First Thought? Of Course I Ought! (Ch.6)

Summary: What quirky images/ thoughts pop up in my head as I dive into each chapter of The Annotated Alice? Let’s see what happens when Alice gets a “Pig and Pepper”. (Chapter 6)

(Note:  If you’re interested in these ideas, feel free to check out the previous posts on Ch. 1-5 under “First Thought? Of Course I Ought!“, too, if you want.)

***
My first thoughts?

From the title I had no idea what was going to happen in this chapter. This scene did not happen in the Disney version, so that could not aid me in figuring out what would happen. Let’s see what I discovered!

One of the things I like about Carroll’s writing style is that he describes the scene in detail that allows the reader to picture the scenery and have a thought on how the voices of the characters are suppose to sound like. As Alice laughed at tone and actions of the Footmans, I too did chuckle when trying to picture these peculiar creatures.

The most interesting part of this whole chapter was the Duchess and the Cheshire-Cat.

As for the Duchess, her attitude is like none of the other characters Alice has encountered thus far. She is very opinioned, ugly, and very rude. I say she is ugly but the illustrations and annotations.
duchess Pictures, Images and Photos
As you can see by John Tenniel’s illustration, the Duchess, the baby, and the cook are all quiet ugly. The Cheshire-Cat is either grinning because he thinks the whole situation is quiet funny or perhaps he was waiting for Alice and knew it was time to show her the way.

I also find it interesting the Duchess calls Alice a pig and moments later when Alice grabs the baby, it turns into a pig. Is there any importance to this?
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The whole Cheshire Cat scene is just brilliant. From the “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to” and “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go” to “We’re all mad here.”  The way that he tells Alice she will see him at the Queen’s crocket event, foreshadows that she will in fact be there too. Even though I love cats, especially my cat Max, the character development of the Cheshire Cat is my favorite out of all of the Alice Characters thus far.

Stay tuned for “First thought? Of Course I Ought!” (Ch. 7)

Image 1 can be found here. Max’s picture can be found here.

First Thought? Of Course I Ought! (Ch.5)

Summary: What quirky images/ thoughts pop up in my head as I dive into each chapter of The Annotated Alice? Let’s see what happens when Alice gets “advice from a Caterpillar”. (Chapter 5)

(Note:  If you’re interested in these ideas, feel free to check out the previous posts on Ch. 1-4 under “First Thought? Of Course I Ought!“, too, if you want.)

***
My first thoughts?

I have to admit, when I saw that the Caterpillar was smoking a hookah I could not stop laughing. Yes, I did know that he did in the Disney version although the fact that a Caterpillar is smoking cracks me up.
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One of the aspects of this chapter that interested me was how the Caterpillar never really explained any of his answers to Alice. He either asked more questions or replied succinctly to Alice’s questions. Could this be because the Caterpillar wanted Alice to discover the answers to her own questions by herself?

I was also analyzing the words in italics that sparked my interest in the very first chapter, which you can read in my first blog. Perhaps the words in italics are just emphasizing the overall importance of the sentence it is in. The italics are mainly used to emphasize who the comment is pertaining to. For example, “Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,” said Alice: “all I know is, it would feel very queer to me.” “Who are you?”

I also think it is peculiar that the Caterpillar is so concerned with Alice realizing how she has changed thus far. He reiterates the question “Who are you?” and also called after Alice when she was about to leave him to tell her “So you think you’re changed to you?” The Caterpillar is also the creature who leads her to her size alter #6. Which brings me to my final question:

If she nibbles on the mushroom until she had succeeded in bringing herself down to her usual height…who is to say that what she think is her “normal” height could be 40ft or 2 inches in the “real” world or even in the room of doors?

Just a thing to ponder…

Stay tuned for “First thought? Of Course I Ought!” (Ch. 6)

Image can be found here.

