The Wise Guy

Many stories have a character that mentors the protagonist and guides them.

This character is usually wise, confusing, mysterious and kind of old. I’m going to call this character The Wise Guy, not because they are smart-alecks, but because they are usually wise. Also The Wise Guy doesn’t always have to be a guy, it could be a girl, but usually it’s a guy so that’s why I’m calling it The Wise Guy. Mr. Miyagi, Yoda, and Don Corleone are some examples of Wise Guys, Mr.Miyagi guides Daniel san, Yoda guides Luke, and Don Corleone guides Michael Corleone.

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland the Wise Guy seems to be the Caterpillar that smokes the hookah pipe who guides Alice. He is confusing, mysterious, and kind of wise, however he is most likely not old. If he was old most likely he would be a butterfly, it could be that Wonderland being the crazy place it is caterpillars take forever to grow into butterflies and so the caterpillar may be old, but it really doesn’t matter.

In his encounter with Alice on top of the mushroom, he asks her many confusing questions, the most famous being “Who are you?” While asking these questions he confuses Alice quite a bit, which she mistakes as rude and tries to leave, but the caterpillar stops her and tries to help her find herself and guides her to the later part of her journey. He helps her and guides her, so he is a Wise guy.

The Cheshire cat could also be considered a Wise Guy, due to him being a very mysterious cat that helps Alice find her way around wonderland in a peculiar way. The Wise Guy is an interesting character in any story, he is the person who helps the protagonist grow and find their way in their world or dream world.

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2 Comments

  1. The Caterpillar can be seen as a figure of wisdom, or as you say it, the “wise guy.” This is partly true, because he does help Alice in journey in Wonderland and gives Alice whatever help he deems important. He tries to help her find who she is and why she’s there, but cannot truly help her because of her limitations that she has set upon herself. The Caterpillar is not much of a guide as the Cheshire Cat is, however, because he does not point her in the right direction as prepare her for her journey. The wise guy, like in most movies, talks in riddles, clues and hints to help out the ‘hero’ of the story, but never gives away too much information. This makes the Caterpillar very annoying to Alice, who is already lost and confused. So therefore, the Caterpillar is a sense,the “wise guy” of Wonderland.

  2. I don’t think that the Caterpillar is as much of a guide as the cheshire cat. Actually, I don’t think he really guides at all. He is more the obvious philosopher of the story, something that scream “Here I am, interpret me”. The Cheshire cat guides Alice through the croquet match and is present for a good part of the latter half of the book.
    The Caterpillar, as many characters in the book, appears once and is not seen again. While its statements prompt deeper questions similar to those often made by such a “wise guy”, I do not think the Caterpillar deserves this title.
    Another addition to this list of guides is the white rabbit, which, while not really prominent as a guiding figure, is a red string which can be followed throughout the book.


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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?