Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll is a story about a little girl named Alice who falls into a rabbit hole and emerges in the imaginative world of Wonderland. There, she discovers that the rational law of science no longer applies. The author utilizes an odd style of writing that emphasize the moments Alice feels through her journey. The feeling of fear, sadness, innocence, silliness, and curiosity motivates the characters of both Alice’s books. Also, gender role and class struggle plays an important role in both stories that leads to self-analysis.
In the first part of the book, Alice goes through a variety of strange mental and physical changes during her journey. She feels a discomfort when she constantly grows and shrinks. She finds it extremely frustrating for not being the right size which indicates the dilemma that usually occurs to children during puberty. It can be a confusing time when voice starts cracking, clothes don’t fit and body starts to transform. Alice meets different animals who are somewhat rude or friendly. In dealing with these creatures, Alice gains knowledge of what’s good and bad and therefore, she loses the childhood innocence. It’s true that we have to lose something precious in order to gain something priceless. Equally, Alice is able to gain maturity that leads to an inescapable corruption such as displaying emotions or hypocrisy. As an innocent girl, Alice must develop sympathy herself but she does not succeed in doing that when introducing her cat Dinah to the mouse and also when she admits to the pigeon of eating her eggs, in the second part of the book.
Also, fear and violence are employed in the story to remind us of the conflicts that are present in the real world. Both Alice’s books illustrates that even in her fantastical world, she can’t run away from this underlying fact of reality. The Queen of Heart in Through the Looking-Glass is a constant reminder of danger that surrounds us in the physical world. As the Queen frequently shouts “Off with its head!” Through Alice’s experience in Wonderland, she recognizes that things are far more threatening than they appear to be. Both stories contain madness, curiosity and silly behavior. That’s another aspect of the book that makes it so interesting and entertaining. These behaviors help in portraying the events that Alice has trouble explaining to us. When she disapproves an occurrence or finds no justification for it, she usually calls it nonsense. For example, in the second book, Alice finds the trial a complete nonsense and criticizes its procedure.
Class differences are also depicted Through the Looking Glass, when Alice is told a story about walrus and carpenter by Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. The way they’re physical appearance is described indicates that Walrus belonged to upper class while the carpenter was lower class. However, it teaches a complicated concept to children. We learn that the real world consists of those like the walrus who have power over other people and treat them unfairly. Similarly, in Alice’s Adventures, class conflicts are displayed through superior vs. inferior. Though, it’s crucially important to emphasize the point that children readers are not urged to feel lesser about them regardless of any situation.
As it is apparent that Alice comes from an upper middle class family in Victorian England because she expresses proper Victorian ideas of how things should be and should not be. Since this book was written during the Victorian Era, gender roles are clearly portrayed throughout the story. The author portrays women as passive, such as Alice, controlled by the male dominance surrounding her. For instance, she is ordered around by the creatures that dwell in Wonderland who controls her behavior. Many critics have agreed to a statement that Alice makes attempts to break through “the shell of a Victorian woman.” She has all the characteristics of a rebellious person. In contrast, Carroll depicts the consequences of providing excessive power to women. For example, the White Queen and the Queen of Hearts has great power and they rule two major kingdoms. Queen of Hearts is always taking advantage of her supremacy. Her power is undisciplined and often violent. Conversely, the White Queen is represented as womanly who lacks “direct action” that’s needed to run her kingdom smoothly. Through these female characters, Carroll tries to depict that women can’t maintain tranquility while in despair. As a result, he implies that men are able to cope with distress and handle power a lot better than women.
Nonetheless, Alice has proven to be revolutionary and carefree. She progresses throughout her experience and gains an advanced understanding of her adventure. But, when she wakes up from her dream, she is left with the memories of Wonderland. Alice tries to interpret her experiences in relation to herself and the real world. Though, Alice’s experiences led to a rewarding observation but they oppose a logical interpretation. Yet, it is very rare that you’d think one will gain knowledge and maturity through their dreams as Alice did. Like many other Disney stories, that contains stereotypes and concealed messages this one also had gender stereotyping. Though, Alice’s behavior and reactions to her experiences are what makes her unique. They are what motivate her character in both stories. These assortments of emotions are significant that builds her character as well as the stories. It teaches great morals and as the Duchess said, “Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.” Besides that these morals helped us examining our own thoughts and feelings.