique facial expressions and excitement. Such a reaction marks the beginning of a baby’s self-knowledge.

After Alice entering the wonderland, she seems to fall into the ‘mirror phase,’ but she does not realize that she has fallen into a virtual world. The original self-cognition consistently denied, and she starts to confirm the new self-cognition. Lacan emphasis that the only thing need to think of the mirror phase as an identification process in the full sense. After the formation of the self, it is not invariable, but a continually changing process of development. Falling into the new world, Alice’s old self will gradually disintegrate under the influence of the new environment and form a new person. In the mirroring stage, the relationship between the child and his image is an imaginary one. Children and ‘false self’ seem to be harmonious and complete, but in fact, they establish a desired relationship with their young bodies, which reflects the narcissistic nature of children. Alice can also reveal children’s self-deception. As she fell down the rabbit hole, for example, she thought to herself, “ ‘[a]fter such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down-stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!’(which was very likely true)”(Carroll, 64). For another example, in chapter 3, when the mouse is telling Alice what happened to it, Alice does not pay attention to it, and also satirizes the story of the mouse as long as its tail(Carroll, 82). This kind of contempt for the other is another form of narcissism. This narcissistic desire runs through the whole growth process of Alice, which is an essential characteristic of children in the ‘Mirror Stage.” Then Alice starts to change from her confusion stage to transit stage.

In facing this upside down world, as a little girl, Alice did not run away from it but longed for understanding and discovery. She slowly changed her mind in constant self-reflection and self-adjustment. When she found out that the Duchess’s baby was a pig, she no longer thought it was ridiculous, even comparing human babies to pig babies, saying they were equally respectable. It is seen from this that, as time goes by, Alice gradually begins to seek the ‘integration with the environment’ in her subconscious mind. Although wonderland subverts her previous belief and understanding of the real world, she still gradually learns to accept and adapt to the reversed order and starts to agree with abandoning the traditional social order. If the ego is a balloon, then the external other is the air. Alice’s cognition of herself also completed with the intervention of others. Alice, who has just entered the wonderland, is full of self-identity anxiety. Then, all other people in Wonderland, including animals and plants, exert influences on Alice, making her gradually adapt to the environment and accept the rules of Wonderland.

In this crazy world of illusion, Alice seems to be the only person who is awake. Her constant exploration and continuously ask who she is, at the same time, she continually exploring and constantly self-understanding, grow. Finally, Alice grows up to be a ‘big’ girl; when she suddenly woke up and realized that it is all a dream of her own. For example, in chapter four, the rabbit sent little Bill to Alice, when the white rabbit makes Alice his servant by mistake, Alice obeyed the white rabbit’s orders blindly, even though she found it is strange to follow the animals’ rules (Carroll,88). Alice accepts the command of an animal, which indicates that she gradually agrees with the reversed order and absurd behavior in wonderland. In the last chapter, when the court judges the knave of hearts, the queen insists on a sentence before a trial, and Alice punches the queen mercilessly, saying, “ ‘[W]ho cares for you?’ ‘ You’re nothing but a pack of cards(Carroll, 158)!’ ” Alice grew taller and taller, not afraid to interrupt the king. Alice believes that all the unjust and absurd things will give way to the just, natural, logical and wise thoughts. In terms of self-cognition, Alice changed from confusion to certainty to answer the question of who I am. At this time, Alice was eager to transcend the intervention and bondage of others. She wanted to integrate into the wonderland world from her anxiety at the beginning, turned to understand its absurdity and irrationality fully, and finally rose up against the autocratic ruler — the queen of hearts released her long-suppressed anxiety and fear and achieved the final self-realization.

Alice is a character who upbringing set by carol. Because Carol lived in the most prosperous Victorian age in England. In the while that the industrial revolution brought great material wealth, the social order was actually in chaos. The subversion of the law in the wonderland world was a metaphor for the significant changes in the social environment at that time. Living in this era, Carroll does not want to escape such society and return to his childhood all the time. Therefore, he asks Alice to lead him into a dreamlike wonderland world, trying to find the answer to how to dissolve himself, dissolve adulthood and even become a little girl. All in all, in the intervention and help from others, Alice is full of self-identity anxiety to achieve a certain degree of self-realization from confusion stage, transition stage and maturity stage, which reflects the confusion, struggle and pain in the growth process of children. Carroll also realized his self-identity to some extent by depicting a 7-year-old girl’s journey to Wonderland and achieve his identity construction in the creation of Alice’s adventures in wonderland perfectly.

Work cited

  1. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” About Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/a/alices-adventures-in-wonderland/about-alices-adventures-in-wonderland.
  2. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” About Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/a/alices-adventures-in-wonderland/about-alices-adventures-in-wonderland.
  3. CARROLL, LEWIS. ALICE IN WONDERLAND. FLAME TREE PUBLISHING, 2019.
  4. Mambo, Nasrullah. “ Lacan’s Concept of Mirror Stage.” Literary Theory and Criticism, 15 Dec. 2018, literariness.org/2016/04/22/lacans-concept-of-mirror-stage/.

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