Lewis Carroll's works Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There are by many people considered nonsense books for children. Of course, they are, but they are also much more. Lewis Carroll had a great talent of intertwining nonsense and logic, and therefore creating sense within nonsense. If you look past the nonsense you can find a new meaning other than the one you found completing your third grade book report. You find that the books are full of references and parallel aspects of Victorian Society such as topics of etiquette, education, and prejudice, and through these topic's is shown a child's ability to survive in a hostile world. By this last statement I am referring to Cohen's comment that "Wonderland" (published in1865) captures "the disappointments, fears, and bewilderment that all children encounter in their dealings with authoritarian, pompous and mystifying adults" which Wonderland seems to have no deficiency of.
Throughout the story Carroll portrays his views on the education of the times. He make's "morals and tales of obedience"(Brown,May Lee) seem nonsensical by the character of the Duchess and Alice's preoccupation with her lessons. The Duchess keeps insisting to Alice that "Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it"(Wonderland, 70), but with morals like "mustard and dogs both bite"(Wonderland, 70) you can see this rule is not quite right. "The absurdity of such a character"(Brown,May Lee) trying to teach Alice anything is a parody of what Carroll thought about the lessons children were being taught. Also
"Alice refers to her lessons and her education, usually very proud of the learning that she has acquired. It seems, however, that the information that she remembers from her lessons is usually either wrong or completely useless."(Brown, May Lee)
All of Alice's knowledge seems to consist mainly of maxims and morals about obedience and safety, which Carroll considers very limited. In the books Carroll also inserts many verses that were parodies of former verses for children. He rewrites them in pure nonsense having no moral or meaning other than pure amusement. "This rejection of typical Victorian manners and education of children supports one of the themes in his Alice books, the idea that a child's imagination has value."(Brown, May Lee)
Another view Carroll shows through the eyes of Alice is his thoughts on prejudice. In a scene from Alice in Wonderland the cook is violently hurling saucepans, plates, dishes and what ever else she can get her hands on at the Duchess and the baby. At this the Duchess states "If everyone mined their own business the world would go round a deal faster than it does." Alice, thinking this as a great opportunity to show off her knowledge, starts to discuss the Earth's rotation on it's axis. To which the Duchess replies "Talking of axes, chop off her head!" In this passage Carroll shows that
"adults are cruel, childlike, irresponsible, impulsive, and self-indulgent-- the exact five adjectives Wohl asserts that Victorians attributed to the Blacks and to the lower classes. Carroll manipulates these prejudices and shows how these characteristics also apply to adults, authority figures, and even royalty."(Brown, Catherine Ionata)
In short the whole scene is a mockery of commonly held prejudices of its day. Another place where the ignorance of prejudices is shown is in Through the Looking Glass. While waking through the "wood where things have no names" Alice meets up with a fawn and they advance through together. Once they depart from the woods the fawn realizes she is a fawn and Alice is a human child. "The fawn scurries away in fear."(Brown, Wendy Voughon) Carroll uses this...