First Thought? Of Course I Ought! (Ch.3)

Summary: What quirky images/ thoughts pop up in my head as I dive into each chapter of The Annotated Alice? Let’s see how Alice deals with her first “Caucus Race” and her thoughts of the “Long Tale”. (Chapter 3)

(Note:  If you’re interested in these ideas, feel free to check out the previous posts on Ch. 1-2 under one of our categories found in the side bar,”First Thought? Of Course I Ought!”, too, if you want.)

***

My first thoughts?

Before even reading this chapter the title already had me puzzleing of what will happen to Alice next. So, like any good student would do *wink*, I looked up “caucus” on www.dictionary.com. This is what I discovered.

Caucus:

–noun

1.

U.S. Politics.

a.

a meeting of party leaders to select candidates, elect convention delegates, etc.

Well going to my Disney resource, I still had no idea how a caucus race was going to be an event Alice would witness or even be in. If you have seen my Biography, then you would know one of my favorite parts in the Disney movie was the story of the Walrus and the oysters (clams). When I saw that there was going to be a “long tale” I was overly excited that it could be that story. Although I was disappointed when the chapter ended and my oyster story was not mentioned. Nevertheless, throughout this chapter there were many puns and “haha” moments that kept me interested and entertained.

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I find it odd that Alice keeps referring to things in Wonderland as “queer”. I could understand if she just entered Wonderland, yet she keeps emphasizing the fact that everything is not what it seems. Although, for me, its just annoying. I can’t help wondering if Carroll is symbolizing the mouse and the other animals as people in the “real” world. I know from the annotations, it says the Mouse represents Miss Prickett the children’s governess, yet could the Mouse be more than that? This is how I see it:

Mouse Other animals

1. High Authority                        1. Subjects to the Mouse

2. Intelligent                              2. Not as Intelligent

3. Easily Offended                        3. Easy to Manipulate

As I look at this basic chart, I could easily say Mouse could represent the nobility and the other animals as peasants. I could also assume the Mouse could represent an adult or the “wise/experienced” one. It all just comes down to your opinion.

At this point, all of the animals are soaking wet, so their dilemma is how to get dry. The Dodo proposes to have a Caucus-race. Of course, a Caucus-race in Wonderland is totally different than in the “real” world. Thus, the animals, including Alice, ran around in a circle for half an hour until they were dry.

Smart huh?

caucus Pictures, Images and Photos

To back up my theory of nobility vs. peasants, the annotations suggest the thimble that is taken away from Alice and then retuned to her could symbolize taxation on the lower class people. Perhaps even the comfits, hard sweetmeats, given to the animals as “prizes” could symbolize the increases of food grown/given to the poor during the Agricultural Revolution.

I believe it was also interesting that the animals could not taste these comfits and they almost choked on them. A coincidence? Is symbolism calling my name? I honestly do not know…

Any ideas?

As for the Tale or aka Tail poem, it really didn’t interest me that much. It felt like this was an add in, coming out as a “Hey! Guess what else I can do other than create a wide known children’s story!”, so really didn’t concern me at all.

Stay tuned for “First thought? Of course I ought!” (Ch. 4)

Image one can be found here. Image two can be found here.

First Thought? Of Course I Ought! (Ch.4)

Summary: What quirky images/ thoughts pop up in my head as I dive into each chapter of The Annotated Alice? Let’s see what happens when “The Rabbit sends in a Little Bill”. (Chapter 4)

(Note:  If you’re interested in these ideas, feel free to check out the previous posts on Ch. 1-3 under one of our categories in the side bar, “First Thought? Of Course I Ought!”, too, if you want.)

***
My first thoughts?

LIZARD Pictures, Images and Photos

I have no idea why I didn’t think of the lizard named Bill in the movie when i saw the title, but I honestly was clueless on what was going to happen in this chapter. I even made a note in the margins asking myself “is Bill as in $ or legislation?”. Oh, was I in for a surprise!

One of my problems with this chapter was when the W. Rabbit called/possibly mistaken Alice for “Mary Ann” or a servant. If he knew that Alice was following him or at least he acknowledged her, than how could he have mistaken her as a servant?

