Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland and Campbell’s Hero Monomyth
Joseph Campbell wrote about the hero monomyth after he discovered that most hero stories have a common pattern and storyline. Joseph Campbell’s hero monomyth is a theory he proposed that heroes follow in a narrative, especially in an adventure novel. His theory states that almost all heroes follow the steps of this patterned journey. Alice in Wonderland in its many media forms has been a very popular children’s story ever since it was published in 1865. The story written by Lewis Carroll for a girl he taught named Alice follows many of the steps in the hero monomyth. The story has been rewritten and produced in to multiple movies, plays, tv shows, musicals and even comic books. Carrolls version of Alice is the first and oldest but still follows Campbell’s theory of the hero monomyth.
Carrolls version starts with Alice sitting in a tree listening to a boring lesson from her older sister. She plays with her cat and imagines how happy she would be in a world of her own, of which she called Wonderland. She then sees a rabbit wearing a waistcoat and holding a pocket watch saying over and over “I’m late, I’m late.” This call to adventure is where Alice’s hero’s journey begins. According to the story written by Lewis Carroll, “she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole. In another moment down went Alice after it..”(3) Alice falls into a room with many doors along the walls. She catches a glimpse of the rabbit going through a tiny door and tries to follow him but the door is too small for her to go through. In order to go through the door or “cross the threshold,” as campbell would call it, she must undergo a series of ordeals (80). She drinks from a bottle labelled “drink me” which causes her to shrink to the size of the locked door. In order to get to the key for the door which she left on the table when she shrunk, Alice takes a bite from a cake which states “eat me”. After doing so she grows way past the height of the table nearly surpassing the size of the room. She shrinks yet again while crying and crosses the threshold into wonderland. Alice meets many people while following the rabbit. The people she met along the way are part of her tests as she has to figure out how to get away and continue her adventure but many tend to also be helpers. First she meets the Dodo bird who is conducting a race she joins in to dry off with the other animals even though she finds the race with no winner to be pointless. Continuing on her adventure Alice finds a friend in the Hatter along with a hare and a mouse. They do not really help her as much as they do in the movie depictions, but they host Alice’s Unbirthday tea party and wish her luck on her travels. Alice then meets a caterpillar who smokes from a hookah and asks, “who are you”. The caterpillar helps Alice by telling her to break off bits of the mushroom she is sitting on in order to return to her original size and she takes some with her. The Cheshire Cat is more of a helper according to Campbell’s definition or a supernatural helper in the world of adventure who fulfills this function”(ORIAS). The Cheshire Cat shows Alice all of the many ways to go and shows up to help her when she is in need but eventually leads her to the queen. Alice soon finds out that the queen is a tyrant. She is invited to a croquet match that is rigged for only the queen to win but Alice wins by mistake. This game of croquet is where the climax of the story begins. The queen is Alice’s enemy in the story, she beheads everyone and anyone. The queen beheads three gardeners who are painting the white roses red and wants Alice punished for embarrassing her. The Cheshire cat enrages the queen with his tricks, embarrassing her once again and she blames Alice for it. Alice faces an unfair and rigged trial and is convicted in her final battle. According to the story “she had grown so large in the last few minutes that she wasn’t a bit afraid.”(Carroll 58) She consumes her mushrooms and grows as she interrupts the king and tells the queen how much of a tyrant she really is. Alice yells at the pack of card sending them into the air, waking her up from her dream and into her sisters lap.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland almost conforms to Campbell’s hero monomyth but it lacks many steps and significant qualities of what makes a hero. Unlike Campbell’s Hero’s journey Alice doesn’t bring any reward out of the struggle nor an elixir and she does not have much of a climactic final battle although she disputes with the queen. According to Campbell’s hero monomyth “The object, knowledge, or blessing that the hero acquired during the adventure is put to use in the everyday world. Often it has a restorative or healing function.”(ORIAS) Unlike a more typical hero Alice does not transform, she believes everything she believed before the journey into Wonderland. She doesn’t share her wonder-ful story or her knowledge about nonsense but she does follow many steps in the pattern of a hero making her arguably a hero.
Satirical and Underlaying Elements of Victorian Society in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”
According to Auerbach, Alice is a challenge to Victorian norm, but at the same time she is also a representation of the dichotomy that used to mark the idea of women: she calls her an “amalgamation of the fallen woman with the unfallen child” .
Moving to sexuality, and for instance male sexual behaviour, Donald Rackin carries out an analysis of a possible satirical self-portrait of the author within the book. What Rackin indicates as a self-portrait of the author, could be considered more in general a good description of the common respectable middle-class Victorian that has to repress his sexuality. A representative source in order to understand this behaviour may be William Acton’s work, The Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs in Youth, in Adult Age, and in Advanced Life. Considered in Their Physiological, Social, and Psychological Relations , a book that explains that sex is therefore a problem, that “sexual maladies have physiological (rather than psychological) causes and that control and abstinence are the most appropriate remedies for them” . Acton states that sexual desire is dangerous for the society, against nature and religion and, moreover, that “intellectual qualities are usually in an inverse ratio to the sexual appetites” .
The ideal of the separation between head, as center of thinking, and body, as center of desire, is embedded in the narration, according to Rackin, through the character of the Cheshire Cat. The Cat can separate his head from the rest of his body, signifying a complete control over it. The way he talks, his ability of disappearing, everything suggests his superiority. Nevertheless, there are very few scholars that would sustain that the Cheshire Cat is a self-portrait of the author. In fact, characters identified with Lewis Carroll are struggling for reach a similar kind od of separation as the one shown by the Cat, but they are not at all as good as him. For instance, the White Rabbit and the White King , are considered burlesques of male celibacy and sexual neutrality. In their attempt to elevate their thinking, they result distracted, absent and ineffectual. White is supposed to stand for purity, but in this case means the self-deprivation of life force. They are opposed and as ineffective as the Queen of Hearts, an embodiment of ungovernable passions. They actually stand on opposite sides of the emotional balance. Rackin argues that even Carroll himself would have represented an extreme example of Victorian man, with his shyness, verbal evasiveness and sexual reticence. The man and the characters are weak and mutilated if compared to Alice: her curiosity, physical exertions, hunger for food and adventure, juxtaposed to the comical denial of body and bodily sexuality, are the core of the matrix of sexual-asexual dynamic in AAW.
Victorian morality was adopted also within ruling class and aristocracy, but there were some doubts about its application. In particular, lower classes seemed at the mercy of a far from impartial, and often corrupted, judicial system. A satirical portrait of this reality in AAW was likely in the intentions of Lewis Carrol. He was a man devoted to equality, author of several political pamphlets and not afraid of power. It seems that he even tricked Queen Victoria: after receiving her request to be the object of Lewis Carroll’s dedication in his next book, she appeared in the dedication of Some Considerations on Determinants , and not of Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There , as she would have expected.
Alison Lurie writes about subversive children literature in Don’t Tell the Grown-Ups: The Subversive Power of Children’s Literature and she uses AAW as an example. She argues that the pomposity and as rigorous as arbitrary etiquette of the Queen of Hearts’ court is nothing but a representation of Queen Victoria’s court. She tells that booth queens liked to surround themselves with reverent servants and rosebushes. As a matter of fact, rosebushes in time become one of the most iconic symbols of the Queen of Hearts:
Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two. Two began in a low voice, “Why, the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been a red rose-tree, and we put a white one in by mistake, and if the Queen was to find it out, we should all have our heads cut off, you know. So you see, Miss, we’re doing our best, afore she comes, to—”
The Cards are so afraid of the Queen and her temper to try to paint the white roses one by one. The imagine of the overbearing ruler is reinforced by the presence of a King, parody of the Prince Consort Albert, completely insignificant compared to his queen.
