A Look at Alice’s Character in Wonderland
An assignment in the Fiction and Fantasy course I am taking required reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. I don’t believe I’d ever read the originals, but they are far different from a child’s world of imagination when read as an adult. I really wanted to dig deeper into Alice’s world, however, the assignments only allow us less than a 400-word count, and I could have written 10 pages on just the symbolism alone. This still isn’t my best work, because I was rushed to complete this as well as another course assignment.
As this was my first time ever reading both Alice in Wonderland (AW) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (ALG), I came to the conclusion that Alice was an adolescent going through an identity crisis, perhaps suffering from mental illness, drug/alcohol introduction, and sexual abuse.
The beginning of ALW reveals instances of indulgence and innocence changed – such as the White Rabbit (fertility, innocence), the cake (something sweet), the “drink me” bottle (indulgence), a golden key, orange marmalade (sweet), and later the white roses painted red. Everything in the first chapter presented to Alice is “sinful” in one way or another, and also seemed both keep her innocence, but at the same time reveal it was not so much. Alice has indulged in the “sweetness” of cake and a drink, both of which change both her attitude (“people are pushy”) and altitude (“nothing is the same”) of things to become her. In later chapters, Alice is presented as both a victim and someone unusual (as a possible example of mental illness – remembering this is the 1800s).
In Chapter 2, Alice begins to speak to objects (her own feet) as if they can hear and understand her, and she does this as well in ALG when speaking to the kitten as if it were human (she also bullies the kitten). In both cases, Alice speaks to herself in third person, as if she is someone else altogether, and refers to herself by other names, especially after the Cheshire Cat begins to call Alice “Mary Ann.” Once the Cat tells Alice “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad,” then it becomes clear that Alice is perhaps in a place in which others are not mentally stable. Eventually, Alice admits to playing games with herself, and some of the games enter her dream – even though they may not make sense at first.