Again with the death references! “She’ll get me executed” is a very disturbing quote. What is next? Suicide? (I wouldn’t put it past Carroll.)

We also see the 4th and 5th time Alice’s size is altered. Although this time Alice ignores all of her “real” world instincts and blatantly drinks the bottle with no desire to see if it could perhaps have POISON or maybe DANGEROUS SIDE EFFECTS. Alas! Every time she does eat or drink in Wonderland she always seems to wish she hadn’t done it.

Will she ever learn?

As I was reading the Pat digging apples scene, this somehow referencing to French in a jokingly way, I really didn’t understand the whole scene. I don’t really think it’s an important scene, although I also never like to be the person “out of the loop”. Any ideas?

Bill Pictures, Images and Photos

My all-time favorite quote out of this chapter would have to be a general chorus of “There goes Bill!” as he flies out of the chimney. Hilarious I tell you!

Was there anyone else who was confused on Alice’s comment on trying to find the lovely garden she saw through the key hole of the door? Is Alice still in the room of doors but just keeps adjusting her size to her surroundings? That is an interesting thought though. What could be a giant in the W. Rabbits house could be very tiny, perhaps even microscopic, in the room of doors. The transition from the doors to the sea of tears and then to the bank was so smooth and unnoticeable that one can just accept Alice is somewhere else other than where she started.

I will leave all of you with this comment. I find it very funny that the large blue caterpillar is sitting on top of a mushroom. A mushroom that could symbolize drugs. To top that off, the Caterpillar is smoking a HOOKAH!!!

Of course, that is just my first thought.

Stay tuned for “First thought? Of Course I Ought!” (Ch. 5)

Image 1 can be found here. Image 2 can be found here.

First Thought? Of Course I Ought! (Ch.2)

Summary: What quirky images/ thoughts pop up in my head as I dive into each chapter of The Annotated Alice? Let’s dive into the “the pool of tears”. (Chapter 2)

(Note:  If you’re interested in these ideas, feel free to check out the earlier post I’ve already written about Chapter 1, too, if you want.)

***

My first thoughts?

My Disney senses are tingling!

My prediction of this chapter: Alice will grow into a giant (for the 1st time) and will try creating a “pool of tears” in which she drinks the rest of the “DRINK ME” bottle and becomes tiny (for the 2nd time) which leads to her adventure in the garden behind the door.

As I reiterated in my “First thought? Of course I ought!” (ch. 1 continuation) Alice’s memory is slowly deteriorating. Alice mentions she forgot how to speak good English (which should be one of the top things one doesn’t forget). This clearly shows how when someone is removed from reality or the “real world”, one can lose sense of ideas and lessons ingrained from birth.

Carroll does not specifically say the exact length of time when Alice falls down the Rabbit-hole to her discovery of the “EAT ME” cakes. In theory, one could say Alice has been in the Rabbit-hole for days or perhaps even months. In contrast, one could say she has only been there for an hour. This could be factual, of course, if Alice is not dreaming, hallucinating, etc.

Who knows?
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Adult wisdom vs. child innocence is a reoccurring theme thus far. From Alice’s thoughts about how people would portray her at home to feeling ashamed of herself whenever she is emotional conveys Alice’s struggle to conquer adolescence and discover the adult Alice within. During this struggle, many childhood elements still act as an aid to her which probably allows her to keep her sanity(how little of it she has left). The White Rabbit, for example, is a small, soft and gentle animal that scurries around eating out of Mr. McGregor’s garden. (This is true unless one is talking about the killer rabbit, for which one can only kill it with the Holy Hand Grenade!) *wink*

I believe throughout Alice’s journey through Wonderland, she will find a balance between innocence and maturity, which in the end will be the most beneficial factor of her whole experience.

Stay tuned for “First thought? Of course I ought!” (Ch.3)

The first image can be found here. The second image here.