A further important critique to the ruling class regards parties, and it can be found in the episode of the Caucus-Race which is, as suggested by Laura White, a way to mock English political system . The caucus’s definition provided by the Oxford Living Dictionaries is: “A conference of members of a legislative body who belong to a particular party or faction” . The satirical connotation of the Caucus-Race is evident in its description:
First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (“the exact shape doesn’t matter,” it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no “One, two, three, and away,” but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half- an-hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out, “The race is over!” and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, “But who has won?” (…) At last the Dodo said, “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.”
The arbitrariness and inutility of this kind of race make it absolutely ridiculous and carries Carroll’s idea of the internal-dynamics of parties. Since there is no way to determinate a winner everybody wins, but at the same time, there are no losers, so the victory is quite overestimated. In the end, Alice finds herself obliged to look in her pockets to give to each participant a prize, such ending suggests the great impact of an absurd activity treated like a serious business.
In the last two chapters of the book Alice attends a trial. The Knave has been accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts, and now is going to be judged. As it happened for the Caucus-Race, also the trial takes place without order or meaning, but following a pointless formality. Donald Rackin states that, many adult readers, who had been in court before, would have recognized similarities between the Knave of Hearts’ trial and the real ones, insanely unjust and prejudiced . Hence, Carroll’s satire of the judicial system follows the development of the trial, putting into question the practice of law not only in Wonderland, but even in England. The judge is impersonated by the King, who looks hilarious because he wears the wig over the crown, representing his ambiguous role of judge and monarch at the same time. The jurors are busy writing things before the beginning of the trial, when asked the Gryphon says that they were “putting down their name (…) for fear they should forget them before the end of the trial.” . The first witness is the Hatter, very nervous because he did not manage to finish his tea before entering the courtroom. On one hand, the King keeps asking him questions that have nothing to do with the trial, threatening him of death while, on the other hand, the Queen who has recognised him as the man that murdered time at the last concert, would like to execute him no matter what. There is too much pressure for the Hatter to answer and, in fact, they let him go without adding any kind of evidence. During the trial Alice starts growing and catches the King’s attention, the discussion that follow results in an example of contradiction and factionalism:
“Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.”
Everybody looked at Alice.
“I’m not a mile high,” said Alice.
“You are,” said the King.
“Nearly two miles high,” added the Queen. “Well, I shan’t go, at any rate,” said Alice;
“besides, that’s not a regular rule: you invented it just now.”
“It’s the oldest rule in the book,” said the King.
“Then it ought to be Number One,” said Alice.
The King’s attempt to exclude Alice from the trial is evident, but the girl’s objection is legit: the oldest rule should be the first. Such contradiction suggests that the King is inventing rules only to achieve his aim. In general, the King seems to understand only what he wants, in fact, when the White Rabbit brings a letter as proof of the Knives guilt, the King turns the lack of evidence about the fact that the Knives could be the actual writer into an aggravation:
Please your Majesty,” said the Knave, “I didn’t write it, and they can’t prove I did: there’s no name signed at the end.”
“If you didn’t sign it,” said the King, “that only makes the matter worse. You must have meant some mischief, or else you’d have signed your name like an honest man.”
This reasoning does not make sense, but it provokes a general clapping of hands. What makes Alice really angry and, according to Donald Rackin, makes Wonderland explode , is the final declaration of the Queen “Sentence first – verdict afterwards” . Rackin also states that, during the trial, Alice loses faith in Wonderland and renounces to find some kind of logic in it, this would be the reason why she wakes up at the end.
During the nineteenth century Victorian England was living the imperial experience, the British Empire was expanding while new lands and cultures were discovered. What follows is an encounter of cultures and, quite often, an aggression against the foreignness perpetrated by the British Empire. Daniel Bivona, in “Alice the Child-Imperialist and Games of Wonderland” , argues that Alice’s approach to Wonderland is deeply marked by an imperialistic attitude.
Alice’s imperialistic attitude comes from her incapacity of understanding the other culture, assuming that, only because she can not understand it, it must be devoid of logical rules. The girl does not contemplate the idea of fitting in somebody else’s shoes. For example, when she meets the Caterpillar, she assumes that he must understand her being confused by the physical changes she has been through:
The Caterpillar was the first to speak. “What size do you want to be?” it asked. “Oh, I’m not particular as to size,” Alice hastily replied; “only one doesn’t like changing so often, you know.” “I don’t know,” said the Caterpillar. Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in her life before, and she felt that she was losing her temper. “Are you content now?” said the Caterpillar. “Well, I should like to be a little larger, sir, if you wouldn’t mind,” said Alice: “three inches is such a wretched height to be.” “It is a very good height indeed!” said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).
As a matter of fact, for a caterpillar, being three-inch-tall and evolution, since he will become a butterfly, are quite common. Metamorphosis is part of Wonderland and as such it must be accepted. Yet, Alice’s ethnocentrism, is reinforced by the Caterpillar refusal of comprehend her foreignness as well.
Bivona states that, the basis of the social and cultural structure of Wonderland, have to be found in the games that Alice observes during her stay . Initially, the girl simply finds absurd the Caucus-Race and the Mad Tea-Party, claiming their nonsense, but in the case of the trial she interferes with Wonderland’s law becoming physically and verbally aggressive. Most of her indignation against the rules that she considers brutal, is a complete misunderstanding of Wonderland’s linguistic. Bivona suggests that a performative order such as “Off with his head!” pronounced by the Queen, has no fulfillment in Wonderland, while “killing time” could cause a serious and furious reaction by Time himself. Alice assumes that the first order must carry performative force only because in her Country it would operate that way. In this concern, Bivona uses the term “semiotic imperialism”:
Alice’s “imperialism”, such as it is, is a semiotic imperialism: she is uncapable of construing, on a model radically different from here own, the “system” or “systems” that give meaning to the behavior of the creatures.
In order to be fair, she should not judge Wonderland and compare it to Victorian England on the basis of a blind ignorance of the rules that dominate the foreign Country .
Moreover, Alice collects a series of intrusions: she enters uninvited the Duchess’s house, the Mad Tea-Party and the Golden Garden. She is a transgressor, even if no-one openly remembers this concept to her. Nevertheless, there is one case, in “Advice from a caterpillar”, that her neck grows to the point she reaches the top of a tree and meet a pigeon. The Pigeon mistakes her for a serpent, complaining about their bad habits (obviously from the Pigeon’s perspective) of stealing birds’ eggs. Alice knows to be a girl, or at least not to be a serpent, but the Pigeon’s words are quite meaningful:
“I ’ve seen a good many little girls in my time, but never one with such a neck as that! No, no! You’re a serpent; and there’s no use denying it. I suppose you’ll be telling me next that you never tasted an egg!” “I have tasted eggs, certainly,” said Alice, who was a very truthful child; “but little girls eat eggs quite as much as serpents do, you know.” “I don’t believe it,” said the Pigeon; “but if they do, why then they’re a kind of serpent, that’s all I can say.”
These few words do not only satirise the Victorian Imperialism, but also the self-induced state of ignorance lived by Countries which exploit colonies taking all for granted. Alice literally walks in a land full of talking animals that in the real world would represent nothing but a meal and “exist for the purpose of being eaten by human beings like herself” . The protagonist perceives Wonderland as something to consume, her ethnocentric vision of reality prevents her from considering Wonderland’s inhabitants, society and culture on the same level of hers.
