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Alice in Wonderland
Transcript of Alice in Wonderland
Title: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (later shortened to Alice in Wonderland)
Author: Lewis Carroll
Time and Place Written: 1862-1863 Oxford
Published: 1865 by Macmillan & Co.
Genre: Fairy tale, children’s fiction, satire, fantasy, Quest, parody; literary nonsense.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll was born on January 27th 1832 in Daresbury Cheshire England, and died on January 14th 1898. He was a an English writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer.Best known for his novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as his poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky".
Lewis Carroll acquired a stutter in his early childhood. It has been said that his stutter was only apparent in the presence of adults and not with children. It is because of his stutter that scholars believe, Carroll caricatured himself as the Dodo bird in Alice's in Wonderland. Alluding to his difficulty in pronouncing his last name.
Alice and Satire:Political
It has been said that Alice in Wonderland belongs
more in the genre of political satire than even Carroll realized. Alice has been read as a political allegory, with Wonderland being seen as a symbol of England. Ruled by the Queen of Hearts, who obviously corresponds with Queen Victoria. There were indications of Carroll's dislike of Queen Victoria and the extreme violence in Wonderland, for example
the Duchess and the Queen as well as the trial of “Sentence first, then verdict” are clear indications of Carroll's dissatisfied feelings towards the English justice system which at the time was a mess.
Alice and Satire: Political Continued
Alice in Wonderland was written at the climax of British colonization, and arguably many believe to see Alice as an allegory for colonization. Daniel Bivona states in his article “Alice the Child-Imperialist and the Games of Wonderland” Alice is “incapable of constructing…the ‘system’ or ‘systems’ that give meaning to the behavior of the creatures”. Alice is essentially unable to understand the "culture" of Wonderland and insists on imposing her own customs and norms into their society.
Alice and Satire: Society
Many of the social issues debated in the Victorian era are present in Alice and Wonderland. For example the education of children. During the Victorian era children were treated as adults however, often required to perform or otherwise ignored and severely chastised. Alice in Wonderland is arguably read as a satirical attack on children’s treatment and education.
A Caucus Race:
A specific stab at English society and politics is the caucus race. The definition of caucus from dictionary.com is "A meeting of the members of a legislative body who are members of a particular political party, to select candidates or decide policy." Carroll is suggesting that English politicians are essentially running around parliament acting as if what they are doing is making a difference and randomly stop without accomplishing anything.
Drugs played a major role in the making of Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll was on Opium at the time, an many believe that its how Carroll was able to create the complex dream like atmosphere of Alice in Wonderland. Which apparently is easily compared to the mind-altering drug experience of Opium. During Carroll's time five out of six families used opium regularly, and infant mortality was an common result of opium. It was said that infants "shrank up into little old men" when they became sick. This notion is similiar to when the duchess's baby turns into a pig.
Drugs: Background of Opium
Opium was highly circulated in the Victorian Period. The mind altering experiences resulting from Opium is displayed in detailed descriptions in Alice in Wonderland. For example the growing and shrinking and the image of the caterpillar smoking hookah.
Literary Devices: Symbolism
The rabbit hole, has manifested into a popular metaphor, symbolizing everything from exploring a new world, taking drugs, and developing something unknown. The rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, is essentially where it 'all begins', thus leading to all of her adventures. Alice's foolish choice to follow the White Rabbit into the one-way trip fantasyland, ultimately symbolizes the "unthinking" nature of the Victorian era's society and politics.
Literary Devices: Symbolism
Size and Growth
Literary Devices: Symbolism
Size and Growth Continued
What does all this mean?
The connection between Alice's constant change in size is arguably connected with age, and maturity. Alice, a young growing girl, is constantly growing older and maturing. This process can not be controlled. inevitability, all children grow up. Also there is the connection to Lewis Carroll, disliked adults and was quite fond of children. Perhaps, Alice's constant change in size is Carroll's way of demonstrating the unpredictability of growing up.