The “Hero’s Journey” of Alice

After studying Joseph Campbell’s “hero journey”, a concept we were introduced to by Mr. Long and later discussed with Matt Langdon,  a visiting expert on the “hero” model who has been commenting on the blogs lately, I am very quickly realizing many, if not all, stories are based off of these steps. Of course there are different ways of approaching this concept like my partner Adam realized in his blog The-Not-So-Heroic-Journey. It all depends on your perspective.

(Note: If you’re interested in these ideas, feel free to check out the earlier posts my classmates and I blogged about Joseph Campbell’s “hero journey”, too, if you want.)

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It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment of Alice’s call to adventure, so it is argued in diverse ways. One could believe it is in the very first sentence of Carroll’s story; “Alice was beginning to get very tired”. Another point someone could say is when the White Rabbit suddenly shows up. Nevertheless Alice is called to Wonderland.

I believe there was a refusal of the call. Whether it was the slight second Alice could not believe what the White Rabbit was doing or when she cries each time she is either scared or oblivious how she should handle the situation.

As for the supernatural aid? I assume the White Rabbit aides Alice throughout her adventure and even if the Rabbit has no “powers”, so to speak, the Rabbit is the character who begins Alice’s curiosity that could literally “kill the cat”.

Alice’s drop in the Rabbit-hole coveys the crossing of the first threshold. She is leaving the “real world” and traveling through dimensions until she reaches the hallway to Wonderland.

At the belly of the whale, Alice at this point is at her lowest point in the scene when she grows more than 9 ft. high, although I have not read the entire story to know for sure. Alice does have the “Who am I?” talk to herself where she uses the thought process of René Descartes’ idea of Cartesian Dualism, which leads her 3rd outburst in tears.

(Note: If you are interested in the Scientific Revolution concept that is embedded in the story, I recommend reading Brendon O-L. blog on the Scientific Revolution.)

The road of trials I believe have been occurring sense she arrived into the hallway of doors. There are numerous tasks or signs that Alice sees and undergoes in the first three chapters. I wouldn’t say she “failed” the tasks but merely explored the outcomes of each which provide knowledge for her to use to her advantage in the future. These are in fact critical tasks for her to undergo her transformation.

(Note: To learn more about these tasks and signs take a peek at my “Firsts Thoughts? Of Course I Ought! (Ch.1 part 2)”, if you want)

As I read further into Alice’s journey I will reply in “The “Hero’s Journey” of Alice (part 2)”: Stay Tune!

This image can be found here.

First thought? Of course I ought! (Ch. 1 Part 2)

Summary: What quirky images/ thoughts pop up in my head as I dive into each chapter of The Annotated Alice? Let’s pick up on Alice’s adventure after she falls down the Rabbit Hole.

(Note:  If you’re interested in these ideas, feel free to check out the earlier post I’ve already written about Chapter 1, too, if you want.)

***

My first thoughts?

It is not until the moment where Alice realizes all of the surrounding doors around her are locked, that reality sets in and she wonders how she will get out. I understand that in the heat of the moment, when she is following this Rabbit, she hand not considered where she was going or how she would get out. Carroll refers to too many of the events happening as “again” as if Alice has journeyed on this adventure before. Carroll especially emphasizes this when Alice ponders how in the world she would ever get out “again”.

Perhaps this déjà vu feeling will appear throughout the story and she will use her previous experiences to help her find a way out of Wonderland.

A coincidence? I think not!

One of my favorite and most fascinating scenes, yes I know it is only the first chapter yet this is my favorite thus far, is the trial and error Alice goes through to open a door. The mere fact that a bottle appears on a table, when she consciously knew it was not there before, sugests that this world has a mind of its own. Let’s count the numerous signs the world gives Alice to discover her way out of the room of doors.