My Impressions From Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland Opinion Paper
Alice in Wonderland is a classic tale of a daydreaming little girl who goes on an adventure lost in the chaos of her own thoughts and fantasies. Children everywhere have marveled over the story for a century and a half since it’s publishing in 1865. Upon my own reading of the book, I considered the whimsical nature of the book and wondered whether all of the insanity was truly just insanity. Were there meant to be undertones of real world problems in all of that nonsense? Was the author suffering from delusions due to illness or using hallucinogens? Are characters in the book meant to be references to certain drugs? These are all common rumors that are often mentioned whenever Alice in Wonderland comes out in conversation. As it turns out, rumors are just rumors. Upon personal research, I discovered that a lot of these myths came about during the 1960’s and in fact Lewis Carroll, or by his true name Charles Dodgson, first recited the tale to his daughter before being prompted by her to write the story down. No drugs, no delusions, no political undertones, just whimsy and nonsense.
Reflecting on the story after learning this, it was much easier to look at it with the same childlike wonder that so many kids have over the years. It’s easy to get caught up in the confusion of Wonderland. It’s fascinating but in reality is not a very happy story, nor does it have the happiest ending. Sure, Alice escapes the trial by waking up but is the real world all that happy? She misses her cat but fails to mention her family beyond the boringness of the book her sister was reading to her. If the book lacks a sensible storyline, contains many bouts of tears for the main character, and fails to deliver a truly happy ending, why is it so popular? Although the majority of the book seems like pure absurdity, it’s easy to become attached to Alice. The story follows her through a lot of uncertainty and she often experiences strong emotions due to her confusion. No one appears to want to help her and any time she questions the absurdity of a situation, the other characters become angry or simply ignore her. It’s this attachment to Alice and the desire for her to find her way out safely that keeps us reading and wanting to see how she’ll work her way out of whatever nonsensical predicament comes up next. Walt Disney’s creation of the movie version of the book only amplified the story’s popularity and made it a classic children’s movie as well. Alice in Wonderland is wonderful tale full of whimsy and the curiosity of a child that will continue to be a classic children’s story in the coming generations.
Struggle Of Protagonist in Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, a Little Princess and Tom Sawyer
In any fictional narrative, a reader can expect to learn about a protagonist who has to overcome fantastical or dramatic obstacles in order to achieve a goal. An antagonist might stand between the protagonist and the goal, and the protagonist will have to display perseverance in the face of obstacles incurred along the way. What aspects of children’s literature separates this subgenre from this prototypical formula? What distinguishes children’s literature? The answer is fairly obvious: the target audience, and non-coincidentally the main characters, are children. Thus, the obstacles and the general plight of the main character are exasperated by the fact that they are children. Saving the day, escaping the clutches of evil, defeating a bad guy, and the other responsibilities of the protagonist comes much easier to a fully developed and fully functioning adult. Being the hero is much harder when the hero is “little”. The word “little” can be found early and often in each piece of selected children’s literature. The use of “little” carries a connotation in these pieces that indicates not just a smallness in stature, but also in status and capability. Littleness carries with it an implied lack of autonomy and ability.
There are 175 appearances of the word “little” in Tom Sawyer, 343 appearances in “The Little Princess”, and 143 appearances in “Tom Sawyer”. “Little” is far and away the most frequently occurring adjective in each of these narratives. This paper will argue that this commonality is through no coincidence, but rather illuminates a trend in how children’s literature is written and how the literature is meant to be consumed. Despite each having very different styles, plotlines, characters, and the like, they share this most common descriptor. For the purpose of this paper, this broad concept of commonality will be referred to as “Littleness”. Littleness, as I define it is the general state of being of protagonists in children’s literature. Children are inherently dependent; they need parents or authority figures. Whether it be transportation, food, or simply permission, children exist in a state of dependence. This dependence means that children have a lack of power and autonomy. This accompanying lack of power and autonomy is what I characterize as ‘littleness’. The frequency at which the word little appears in the selected novels defends this idea of “littleness” as pervasive theme in children’s literature. The protagonists must overcome their littleness. Tom, Alice, and Sara each must improvise and adapt, and display confidence, bravery, and wisdom beyond their years to overcome their littleness and the problems that confront them. Through analysis of word frequency in each book, one can visualize the confrontation between the protagonist and their respective littleness. Each narrative has an opposing word which is also frequently occurring, but occurring in moments of relative strength and bravery. The following paragraphs will defend why each selected word is representative of the characters perseverance over their littleness.
The narrator in Tom Sawyer often talks about the state of affairs between “little boys” and “little girls”. Twain could have sufficed to simply say boys and girls, or another adjective to characterize their size. However, he repeatedly uses “little”. This adjective dispowers the young characters in the novel. “Little boys” are much less capable than boys or men. Thus Tom being grouped into the category of a little boy is an obstacle he must overcome. After witnessing a murder and a man be falsely accused, Tom is forced to take on responsibility. In showing fortitude, bravery, and composure, Tom distinguishes himself from the little boy crowd. In writing “Tom Sawyer”, Twain is particularly concerned with knowledge as a representation of capability. The word “know” is among the most frequently occurring verbs within the novel. Tom is an extremely bright child and often utilizes his wit to overcome obstacles. When faced with an overwhelming task, Tom thinks outside of the box and looks for a means of accomplishing the goal. “Know” is the word that is in direct opposition of “little”. A comparative graph of the relative frequencies of “little” and “know” shows that as one word’s relative frequency rises, the other falls. The frequencies of the two respective words are inversely correlated. Twain does not use little as a descriptor in passages that “know” appears because these are passages in which Tom displays fortitude and bravery.
Contextual analysis only further defends this argument. For example, Tom’s ability to improvise is showcased when he gets out of painting his white picket fence, one of the more iconic scenes in American literature. While painting an entire fence with a small brush would be a tedious and pressing task for anyone. Being a child of small stature, painting this fence would be extremely daunting task. This task is microcosmic representation of Tom’s battle with his littleness. Tom’s intellect perseveres, as he cleverly convinces a friend that painting the fence was extremely enjoyable. “Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.” (Twain 17). Tom’s use of “know” is defiant and convincing. In moments such as these, Tom becomes more than just a little boy.
“The Little Princess” ironically features a young girl, who for much of the book is not considered a princess at all. After her father loses his fortune, Sara struggles with poverty and loneliness. She is now without power, and epitomizes what it means to be little. She is frequently described as little, so much so that Little is in the title of the narrative. The title is “The Little Princess”. However, through the course of the book the words “little” and “princess” almost never accompany one another. When the word “princess” appears, the word little is never an accompanying descriptor. Upon looking at the relative frequency chart of the word little and the word princess, the two graphs never overlap. Princess is a word that refers to power and autonomy for Sara. When the word princess is being used, Sara is in a position of power and making decisions for herself. “If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.” (Burnett 1963). Sara grapples with what it means to be a princess throughout the novel. The above passage is a rather explicit example in which Sara begins to overcome her littleness and gain a type of profound contentment. Sara realizes that she can be a princess even if others see her as poor. This is an example in which Sara finds wisdom, and feels that she is a princess rather than feeling little.
