Saturday, September 11, 2010

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There- Lewis Carroll

I thought I would review both of Carroll's Alice tales together since they were both short reads that blend seamlessly together. Wonderland is world of enchanting, strange, temperamental, odd characters and atmosphere that Alice journeys into by following a perpetually late white rabbit. As she descends down a hole, the world's intriguing atmosphere grips Alice's curious nature through a keyhole revealing a lovely garden which becomes her ultimate destination. The question is how to get there. Her quest becomes even more challenging as she finds digesting makes her either grow or shrink and the inhabitants of Wonderland contain a peculiar manner than what she is used to.

Along her journey she joins a caucus race, finds the white rabbit's house, runs into a forest to stubble upon a caterpillar, comes upon the peppery atmospheric house of a Duchess who has a pig for a child and a pet Cheshire cat whose grinning nature is expected, follows a path to the Mad Hatter's tea party where she is riddled why is a raven like a writing desk and finally finds the beautiful garden which belongs to the Queen of Hearts whose entourage is made of cards and plays croquet using hedgehogs as balls and flamingos as mallets.

As her journey seems to take a turn, she awakes to find herself underneath a tree beside her sister, listening to her daily lessons. Her sister sits, listening to Alice's tale, and thinks, " she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days."
The thoughts parallel those with mine, as the story becomes a delightful child's tale of a curious and honest girl who is full of wonderment that perhaps leads her to unpleasant encounters but never a dull moment. The following quote perfectly sums up the philosophy of Wonderland and a mantra for dreamers:
"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might
appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise
than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."

Through the Looking Glass, begins another day in Alice's life, playing with kittens, one who has a mischievous nature so Alice threatens to place the kitten into the parallel world through the glass vanity above the fireplace. As she climbs above the mantle, pondering what the opposing world is like, she soon finds herself on the other side engaged in a battle between two colored armies. Upon closer inspection, Alice finds they are chess pieces come to life and the world is made up of a large chessboard. She soon finds herself on a quest to move about the land as a pawn through eight squares to end as a queen beside the red and white who already reign. Through this journey, she finds herself conversing with flowers, encountering Tweedledee and Tweedledum who tell her the tale of The Walrus and The Carpenter, leading her onto Humpty Dumpty who questions her manners, eventually turning her around to find herself at dinner beside the two queens with a crown placed upon her head. Once again the theory behind Wonderland can be found in quotes said by its inhabitants:
"Contrariwise," continued Tweedledee, "if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be: but as it isn't, it ain't. 'That's logic."

Alice awakes to find herself in a chair with her kitten, pondering once again what reality exists and what world did she find herself in.

Carroll's delightful imagination gives us a curious world filled with odd characters and worlds that seem impossible to the mind, however Carroll teaches us that nothing is impossible if you just ponder on the possibility of it. Filled with literary prose and unique language, it is easy to see why Alice's tale continues to be an inspiration and muse for many.

Here's an awesome link to Carroll's life and inspiration for his tales:

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