Comparing Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, By Lewis Carroll And Don Quixote, By Miguel De Cervantes

1974 words - 8 pages

Growth is inevitable and the most anticipated quest of man. It is a never-ending quest to evolve, fuelled by the constant hope for survival. Once natural growth halts, man’s focus shifts to the growth within. The coming of age, associates itself with this transformation from child to man, the step of letting go of childish ways and moving on to more mature things. The need for such a dramatic transformation is questioned by Miguel de Cervantes and Lewis Carroll in their texts, Don Quixote and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. While the texts follow two contrasting characters, they are brought together by the theme of fantasy. Cervantes’ Don Quixote is an old gentleman of noble lineage who becomes tired of the monotony and the lack of meaning in his life. Through his maddening and compulsive taste in books of chivalry, he concludes that the ideal life is that which is undertaken by a knight-errant. He chooses to leave his home and ensue the path of knight-errantry. Carroll’s Alice, on the other hand, is a young girl who cannot fully comprehend the world of adults but still adheres to the etiquette drawn out by society. She is transported to the land of Wonderland where the surreal is real, and where whatever she thought she knew, now becomes nothing at all. The importance of fantasy in the lives of their protagonists is shown by Cervantes and Carroll through the impact it has on the growth of the protagonists. This becomes evident through their placement in phantasmagorical settings, their interactions with the surrounding characters, and their final detachment from fantasy.
Both authors bring madness into their world to detach their protagonists from reality. In Don Quixote, the world of madness is one which is contrived by the protagonist. Quixote detaches himself from the surrounding characters as a result of his madness. When Sancho tries to tell Quixote that the “lovely princess Micomicona... [is] Dorotea” in disguise, it does not fit into Quixote’s frame of thinking and is therefore rejected, “Can you be in your right mind?” This irony is used by Cervantes to introduce the reader to the issue of perspective. In this world there are two paradigms which are followed: one is to see the world through the fantastical and idealistic madness of Quixote, and the other is to view it through the realism adopted by the other characters of the text. Quixote’s madness creates a world where everything is taken at face value, not allowing the idea of deception to exist. When the issue of deception arises, he formulates alternate explanations which are in keeping with his perspective, stating that “...everything that happens in this place is brought about by enchantment.” The alternate view which is held by most of the other players is that, “anyone could see when he said that those windmills were giants, and those friars’ mules were dromedaries and those flock of sheep were enemy armies”. The hyperbolic images in Sancho’s sarcasm give the reader an...

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