Alice’s plight can be best tracked through the occurrence of dialogue. Alice quite literally . When she grows, she believes herself to be a grownup, despite having gained no years in experience or maturity. She confuses her size as a mark of maturity. This is perhaps the most explicit reference to littleness and what it means to be little versus being grown. In instances where there are dialogue, Alice displays autonomy, confidence, and maturity. When there is dialogue she controls her own destiny, compared to her having events acted upon her. In moments where there is dialogue, there are choices from Alice. Littleness as I have defined it, is the absence of choice and independence. Where we see spikes in the relative frequency of “said”, Alice is more likely to be making decisions and overcoming her littleness.
“Little” makes a significant amount of appearances in the Alice in Wonderland series. There are far more mentions of the word towards the beginning of the book, with usage trending downward as the chapters go on. As Alice moves through her adventures she gains more and more confidence. Size and growth occur quite often throughout the books. Alice is often shrinking, and growing, and all the while confusing her size with what it means to grow as a person and become a grown up. “There ought to be a book written about me, that there ought! And when I grow up, I’ll write one—but I’m grown up now,” she added in a sorrowful tone, “at least there’s no room to grow up any more here.” But then,” thought Alice, “ shall I never get any older than I am now? That’ll be a comfort, one way—never to be an old woman— but then—always to have lessons to learn! Oh, I shouldn’t like that!” (Carrol 1949). By Alice existing in this fantastical world, author Lewis Carrol can manipulate this idea of littleness and comment on it. Alice is confused by what it means to be little. When she starts growing and expanding, she perceives this as becoming an adult. Alice believes that she will never grow old because she has already grown in size. Alice is troubled by this, because she wants to grow old to learn more. This in itself shows that Alice has a desire to better herself and grow as a person, despite her misunderstanding of aging and development. Alice’s commentary also serves as evidence that growing and escaping from littleness results in experience, autonomy, and power. Alice wants to grow old for the purpose of advancing intellectually and escaping her littleness. The further along she gets through her adventures, the less use you see the little. Given that “little” is a representation of powerlessness and naivety, it makes sense that as Alice gains confidence the word becomes less and less frequent. A best fit line of the frequency of “little” goes down in the books. However, a best fit line tracing the graph for the word “said” would reveal an increase as the book goes on. “Said” can be understood as Alice’s opposition towards her littleness. Said implies that there is dialogue. “Said” is the most occurring word in the novel, however a majority of its occurrences are in the second half of the book. When Alice can speak, she has some control over her actions. These are typically moments in which Alice has some freedom and choices, and can display bravery. Alice power in dialogue and choice is epitomized in the final scene of “The Looking Glass”. Alice the protagonist is little, while the Queen, the antagonist, is big. Alice is fed up with the queen, and finally gets extremely vocal about her discontentment. “The Red Queen made no resistance whatever; only her face grew very small, and her eyes got large and green: and still, as Alice went on shaking her, she kept on growing shorter—and fatter—and softer—and rounder—and—” (Carroll 1946). In this final scene of the book, the Alice becomes vocal, powerful, and autonomous. As she becomes vocal, the Queen shrinks. Suddenly the antogonist that was once big and therefore powerful, became little. Notice in the above passage, on one of the final pages of the saga, the Queen is described as little. This is the first description of the Queen as such. Alice has persevered in this moment, and overcome her littleness. Carroll has created a scenario to represent this literally by having the powerful antagonist and the powerless protagonist switch roles.
In each of the aforementioned narratives, the protagonists struggles with not only the obstacles in front of them, but because they lack power. Tom is little, and therefore standing up to Injun Joe is an extremely daunting task. The task would be difficult for any man, but is much harder for that of a child. Sara is powerless as a child, and cannot claim her fortune. She cannot take care of herself and thus has to answer to an authority figure in Ms. Minchin. Alice struggles with her size and status for the entirety of her adventures. Thus, the unifying theme, is that littleness as it has been described above, is difficult but not impossible to overcome. These authors show children who can succeed in their quests despites being little, and therefore each narrative can inspire hope for the future for chidren, along with the other morals and metaphors that come along with each respective book.
The Elements That Made Alice in Wonderland a Special Story
According to the Atlantic an article created by Niraj Chokshi a former staff editor at TheAtlantic.com, where he wrote about technology. “Alice was published in 1865 and has been adopted 25 times, according to Wikipedia (sorry, it was the most accessible, reliable database). Roughly 25 adaptations exist of Les Misérables, which was published in 1862 (the number may be higher, but I limited the count to eponymous titles) while there have been at least 27 adaptations of Crime & Punishment (1866)”. There are so many things like adventure and climax that can be explored through the book and filmed.
In the film or novel, there’s really no bystanders because the creators use everyone an object in a way to climax the story to another level. Examples include the Queen of Hearts’ people being questioned and treated to be railed in the climax. Another example includes, all the main characters helping Alice out in not letting the Queen of Hearts find her during her search and a random dog (which can speak) making in impact to risin the story to a startling impact. There’s no bystander during the movie, everyone in the movie have a role to follow and if it is not in the beginning then shortly after will come. During the literature or creative writing about rescuing in the book Alice in the Wonder created by Lewis Carroll is much more than an adventure.
During the book as described by shmoop “Alice visits the Duchess and rescues a baby, Alice is captured by a Red Knight and rescued by a White Knight”. Those examples show Alice being rescued or saved by other people powerful people or herself protecting others from potential doom. After Alice was saved from being captured by the Red Knight and rescued she continued her day and eventually rescued again in the way of her finding a way to head home thanks to her friends. Alongside many perpetrator deeds the queen have done that could be considered art. Examples includes capturing, torturing her people in which could be well describe through the art titled ‘ORIGINAL drawing Red Queen Alice in Wonderland, handmade,’ by Montana Tonny. She is a young artist which have mastered the art of the red queen to illustrate her as a foul monarch who is quick to decree death sentences at the slightest offense and is a queen that is considered trigger happy and wouldn’t think twice killing anyone that stood in her way.
The art behind the concept is attitude and excitement in which she shows during the book. Excitement comes from the reader once the mad queen does something horrible like beheading most of her people for trying to escape. There’s a play which represents the Drama that happens in Alice in the Wonderland that shows characters as a victim. The play represents the casts Waverlee Cooper as Alice, Rachel Belcher – The White Rabbit, Kierra Figgins – Mouse, Ethan McCollum as Duck, Abigail Noah / Rae Guidry as Dodo, Marlee Bird as Lory, Jade Clark as Eaglet and act. Created by Southeast Texas Arts Council in 2011 of the book in much childish and friendly way. The play counter the Disney Movie of Alice then the book thanks to its children friendly attitude and wording. The characters are shown really nice and are represent nice to the audience with a good concluding story.
John Tenniel and his Illustration of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll originally illustrated Wonderland himself, but his artistic abilities were sparse. An old engraver who had worked for Carroll in 1859 had reviewed Carroll’s drawings and had suggested him to employ a professional illustrator. Carroll was a consistent reader of ‘Punch’ magazine and was therefore familiar with Tenniel’s work. In 1865 after a long talk with Carroll, John Tenniel illustrated the first edition of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’
ABOUT THE ARTIST
John Tenniel was an illustrator from Britain and a political cartoonist famous in the later part of the 19th century. His artistic achievements were given recognition in 1893. John Tenniel is remembered as an important cartoonist for the Punch magazine where he worked for over 50 years, and for his illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (1865). Despite all the fame through Punch magazine, most of Tenniel’s fame are rooted from his illustrations for Alice. Tenniel drew ninety-two drawings for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Most often, Carroll gave Tenniel precise instruction on what must be drawn, which was not only about visual preference but also a special way to feature certain references into the story.
