Alice in Wonderland Literary Analysis

Topics: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll Pages: 5 (1686 words) Published: April 27, 2013
Alice In Wonderland Literary Analysis
Many themes are explored when reading Lewis Carrol’s, Alice in Wonderland. Themes of childhood innocence, child abuse, dream, and others. Reading the story, it was quite clear to see one particular theme portrayed through out the book: child to adult progression. Alice in Wonderland is full of experiences that lead Alice to becoming more of herself and that help her grow up. It’s a story of trial, confusion, understanding, and success. And more confusion. Though others might argue that the story was distinctly made for children just to get joy out of funny words, and odd circumstances, the tale has obvious dynamics that confirm the fact of it being a coming of age story.

Each encounter with the individual characters represent some part of childhood, or some part of being a child. It’s the whole growing process of childhood to adulthood. Each character is part of the child growing process. From the White Rabbit, to the Red Queen, every one displays some part of childhood we’re all familiar with. Alice is the child growing, and experiencing all the changes accompanied with growing up, and these characters demonstrate the qualities of every stage. "Alice is by habit a questioning child whose thoughts are constantly reported to the reader as being of equal interest to the strange happenings as he encounters." [1]

One supporting factor of the theme is not inside the book, but in the history behind it. “Alice was the daughter of Henry Liddell, the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, where Charles Dodgson lectured in mathematics.” [2] Lewis Carroll was Charles Dodgson’ s pseudonym. He was employed by Henry Liddell and became friends with the family. Dodgson had based the stories he wrote on Alice, and the stories he told her and her siblings. He got to watch Alice as she grew up, being so close with the family. This supports the fact that it was a book telling of the child coming to terms with growing up.

The start of the book has Alice falling asleep, then falling into a hole. This represents Alice being in her childhood, asleep and dreaming where anything can happen, to waking to maturity as an adult in the real world. It is only her decision on where to stay. “Alice's greatest challenge in Wonderland often seems not to be how to return to the aboveground world, as might be expected, but in remaining uninfected by the dangerous and surreal logic of the "adult" Wonderlanders she encounters…” [3]

In chapter one, Alice finds herself falling down a rabbit’s hole. Upon reaching the bottom, she wants more than anything to be let inside the garden she finds beyond a door that she happens to be too big for. This is an example of the realization that a child goes through when they find out growing up is inevitable. It’s like a child wanting to ride in the grocery cart at the store, and having their parents tell them they’re “too big”. There are many great things about being a child that kids just don’t want to give up. They want all the benefits of being an adult, while still being a child. Alice looking into the door and realizing she is too big to be let in is the first occurrence of her coming to terms with the fact that she is growing up. When Alice finds the bottle labeled, “Drink Me”, and does so, she is reduced to the size suitable for fitting through the door. Only after does she notice, to her dismay, she has left the key upon the table that she is now too small to reach. This is a representation of the fact that despite the desire to have both advantages of being big and small, you can only have one. However, Alice finds another labeled treat, and eats the cake identified, “Eat Me”. The change that occurs after devouring the dessert in chapter two, makes her the right size again to reach the table top to obtain the key, but makes her again, too big to fit through the garden door. The awkwardness of her size shows how uncomfortable a child might be when starting to grow up into their...
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