The Maturation of Alice in Wonderland

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Cassandra Gerodimos

The famous fairy tale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, is an allusion in its entirety to life after childhood innocence is shed, and adulthood is reached. This is shown in the decisions that Alice must make, and the things that she experiences regarding trust, puzzles, lessons, and power. Alice uses the whimsical and mystical creatures and situations in Wonderland to make the difficult realization that adult world will be different from the world that she is used to as a child, easier to accept as she slowly loses her child-like innocence.

Alice has to make decisions concerning who, and what, to trust as she encounters the white rabbit, the ‘drink me bottle’ and the ‘eat me cake’. While Alice is sitting on the bank, a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat and sporting a pocket watch runs by saying, in plain English, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” Without a second thought, Alice puts her trust in this abnormal rabbit, and chases him through a field and down a rabbit hole. When Alice is in the room with a seemingly endless amount of doors, she stumbles upon a bottle that says ‘Drink Me’ on it. At this moment, Alice has second thoughts about trusting this label, and decides to check the bottle for a marking that says ‘poison’. This is a childlike thought that it would be marked both ‘poison’ and ‘drink me’, but it is a portrayal of the fact that Alice is, in fact, still a child and still possesses the innocence that many adults wish they have, but that she is still learning the ways of the adult world.

The puzzles that are presented to Alice throughout her journey through Wonderland are representative of the unsolvable mysteries that make up life. There are no clear answers to the riddles, just as there is no clear meaning to life. One of the more famous riddles that Alice is asked comes from the mad hatter. The hatter asks Alice “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” and after Alice ponders this...
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