Many people love Alice in Wonderland, but few have taken the time to understand the deeper meanings within the book. This blog post will discuss these hidden themes and help you to understand Alice’s true journey through Wonderland.
Example: Let’s take Alice for example. She eats and drinks things she shouldn’t. She begins to grow larger than normal after she has eaten. This can be taken literally (she would normally gain weight after eating) or symbolically (her perception of her body changes).
Another great example is Alice’s role in food. We will also be looking at her relationship to food. Through many characters’ actions, food is used throughout the book as a metaphor to help us understand or learn. We can see this in Alice eating things she shouldn’t (shrinking/growing) and when we look at Alice eating the “Eat me”, which makes her shrink down enough to fit into the White Rabbit’s house.
Another example is: You can identify which characters are teaching other characters about a topic and not being taught by them. In general, characters who have received special information from others belong to one side of the divide. Those who don’t have such information belong to the other side. For example, the Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat are characters that have received information from other sources. You also have Alice and most of her family members who are being taught by someone else, rather than learning from others.
The Pathway out of Childhood
Many children have been exposed Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland story. It may seem like a simple fairy tale but it is much more complex.
The events in the story correspond with the stages of growth and progression through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. John Griffin and Charles Frey wrote that Alice is on an emotional quest for her identity, and her evolution. They want her to understand logic, rules authority time, and death.
This allows you to interpret the story in an entirely new way.
“Why, six impossible things have I believed before I ate breakfast!”
The first step in the journey is curiosity
Alice becomes distracted by daydreams, and is unable to concentrate on the story when her sister shows her an advanced novel. Alice is easily distracted, and she has a childish outlook. Her imagination is wild, and she begins to imagine her ideal world. Alice is seduced by a white bunny.
“Alice follows a bunny because it’s “burning with curiosity.” She quickly discovers that things are becoming more ‘curious, curiouser’.
Children are often the most curious and are eager to learn.
Tweedle Del, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Del tell TweedleDee the story of the Curious Oysters. This story shows how curiosity can lead you to dangerous results. This is a great example of how adults use stories to terrorize children, and destroy their curiosity and creativity. They encourage children to stop asking questions and grow up. Tweedle Die and Tweedle Dum are two examples of parents trying control Alice’s imagination.
Although it would have been a terrible parent, it’s a beautiful pig.
Alice is curious, and she gets into trouble. Alice is told by the white rabbit to hurry into his house and grab his gloves right away. She discovers the words “Eat Me!” written on a cookie. While looking for them, she finds the words “Eat me!” written on a piece of cookie. The biscuit is quickly consumed by her.
Alice is still in the childhood years and requires guidance from an elder person. At this time, however, such a figure is not available. We believe that children require gentle guidance to grow emotionally, cognitively, and physically. (Henslin).
Alice eating a cookie symbolizes two fundamental principles. Another example of how curiosity may lead to problems is first. After hearing the Curious Oysters tale, she decided to eat the cookie. Sometimes, children may rebel against their parents and do wrong things.
Kohlberg’s first theory about moral development, stage 1, is illustrated by Kohlberg eating the cookie. This states that “right” means anything that does not result in punishment or rewards (Wood). There were no parents or adults nearby so curiosity prevailed over good judgement. She ate the cookie.
Peer pressure could have also contributed to this situation as a child. Each cookie was labeled with an individual command in the cookie jar. These cookies instructed her on how to proceed.
Peer pressure is a constant threat to everyone. She gives in. She quickly grows into a giant. Her immense self is viewed by white rabbits and other characters as a monster instead of a young girl. One culture may view young people who succumb to peer pressure and engage in risky behavior or use drugs as savages.
Alice is a childish thinker, an immature character, and a source of bewilderment. Alice enters the rabbit hole first before reaching the door. She provides herself with “excellent advice” and states that “if one drinks a lot from poison bottles, it is almost certain that one will disagree with one sooner or later.”
The door responds with a confused expression. An adult who is in a relationship that involves a small child often can’t understand the reasoning of a young child. Formal operations is when the child can “apply logic in abstract, verbal, and hypothetical situations”. This occurs between 11-12 years of age. Alice is clearly not at the stage of her thinking.
Soon after Alice enters Wonderland, she discovers something that isn’t quite right. Alice is told by a dodo bird to form a circle with other people to dry off after being washed up on sand. The water around them makes it difficult to understand what he’s telling him. He continues to direct her. Blindly following an older woman reveals her infantile ignorance.
Alice is later confronted by another puzzlement in the novel. The White King sits waiting for his messengers. He asks Alice to take a look at the road to find out if they are following their route. Alice says, “I don’t see anyone on this road.” Alice says, her voice rising in frustration, “I wish that I could see people on roads,” “I wish that I could see everyone!” You can’t expect anything less from that distance. It is all I can do to see people in this light.”
This is the preoperational stage of childhood. It has symbolic function, which means that one item could be used as a substitute for another (Wood).The author seems to be trying to communicate the idea that “nobody” may refer to both a person or “nothing”. This is yet another misinterpretation between adults and children. Alice can accept the assertion of an adult much easier than the previous one. This indicates that she is psychologically closer to the operations stage.
I wonder if I was transformed in the middle of the night. Let’s take a look at this. Did I feel the exact same way this morning as I felt when I woke up? It’s almost like I remember feeling different. If I feel differently, the next question is “Who are I?” This is the great riddle.
“Can we tell you who you are?”
Alice loses self-respect as she pursues her dream. This is what most people experience as they enter puberty.
“When Alice gets asked by the Caterpillar “Who are you?” Alice is unable to respond, and Carroll exposes the vulnerability of that child. Their knowledge and growth in the world and themselves change so rapidly that any sense of an identity is very precarious if it does not vanish. (Frey).
Alice has reached the point in her story when she is unable to identify herself: adolescence.
“Children who live in industrialized nations must be able and willing to navigate their own way. They seek to establish an identity that is different from the ‘younger’ world that has been abandoned and that which is still reachable’ (Henslin). Alice is left alone, since the caterpillar has no instructions.
“[She]She is seldom helped by the animals she meets.” “Whereas in Grimms’ or Andersen stories, or John Ruskin tales, the encounter between the protagonist and a helpful animal or bird would signify their generosity towards the environment or nature,” (Frey). Alice in Wonderland tells the story of a child’s life journey, which is very different to fairy tales. The real world is a place where a child has to make her own decisions.
Sociology refers to this stage as transitional adulthood. Young adults begin to “discover” themselves and then gradually take on more responsibility. They are serious. (Henslin). Alice has now learned to manage her problems and is able to regain her sense of self.
Alice finally grows up because the queen has lost her fury at Alice. She grabs a previous mushroom out of her pocket and then eats the whole thing. She is able to overcome the problem and grow tremendously. This is most likely an indication that she has faced her anxiety and taken responsibility.
Alice in Wonderland is a wonderful representation of childhood and adulthood. Alice’s life is full of good and bad decisions, just as a child’s. Alice, like most people, learns from her mistakes to become more mature. Alice also has a greater understanding of how to deal with difficulties and how to view different situations.
“I fear that I won’t be able to explain myself, sir.” “You see, I’m not you.”
When you look at the text carefully, you will find many hidden messages and themes beyond the superficial level of Alice in Wonderland. These ideas weren’t intended to be used by children, but were meant to help adults understand their world better. This blog post gives you an idea of one interpretation of this book. Do any other resonate with your experience?