Multiple Me’s

In chapter five of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland she stumbles upon another animal, this time it is a Caterpillar, who seems to make her question herself even more. For Alice says, “I ca’n’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir,” but the Caterpillar merely asks her why it’s important for her to know. This leaves Alice at a loss, why is it important to know who you are, or who I am? Perhaps the Alice did not lose herself, but the characters to this point are a part of her.

Each animal she encounters posses a different type of human mindset. The White Rabbit is nervous and timid when we first meet him. His attitude towards Alice changes quite suddenly later one, when he mistakes her for a servant. His tone becomes harsher, and he even suggests burning the house down. Alice can also be hard on herself at times, berating herself until she cries.The mouse and eagle display intellectual thought through their knowledge of history and use of big words. Alice has proven she can be quite clever through the questions she asks herself, which seem to be beyond the level of an average child. Then we have the Caterpillar, who in contrast to the rabbit displays a laid back attitude, not worried about anything in particular. Alice has also been quite easy going given all the odd situations she has been in. She is quite accepting of the queer ordeals.

Not only do the characters seem to be a part of Alice, but also the events that occur. Alice can not seem to recall the exact words of the verses she memorized, but instead makes the verses her own. This could mean her experiences now are her own, and not what she was taught by other people. The distortion in her size also relates back to Alice herself. Her body grows, shrinks, and stretches representing the her own experiences in her journey.
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2 Comments

  1. I loved your closing statement. I had until now merely assumed that the distortion of Alice’s lessons were only a device through which Carroll reinforced the strange reality of Wonderland. This brings a whole new level of meaning to the whimsical verses Alice keeps spouting at the command of various wonderland creatures. That these actions are actually a facet through which Alice is evolving in wonderland sheds light on these otherwise obsolete poems. It would stand to reason that this separation from the practiced and memorized norms of the real and adult world would be representative of Alice’s journey or perhaps growth in wonderland. It may show that while she still clings to the structure of the real world (rhyme scheme and meter of the verses) she is absorbing the more whimsical and almost nonsense logic of wonderland (the actual words of the poems)

  2. Can’t stop chewing on this idea-comfit:

    “Perhaps the Alice did not lose herself, but the characters to this point are a part of her.”


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  • Welcome to the “Alice Project”

    What happens when a group of insightful 10th grade students explore Alice's journey into Wonderland?