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Alice’s Dreams And Thoughts In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland

2227 words - 9 pages

Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland follows a young girl named Alice on her adventures through her dream world of Wonderland. It is a scary world for “poor Alice”, as the narrator often calls her, as she battles changing size, being terrorized by over sized animals, and being yelled at by an evil queen. While battling all of these things she is also battling her own mental stability. In the novel, Lewis Carroll elaborates on Alice’s dreams and thoughts, and there are wide varieties of interpretations by readers.
In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, dreaming could debatably be one of the most important factors. This is because the story takes place in Alice’s dreamland of Wonderland.
In the novel, “The loose, episodic dream structure and playful use of symbolic nonsense enable varied and even contradictory readings” (Sigler). The dream like state of the Alice books brings various meanings to readers. Part of the appeal may be that the books can cause the books to mean what the reader wants or needs because of the dream like state. Alice’s appeal could be her identity, which even then inhabitants of Wonderland struggle to understand (Sigler).
----However, it is not simply a dream for “poor Alice”, but more of a night terror. For example, in the novel Alice says,” ‘It was much pleasanter at home,’ thought poor Alice, ‘when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn’t gone down that rabbit-hole-and yet-and yet-it’s rather curious, you know, this sort of life’” (Carroll, 43)! It is in fact her own imagination sending her though these obstacles, which could very well be terrifying for a young girl. Though some believe that it terrifies Alice because, “Along with many other interpretations, the Alice books have consistently been read as portrayals of the experience of growing up and the construction of agency and identity. A number of critics have pointed out how strongly readers identify with Alice, our surrogate and guide through this unpredictable, sometimes funny, often frightening and violent, process” (Sigler). As many readers are older, they understand that growing up is in fact a terrifying process. Therefore, they do not see Alice being in any real danger throughout her adventure, so whether Alice’s dreams are pleasant or night terrors up to the reader’s interpretation.
Thoughts are a large part of the novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This is because the whole experience happens in young Alice’s mind. In the novel, “When the Caterpillar asks Alice, `Who are you,' and Alice can barely stammer out a reply, `I--hardly know', then Carroll is exposing the quintessential vulnerability of the child whose growth and knowledge of self and the world vary so greatly from day to day that a sense of answerable identity becomes highly precarious if not evanescent” (Frey and Griffith). This is an example of how even Alice questions her own emotional...

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