  1. tiny golden key
  2. low curtain covering the 15 in. door
  3. little bottle “DRINK ME”
  4. little glass box “EAT ME”

These numerous signs could possibly demonstrate the many opportunities one has to solve a dilemma. Of course, the room could also be playing tricks with Alice since Carroll contrasts the “dark” room with the “bright” flower beds on the other side of the door.

This leads me to my observation of Alice’s thought process. For such a young girl, Alice’s knowledge is highly advanced compared to the average little girl. Carroll even refers to her as the “wise” Alice!  The depth of which she thinks through the consequences of drinking the bottle conveys a part of Alice’s complex personality. The way Alice copes with the realization of not having the key also expresses another part of her personality. In the end of the chapter she comes to the conclusion that she does not care what happens. The ever so quick transitions between consciously thinking through her actions to not even caring, reflects her impatience and her desire to go home.

I will end the fact that Alice could not remember what a candle looks like when it is blown out. This shows that the connection between her and reality is diminishing. Her forgetfulness follows when she leaves the golden key on the table while drinking the bottle.

My prediction: Her connection to reality will continue to reduce as her adventure carries on, until either she wakes up or perhaps even dies.

Stay tuned for “First thought? Of course I ought!” (Chapter 2)!

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“Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined, In Memory’s mystic band, Like pilgrim’s wither’d wreath of flowers, Pluck’d in a far-off land.” -Lewis Carroll

This image can be found here.

First Thought? Of Course I Ought! (Ch.1 part 1)

Summary: What quirky images/ thoughts pop up in my head as I dive into each chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland? With that in mind, lets begin with Chapter 1.

***

“Down the Rabbit-Hole” is the title of Chapter one in The Annotated Alice,  introduction and notes by Martin Gardner and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

My first thoughts?

From my past knowledge of the Walt Disney version I suspect Alice will find a White Rabbit and follow him “down the Rabbit-Hole”.  Kudos for Disney!

Sure enough, Alice discovered a White Rabbit, only it is peculiar that her curiosity is not sparked until the White Rabbit takes out a watch. She believes a Rabbit who speaks out loud is quite natural; perhaps this is because she is a child. I have also noticed Carroll’s use of very in what is processing through Alice’s mind. Of course, we must take in to consideration this is a child’s mind and generally children exaggerate the simplest of matters, yet could Carroll be using this word in italics to emphasize this? The use of very and other words in italics could very well be similar to the emphasis William Golding places on symbolism in his book Lord of the Flies.

As Mr. Long would say, I will chase this rabbit and see where it leads me and I will keep everyone updated on my findings.

I will touch more about this issue in my next blogs yet I cannot help but mention the quite frequent death references. It’s only the first chapter!

For example, Alice is falling down the Rabbit Hole and is afraid of letting go of a jar for “fear of killing somebody underneath” (pg.13). If I was falling down a hole the first thought that would come to my mind would not be to think of what might happen to the creatures below me. I would probably be wondering if I myself was going to die. Many children’s stories are based off of the dead or fear of dying: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood. I am not surprised that death is mentioned, the frequency is what I find peculiar.

The appearances of repetition are also frequent in this chapter. Carroll is creating a mood and creating tension for the reader by repeating “Down” and “thump!”. The dark references play a factor into whether or not Carroll is symbolizing evil or bad, or if Carroll is just stating the hole was too dark to see anything. This could also tie into the death references and/or the drug references. Could Alice be dreaming or could this be a hallucination or perhaps a concussion?

I will leave on this note: anyone can enjoy Alice in Wonderland without analyzing any part of the text. Carroll, after all, did write this for a little girl to enjoy, not the entire world to analyze and critique. Although analyzing to the point where only the owner of the book can read the comments and shorthand notes in the margins is always interesting and, I believe, a fun way to get a full understanding of a text.

Stay alert for Part 2 of “First thought? Of course I ought!” (Chapter 1)

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“Let us once more adventure, hand in hand: Give me belief again—in Wonderland!” –Vincent Starrett, in Brillig (Chicago: Dierkes Press, 1949)
This image can be found here.