In addition, illustrators have a specified style, and are also knowingly and unknowingly influenced by their environment and past. Therefore Tenniel’s drawing style, jokes and other ‘trademarks’ are not essentially precise for the Alice books, but can also be found in his other works.
The Nazarene movement brought about a style that influenced many artists such as Tenniel. This style can be categorized as “shaded outlines” where the lines on the drawings are given extra thickness or are drawn as double lines proposing shading or volume. This style is also extremely precise, with the artist making a hard, defined outline along its figures.
After the 1850s, Tenniel’s style modernized to feature more detail in backgrounds and in figures. In addition to a change in background, Tenniel developed a new interest in human forms and expressions and that was something that carried over into Tenniel’s illustrations of Wonderland. Additional change in style was his shaded lines. These transformed from mechanical horizontal lines to actively hand-drawn hatching that greatly intensified darker areas.
Tenniel’s “grotesqueness is what attracted Lewis Carroll to let him illustrate for the Alice books. According to the dictionary, the grotesque is an abnormality that imparts the disturbing sense that the real world may have ceased to be reliable. Tenniel’s style was grotesque in his dark atmospheric compositions of exaggerated fantasy creatures that were carefully outlined. Often though, the idea was to use animal heads on recognizable human bodies or vice versa. In John’s illustrations, the grotesque is found also in the merging of things and deformities of the human body. Most notably done in grotesque fashion is that of Tenniel’s famous Jabberwocky drawing in Alice.
Scholars such as Morris say that Tenniel’s stylistic change can be attributed to the late 1850s trend towards realism. For the grotesque to operate, “it is our world which has to be transformed and not some fantasy realm.” These subtle points of realism help convince readers that all these apparent grotesque inhabitants of Wonderland are just themselves, are simply real, they are not performing. The Alice illustrations combine fantasy and reality.
Image and text
The placement of Tenniel’s illustrations on the pages is one of the elements to be noted. There was a smart and subtle mix of illustrations with the text. Carroll and Tenniel wished to express this in various ways, one of the many being bracketing. Two relevant sentences would bracket an illustration, which might define the moment better.
Tenniel agreed on designs with Carroll, drawing them on whitened blocks of dense boxwood. The engravers then worked on the block, carving out the blank parts so the image stood in relief. Then the drawings were engraved to their highest standards, by the Dalziel Brothers. In October 1864, the Dalziels recommended printing Alice’s illustrations direct from the woodblocks. This method gave the finest results. Thousands impressions could be made from woodblocks, but they could not survive an industrial-scale printing.
Carroll appears to have ordered many (expensive!) changes to them. Ignoring the Dalziel’s advice, he decided to follow mass production techniques, using metal replicas of the woodblocks called electrotypes. It is lucky he did so; no one predicted how popular Alice would be, and the woodblocks would not have survived the many editions printed. The process of creating the wood-blocks was quite difficult, hence, sometimes, concessions had to be made to the overall design of the illustration. Such as, a character would be moved to a different position
ABOUT THE IMAGE
The untouched illustration by John Tenniel is like a visual paradox, where the caterpillar’s face appears to be formed from the head and legs of a real caterpillar. Although the original illustrations are black-and-white, in Alice’s Adventures Under ground and in The Nursery Alice, the Caterpillar is described as being blue.
The Caterpillar is the first character who makes a real effort to guide Alice on her journey. Since she’s tired of growing larger and smaller due to events beyond her control, the Caterpillar teaches her to eat parts of the mushroom to control her size and thereby to familiarize to her environment when needed. The Caterpillar is rather strict and not very friendly, and corrects Alice’s recitation of a poem, but he also teaches her to cope with difficult situations she encounters in Wonderland. In the end, he crawls away.
Some critics, and especially people in popular culture, see the Caterpillar as an agent of drug culture, since he’s smoking hookah and shows Alice how to eat a magic mushroom. This caused controversies about banning the book completely. But I believe the Caterpillar is actually a laid-back guru who helps Alice figure out how to control the imaginative world that she’s exploring. The Caterpillar also tells Alice that changing in size and shape isn’t always a bad thing- after all, one day the caterpillar will metamorphose into a butterfly, and instead of being frightened it will be the highlight of his life.
According to a few, the Caterpillar’s mushroom also has multiple symbolic meanings. Some readers and critics look at the Caterpillar as a sexual threat, its phallic shape a symbol of sexual virility. The Caterpillar’s mushroom connects to this denotative meaning. Alice must master the properties of the mushroom to gain control over her fluctuating size, which represents the bodily frustrations that accompany puberty. Others view the mushroom as a vibrant hallucinogen that encapsulates Alice’s surreal and distorted insight of Wonderland.
Much against popular belief, Alice Liddell was not the Alice of Tenniel’s pictures. Carroll supposedly sent Tenniel a photograph of a child-friend and suggested her as a model for Alice. However, whether he actually did that is debatable, especially because by the time Carroll was supposed to have acquired the photograph of her, Tenniel and Dalziel had already completed several engravings.
Lewis Carroll wanted to keep Alice fashionable. That is why her dress changes, when you compare the illustrations of her in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, “Through the Looking Glass and what Alice found there”, and “The Nursery Alice”. For example, the creases in the skirt she wears in “The Nursery Alice” where high in fashion in 1886, when the book was supposed to come out. However, Carroll hated crinoline fashion. Therefore he objected to several pictures drawn by Tenniel, in which Alice was wearing a crinoline skirt after she became a queen. Tenniel redrew the illustrations. When you take a close look at the picture of the Caterpillar, you’ll see that his nose and chin are really two of its legs, which throws light at the grotesque style of Tenniel.
COPYRIGHTS AND TRANSLATIONS
All works published during the lifetime of Lewis Carroll are out of copyright (also known as “in the public domain”) throughout the world. The black and white illustrations that were commissioned by Lewis Carroll for his works are also out of copyright. This applies to John Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ,Through the Looking-Glass, and The Nursery “Alice”. The story has been translated into 174 different languages. In 2015, 7,609 published editions have been identified all over the world, and the number keeps increasing. The public domain has unchained remarkable creativity, while still letting content creators make plenty of money.
In 1981, the original wood-blocks by Dalziel were found in a bank vault where they had been deposited by the publisher. They are in the collection of the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Their quality is striking. Key details, like Alice’s eyelashes are far more delicate than published versions. They are not usually on public display, but were exhibited in 2003.
The Ransom Centre holds several collections related to Lewis Carroll and Alice’s books. The Warren Weaver collection holds first drafts of Carroll’s poetry, fiction as well as translations of the books into several languages. One of the rare books in this collection is a copy of the original 1865 edition called “India Alice”.
“Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” Analysis
The highly debatable topic of whether a movie supersedes its book equivalent is one that has survived years of book club meetings, classroom discussion and as of recent, social media debates (says who? ). The comparison of a book to its movie is one of the greatest thoughts that approaches the forefront of a person’s mind once they have invested the time into reading the literature and later dedicating time to the scrutiny of the on-screen production. More, often than not, the book is said to be the victor of the two once a successful comparison is made (T. 06) (is this correct citation? ).
The rationale behind my research arrived when I began to contemplate “Which was better? ” after the question became more popular when several novels began to appear on the big screen. As a result, I chose my favorite book to be suitable test subject in order to examine in grave detail what makes people think that they have to decipher which had been better, and under what circumstances is one better than the other. This allows me to bring forth the question “How does the 1865 novel of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll thematically, religiously and stylistically differ from that of the 2010 movie version “Alice in Wonderland” by Tim Burton? ” It is commonly perceived by many, all around the world, that if a movie is derived from a book, the odds that the movie is more enticing than the book is less likely to occur, and the book will take precedence as the more favourable of the two, in more instances than one (T. 06).
