An analysis of language features present in Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland which make it effective for children
"You see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately that Alice
had begun to think that very few things were really impossible", and
that is the appeal of "Wonderland"; the confines of reality, which
children are unaware of and adults resent, do not exist. The story is
therefore, for both ages, a form of escapism, however, whereas the
adults' "Wonderland" is limited to the page for a child it is
enchantingly plausible and they are able to enjoy the magical
anticipation of the landscapes and characters that exist beyond the
bounds of the text.
For the aforementioned reason fantasy has been a successful genre of
children's fiction from the beginning of the nineteenth century up to
the present day however, in my opinion, Carroll is truly a master
because within the archetype of the modern fairy tale he speculates
upon the problem of fantasy writing and implies his own somewhat
cynical and macabre views on politics, childhood and the imagination.
This renders "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" ambiguous and it can
therefore be enjoyed on more than one level and I believe that
"enjoyed" is the correct word because the book does not require the
reader to pick up on the dark undertones for them to appreciate it.
This is essential because children take language on a very literal
level and are therefore unable to understand pragmatics.
However, despite my comments on the subtext Carroll's main motivation
in writing the book was the entertainment of children and not to make
a philosophical point. The fact that "Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland" is predominantly a children's book is explicit as soon as
the reader opens it due to the typography; the large rounded font that
is pleasant on the eye accompanied by illustrations which break up the
blocks of text making it less daunting for the young readership. It is
also reinforced by the generally simple lexis and syntax, the presence
of phonetic effect such as rhyme and alliteration and the fast pace of
the story which prevents a young listener losing interest.
Carroll never stays with one idea for longer than is necessary;
when Alice falls down the rabbit hole the narrator says "Down, down,
down.", this is an example of triadism which is often present is
children's literature because the repetition focuses the child's
concentration and the third repetition gives a pleasanter rhythm
however, Carroll also uses it to give the impression of a great
distance without being verbose.
Upon Alice's landing of the story's pace is increased by the use of
the dynamic verbs "jumped" and "looked", this change of pace and sense
of action ensures that the child's interest is renewed which is
important as children have short attention spans. There are several
other techniques deployed for this reason; the typography plays an
extremely important role...