This study was even noticed among the comparison of The Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters film to it’s movie equivalent and amongst The Hunger Game Series films and their movie equivalents. In both instances, it was said that the movie was an excellent production and admirable attempt of replication of the book, however, “they just don’t have the same inclusion as the book” or “it didn’t have the same feel to it” (T. 06).
The common thread, in my opinion, as to why this occurs is because the movie seemingly fails to incorporate details that had been important to the reader’s of the book; Instead, the focus is the director’s interpretation, and the desired time frame to bring across all the ideas in which he deems necessary. In conducting research I decided to look no further than my favorite book as well as movie in order to bring forth an unbiased? comparison between book and movie. The world renowned novel, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by the original author Lewis Carroll, 1865, and the movie, “Alice in Wonderland” by the prestigious director of children films, Tim Burton, 2010, are my chosen literature pieces that I have decided to research.
The novel does not pose to differ from the popular opinion that it is better than the movie, however, the impeccable graphic and interest-grabbing storyline does essentially act as competition between each of them (T. 06). I believe that a book simply cannot be compared to a movie because the author and the writer experience of two extensive thought patterns that are influenced by the culture that they are apart of and the era in which they live. The main purpose of this essay is to assemble the similarities and differences present in the film based on the themes, the dominant thought altering religious aspects (what do you mean by this? ), and literary and visual stylistic features prominent in both. In completion of this task, the reader will be familiar with the evidences prominent within the movie and novel which brings each story to life and then will be allowed to decipher which appears to be the more favoured of the two.
Lewis Carroll born in the early 1800’s as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who is the author of the highly accredited children’s novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865. As an author born in the Victorian era, an era marked by the reign of Queen Victoria, Carroll had been greatly impacted by this, as seen by the prominence of power that female characters have in the novel. Known for being a “logical man” who had been “constantly inventing more effective methods of completing a task”, Carroll is recognized for his invention of multiple games from croquet to word games, and several rules from tennis to parliament (Brady, 98). More about carroll? What does this have to do with his writings? Carroll never failed to relate his life to that of the paramount characters in his books, with the story of Alice being no different.
For instance, Carroll had been known for having an “obsession with eating” a characteristic of his, prominent in the works of Alice’s Adventures (Brady, 98) When Alice eats, there is “negative connotation” associated with her consumption whereby after ingestion, she grows and towers over all that surround her to enormous and unwanted heights (Brady, 98). Simply one of the many instances that he is able to brilliantly include features his life into his production. The intricate details displayed in his writing, allows for one to not second guess the reason for his ability to be the recipient of his accolades, including the recipient of an eponymous award, the Lewis Carroll Bookshelf Award, “awarded to books that are similar to the works of Alice in Wonderland”.
· Why it is that I chose this specific topic
· Information about the original text and the most recent movie.
· Information about the author of the book as well as the most recent movie.
· Themes, structure, purpose, issues present in the movie and the book, both contrasting and similar.
· Speak to the day and age in which it was written and state the difference in the demeanor of the different characters and state whether the age is why the author or director portrayed them in the ways they did.
· Introduce characters, both in the book and movie of main focus and ensure to elaborate on character traits, possibly according to time period or according author.
· State why I think there is a difference in the way that characters had been portrayed.
· Give proper thesis, stating what I plan to present based on my question, and state that it is based off the first book and the last movie. ***I want this to be the last thing I do, because as I continue I am going to be finding more information about both authors. The forthright or ambiguous source of the underlying essence of any literary work, is what epitomizes excellence in any form of literature (Author unknown). A theme in any source of literature can be referred to as the moral of the story even though a theme does not have to be a moral.
I believe themes that are prominent in novels and motion pictures act as the backbone of which a production is established. Tim Burton, the director of the outstanding film Alice in Wonderland along with his predecessor Lewis Carroll, the author of the highly lauded novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland accentuate what it means to have “something to say between the lines” (Robert Wise, n. d. ). In both forms of literature the most outstanding themes throughout, aid in the intellectual development of vivid production as the story follows its series of events. In this aspect of the essay, I will be exploring in great detail the similarities and the differences present amongst the themes in the movie as well as the book. Similar themes present in both include growing up, identity, and curiosity. Themes that differ in the book and the movie help to set each form of literature apart from each other. One of the more predominant themes in both the movie and book alike is that of growing up, from childhood to adulthood.
The theme takes precedence at the forefront of each form of literature as an exaggerated metaphor whereby Alice’s growth, both literally and mentally while on her adventures in wonderland, differ greatly from those that occur in the real world (same citation). This allows the reader to question the relevance of physical and mental growth acting as one of the many morals of the stories. The world as perceived by Alice acts as a frame in which many children view the adult world and the big problems and encounters that they anticipate are present.
Whenever Alice was to come across a task that proved to be difficult, like to consult with the Red Queen in the movie or becoming small to fit through the garden in the book, growth would constantly take place. It is even thought that Alice may have been able to control her growth however this is quickly proven to be false when she begins to grow once more. This unpredictability present in her growth process can be related back to the real world in the sense that we cannot predict what growing up will be like because it is out of our control. Alice is tasked with attempting to comprehend the confusion of the adult world, a world that lacked curiosity, excluding questions that had been familiar to children like “why? “.
The Role of Mayhem in Alice in Wonderland
In Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, much of the sequence and dialogue seems chaotic and nonsensical, leaving the reader to interpret its meaning and purpose. Being that the entire story occurs within a dream, Carroll has the freedom to play with subconscious notions of existence, reality, and most pertinently, societal intercourse. Interaction plays a large part in the progression of the novel, and Alice’s prejudices and reactions demonstrate her own indoctrination concerning how that interaction should be carried out. She meets with several different characters, each with his or her own relative position in the real world (or waking world) who behave in ways disproportionate to their status. Consequently, through ridiculous monologues, insane characters, and chaotic situations, Carroll employs nonsense as a vehicle to expose the absurdity of the excessive reliance on order, conformity, and institutions inherent to society.
Throughout the majority of the novel, Alice exposes much of the absurdity in Wonderland. At other times, however, her own reactions betray hints of her own reliance on the niceties that society feels it necessary to maintain in an attempt to display order in even the simplest events. On many occasions, Alice is appalled by the lack of manners expressed by those whose titles presuppose ‘good breeding’. The two characters most notable for evoking such sentiments are the Queen of Hearts and the Duchess.
Alice first encounters the Duchess at her home, while she is nursing her baby. Alice makes an inquiry as to why the cat grins, and the Duchess tells her curtly that all cats can grin. I don’t know of any that do, Alice said very politely (Carroll 61) and the Duchess rudely replies, You don’t know very much. (61) Alice is put out by her rudeness, more because she expected more from a Duchess than because of her unkindness. She was not as bothered by the impertinence of the footman since his rank implies his ineptitude in the realm of courtesy.
On the next encounter that Alice has with the Duchess, she seems far more civil. Alice feels obliged to forgive her past offensiveness because she believes that perhaps it was only the pepper that had made her so savage… (86) The reader, however, can surmise more from her apparent duality. The rude behaviour occurred in her own home whereas her politeness is brought out when she is in the presence of the rest of society. Furthermore, it seems that fear for her life has driven the Duchess to behave more civilly, because the Queen has just made threats on her life. Though Alice may not see past the obvious, Carroll points out the incredulity of the Duchess’s duality in such a way that the reader cannot miss it.
Once Alice has had enough of the Duchess, she decides to attend the Hatter’s unending tea party. Upon entering the party, the March Hare offers Alice some wine.
Alice looked around on the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. I don’t see any wine, she remarked.
There isn’t any, said the March Hare.
Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it, said Alice angrily.
It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited, said the March Hare.
I didn’t know it was your table, said Alice. It’s laid for a great many more than three.
Your hair wants cutting, said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.
You should not make personal remarks, Alice said with some severity: it’s very rude. (68)
Alice is perturbed by the ease with which the Hatter and March Hare confront her, and it is evident that she is not used to being spoken to in such a way. As well, Alice is very critical of any mistakes in propriety made by others while she is not as concerned with her own errors. This excerpt of seemingly nonsensical exchange contains criticism of the mindless yet religious adherence to archaic niceties, such as those Alice does not find at the Hatter’s party. The rule of chaos rather than order frightens Alice away, so much so that is the only place that Alice visits which she leaves saying, At any rate, I’ll never go there again!
The other function that Alice has in the narrative is as an innocent who is shocked with what she is presented with. In these situations, she is the voice of reason, unhampered and untainted by society’s crafty programming.
The solemnity of the exchange between the frog footman and the liveried fish displays a profound notion of how much order is associated with even the simplest of tasks, as in the handing over of a letter. Carroll takes particular pains to express the gravity with which this is accomplished: …he handed over to the other, saying in a solemn tone, For the Duchess. An invitation from the queen to play croquet. (59) The frog footman then goes on to repeat the message in reverse order, in the same solemn tone, (59) in order not to disrupt what seems to be an almost ritualistic excursion. The nonsensical aspect of this particular encounter is exposed when Alice cannot help laughing out loud because as the two footmen bow, their curls got entangled together. (59) While this is a sacred matter for the frog and fish, the reader sees past the conventions of societal requisites and the occasion is reduced to foolishness.
The Mock Turtle’s story is an example of a reference to institutional reliance in society. When he talks about his years at school, the subjects he speaks of are ridiculous: Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with, the Mock Turtle replied; and then the different branches of Arithmetic ” Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision. (93) The apparent parallels to actual educational instruction are reading and writing, and in terms of the arithmetic, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Carroll’s choice of subjects seems nonsensical enough, tempting the reader to gloss past them, but upon closer inspection, it appears that these very subjects may have more bearing on the education that children receive in their early years.
Ambition is the soul of any capitalist society, and as such, it may be assumed that an instilling of this virtue would be advantageous. The desire of more and more profit is the result of ambition. Seen in this light, rather than being a careless use of a like sounding word to addition, Carroll seems to have been very particular in his choice.
The use of the word distraction is somewhat more elusive. Distraction can refer either to a diversion, an interruption, or a hindrance. It seems most likely (in keeping with the previous note on ambition and capitalism) that it refers to the former meaning. Diversion offers the members of a capitalistic society a way of disregarding the many injustices that spawn from an unabated and disproportionate use of resources. It is necessary in order to function with the privilege of an undisturbed conscience.
The word uglification is not an actual word, and Carroll takes the time to explain its meaning to the reader, and very tactfully, by having Alice make an inquiry to the Gryphon: You know what beautification is, I suppose? (93) it asks Alice, in a manner that suggests that it is an easily understood word. It is meant to imply the opposite of beautification. This appears to be Carroll’s way of explaining how institutions have replaced society’s former and proper notions of aestheticism, especially in accordance with art. It is his way of saying that beauty is an ideal of the past, one that has been replaced by destruction and decay.
The final subject, derision, falls appropriately along with ambition and distraction. It follows that in order to improve one’s own station in life, it is necessary to belittle others in order to arrive at that place. Derision completes the circle of degradation by implying that as a society, individualism is the dominant mentality, whereas society, as the word itself implies, should be the coming together of many to achieve mutual goals.
The first two subjects, reeling and writhing, are the two that the Mock Turtle takes for granted that everyone learns. These are a more direct, visible image of the degradation brought about by the inconsistent displacement of virtues in society.
While the nonsense of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland may seem not to have any distinct purpose, its clear, reoccurring themes denote its purposeful insights on the failings of society. Carroll manages to delve into a world of fantastical wonders and, within that world, provides the reader with an effective, convincing argument by making the mildly absurd become overtly ridiculous. His use of spontaneous, erratic characters allows the freedom to observe right from wrong in a place where those distinctions have not already been made. Alice acts as the guide, who leads expecting no more or less than the reader, and with the stubborn prejudices of a child. Carroll has successfully pointed out the errors inherent to many of the facets of life that one does not question, and leaves the reader feeling as if he or she has just awakened from the dream of presupposition.
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass. New York: New American Library, 2000.
Evaluation of the Ballet Choreography of Alice in Wonderland
Ballet is a physical struggle to attain perfection on the stage. Swathes of fabric, sleepless choreographers, and a gaggle of well-trained performers gathered together to try and make a fantastic production that is both artful and entertaining. Be it one of the great classical ballets of Petipa, or the stunning recent production of (change title) Alice in Wonderland and ballet form, both are stories of love better spectacles for the eyes ears and heart that are rooted in classical ballet.
While Petipa and Christopher Wheeldon, choreographer of Alice might have lived hundreds of years apart, both ballets are not overly dissimilar from one another (Royal). The choreography, theme, or similarly the extravagant nature of each performance they are both deeply rooted in the same ballet tradition. One of the roots that these Ballets share is that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the Pharaoh’s Daughter are both spectacles. However, they are spectacles in differing ways. While Wonderland uses technological wonders such as a movie of moving letters, Pharaoh provides a massive Troop of dancers with identically dressed women archers and other guardsmen adding to the portrayal of ancient Egyptian times. In addition to the large number of performers, is extravagant sets to highlight the dancers and the production itself. “Petipa devised…his ballets” to “[use] backdrops painted in perspective, dancer” these “ were arranged to give a false perception of stages recession, making the stage at a much deeper than it was” and the performers seem fantastical on larger-than-life (Scholl Pg 9).
In fact, Petipa’s ballets were very reminiscent of the once popular court spectacles in length as well as flamboyant style. “Daughter of the Pharaoh (1862) was the first of Petipa’s grand ballets and remained the most ambitious, with three acts and nine scenes, including an epilog and a prolog” a somewhat bloated runtime compared to Wonderland’s condensed two act two-hour runtime (Pg 7). This extravagant runtime would continue to plague his productions which makes sense when you consider that “Petipa’s works are described as ‘ bol’shoi balet’…..a translation of the french ballet a spectacle” (Pg 4).
Both productions, like most great stories are ones are focused on love and desire and both happen to take place in fantastical worlds. Alice, who is in love with a boy who works at her house also happens to be the wonderland knave. While in Pharaoh the protagonist and English Lord, Lord Wilson descends into a drug-induced fantasy and falls in love and “wishes to marry the pharaoh’s daughter Aspichia” (Pg 7). These ballets also seem to share a similar base of technique when it comes to their choreography and dance. It seems both productions have a classical sense in their dance style, particularly in their use of point, jumps, and lifts. However, if these ballets do have their differences. The Pharaoh’s Daughter while implementing point, does so sparingly with the dancers going point for a few seconds before descending once again telling of the point shoe technology that Petipa had at his disposal. While in Alice the actresses particularly Alice tends to be on point for much greater, especially in scenes of great emotional stress. For example, when the Queen of hearts face is and dances with Alice the second act there is a sequence of choreography were both are on point seemingly pushing each other back and forth both on unsteady ground due to the threat of the other.
The musicality of both pieces is different as well with Alice in Wonderland having a much smoother transition between music and choreography than Petipa’s Pharaoh’s Daughter. The score of Alice was originally composed by Joby Talbot is especially for this ballet (Royal). This I think is why Alice in Wonderland has the better musicality of the two. Each little movement, whether it be Alice buries her head in her hands, a lift of the leg, or twirl every single step feels wonderfully nestled within each note of the music. The Pharaoh’s daughter score while pleasing and generally follows suit with the action on stage, does not feel as hand in glove as the score of the Wonderland ballet. So while similar in story, ballet technique, and female protagonist and the places they differ, they are pulled miles apart from what a spectacle means in each productions modern age.
Both ballets include themes on and center on families of the upper class. How our economic backgrounds not only grant us the privilege, but also restrict us in the choice of whom we can or cannot love. In Alice we begin at a fantastic garden party for what seems to be a wealthy family and we the audience despair as the young boy of a lower class is shooed away by Alice’s mother breaking her heart. In a similar vein of a wealthy English person falling in love with someone who was less fortunate see the protagonist of Pharaoh Wilson, who the synopsis tells us to be a wealthy English lord trapped in a pyramid on his fantasy vacation to Egypt. Under the influence of narcotics or perhaps to a more sentimental soul love, he is transported back to ancient Egyptian times and finds love in the embrace of the pharaoh’s daughter, Aspichia. But both love and ballets have their products crumble at the end. Each love while danced beautifully and made real before the audience’s eyes dissipate being shown to be only a dream as our protagonists awake. Despite their background of relative wealth, their loves seem beyond their grasp. However, Alice wakes up as a modern woman of the familiar book atop her head seemingly she had fallen asleep. While our English Lord journeys away back to England his love only residing in his mind and heart.
I think one reason for Alice’s happier ending has to do with the power of a woman in a modern society. Throughout the ballet Alice fights for her love. She stands up to the clean of heart’s she is the one who traverses Wonderland granted with the help of friends and magical baked goods but nonetheless with her own point toed feet. She does not need to be rescued like The Pharaoh’s Daughter. In Pharaoh you’re watching a man experienced fantasy of the week essentially on woman of whom he can sweep up into his arms. With Alice we see a young woman fight for what she wants and learning to grow and rely on herself in the free the fantastical real world. Wonderland of all its kooky creatures and contraptions is simply a metaphor for the adult world that young preteen Alice must soon venture into. Be it a lower class boy or a damsel in distress both story centers on a love between a protagonist and someone less than them in society. It shows the rifts between us that can be healed through love and perhaps dance.
Modern ballets have changed since Petipa, both in style and their approach to women and how to entertain the audience. Not only do modern audiences crave innovative choreography, music and sets, but we seek strong female protagonists backdrops by shows of technological light in color to keep us focused in our distraction filled world. While both are extravagant in their own ways, represents an era of ballet that while long past is still something worth performing today is perhaps with a small Alice like twist. As long as there is an audience for beautiful human movement appeared with music that will be a place on stage for ballet be a classical performance like that of Petipa, or new approach to ballet based off pop culture like Alice will find a home in the arts and culture of this rapid paced world.
Alice in Wonderland
As the Cheshire-Cat appears and sits on a limb of a tree with his grinning face while Alice is walking in the forest he explains to her that everyone in wonderland is mad even Alice, which is why she is there. Alice did not agree with the Cheshire-Cat but continued on her way to see the March Hare anyways. Being mad or crazy does not always make a person bad. In fact the Cheshire-Cat was right, all the people in Wonderland were indeed mad and they were all there for that reason. In every classic story there are good characters versus bad characters. In the book, Alice in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll, there is no exception. The characters Alice, the White Rabbit, and the Cheshire-Cat are all positive characters in the story and the Queen of Hearts is the villain or the negative character in Wonderland. Positive characters can be identified in the story of Alice in Wonderland by their personalities and how each character interacts with one another. Lewis Carroll only made one distinctive negative character and the rest he made either positive characters or characters that are just in the middle. Most of the characters in the book are middle characters that do not have a good or bad sense of personality. Negative characters can be identified by color and personality as well. The Queen of Hearts for instance is represented by the color red with represents fury and anger. That describes the Queen perfectly. Alice is a positive character in the story of Alice in Wonderland. She is the main character of the story. Lewis Carroll does a good job of portraying Alice as a young curious and well mannered lady. Youth and innocence can describe Alice as a positive character. Throughout the whole story Alice gets confused quit easily when talking to the other people in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter and the Caterpillar especially. Although she is in an obscure and crazy world, Alice keeps her cool for the most part and tries to keep her senses. In the world of Wonderland, however, being sane is mad, which allows Alice to fit right in with the others (From Alice on Stage). The White Rabbit was made to contrast Alice in every way. He is timid, old, punctual, and often nervous. The White Rabbit can be seen as a positive character because he is white in color, also because he is somewhat helpful. Although he is shy and nervous he does not do anything that would make him be considered a negative character. I would say he is somewhat of a mediator, neither positive nor negative. The White Rabbit is significant in the story of Alice in Wonderland in order to understand Alice more (From Alice on Stage). Most unique of them all is the Cheshire-Cat. When Alice first comes across the Cheshire-Cat he is in the house of the Duchess and is grinning very widely. From the way he is first described I thought that he was going to be a negative character in the story. His grin seemed some what villainous and because he was mysterious led to the conclusion he was a negative character. After the book goes on the Cheshire-Cat is very calm and sensible in the mad world of Wonderland. He helps Alice when she need someone to talk to and when she has questions about Wonderland. The Cheshire-Cat is the most knowledgeable about Wonderland and fits right in when it comes to craziness (Spark Notes from Alice in Wonderland). The only negative character I found in the story of Alice in Wonderland was the Queen of Hearts. Some of the other characters have their moments of rudeness or snappy ways but none of them can be identified as complete negative characters besides the Queen of Hearts. When we first meet the Queen she comes into the yard yelling orders at everyone and being very rude. From the beginning you can tell that the Queen has anger and fury within her. Because she is red in color she can be identified as negative. Red usually has a bad connotation and is usually associated with anger and fire or fury. She makes irrational decisions, most of them affecting everyone but herself. Everyone in her court is afraid of her because she is known for prosecuting and beheading anything and anyone who gets in her way (From Alice on Stage). Of all the characters in Alice in Wonderland the Queen of Hearts and Alice are the most significant. I would not say that in this story there is a hero or villain, but just positive and negative characters. A lot of the characters in the story were middle characters that had no sense of good or bad, they were just mad. Everyone in Wonderland was mad, including Alice, that is why she ended up in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll defined each character using their personalities. The Queen of Hearts impatient, loud, and obnoxious and Alice is curious, sensible, and has a sense of superiority. Readers can tell the difference between positive and negative characters by the how each character interacts with one another and their personalities. Alice, the White Rabbit, and the Cheshire-Cat all interact nicely with others unlike the Queen of Hearts. Works Cited Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland. New York, NY: Norton & Company, 1992. Carroll, Lewis. “From Alice on Stage”. Alice in Wonderland. New York, NY: Norton & Company, 1992. SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. ” SparkNotes. com. SparkNotes LLC. 2005. Web. 15 Mar. 2010.