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Alice in Wonderland: What Message Does It Send?

I dug deep to find out what Alice in Wonderland was really about.

The classic story, Alice in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll, has been part of numerous childhood occasions and merely seemed like a simple fairy tale, but it goes much, much deeper than that. Interpreting to Charles Frey and John Griffin, “Alice is engaged in a romance quest for her own identity and growth, for some understanding of logic, rules, the games people play authority, time, and death,” – Charles Frey. The trials that transpire in the story actually have a direct association with how one grows and develops through childhood and adolescence.

In the start of Alice in Wonderland, Alice imagines and is unable to pay attention while her mother reads an advanced novel to her. This displays how child-like Alice’s mindset it. She then begins to piece together the picture-perfect world of her own while her imaginings spin wild. Later, Alice notices a white rabbit created by her imagination and triggers her interest. “Alice follows the rabbit because she is "burning with curiosity." Soon she discovers things becoming "curiouser and curiouser,"- Charles Frey. It is typically youngsters who have the most curiosity; they are the ones who are all the time eager to learn extra.

Along farther in the story, she is told the tale of the Curious Oysters by Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum which is about how curiosity can lead to dreadful things. This bares a strong resemblance to how adults will often tell children to grow up, destroying a child’s sense of imagination and curiosity. From this deduction, we can assume that Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum symbolize parents and are trying to keep Alice in check.

Further in the book, Alice gets in more trouble because of her curiosity. The white rabbit tells Alice to run into the house to swiftly fetch his gloves. While searching for the gloves, she opens a cookie jar only to find a cookie with ‘Eat Me’ printed on it. Without rational judgment, she guzzles down the cookie. “We view children as needing gentle guidance if they are to develop emotionally, intellectually, morally, even physically,”. It becomes apparent that she is still in her childhood stage and needs an adult figure to guide her. There are two very significant things that this circumstance represents.

The first is, again, how curiosity gets one into mischief. She eats the cookie after being told the tale of The Curious Oysters. This demonstration how a child will challenge a parent after being told it is wrong. By doing this, she demonstrates Kohlberg’s first theory of moral development, stage one of the preconventional level, which states that “right is whatever avoids punishment or gains reward,” Because there was no one around, she curiously acquired a cookie.

This situation perhaps stands for peer pressure as well. Inside the cookie jar, were many cookies with different labels for example “Eat Me”; basically, they were all telling her just what to do. Just like everyone does at some point, she gives into the peer pressure. As a consequence, she grows promptly into a giant. The white rabbit, as well as a few other characters she encountered, perceive her as a monster instead of a little girl. This possibly represents how society perceives people who give into peer pressure as monstrous. For example, if a person were to give into peer pressure and smoke marijuana, there are some that would consider that person monstrous for doing something that was an indiscretion.

There are many instances where Alice shows her true colors of child-like intelligence and misunderstanding. One precise case of this is when Alice first falls down the rabbit hole and is antagonized by the door. When she gives herself “some good advice,” she says “For if one drinks much from a bottle marked poison, it is almost certain to disagree with one sooner or later,” the door retorts “I beg your pardon,” with a confused look on his face. This occurrence shows the connection between a young child and an adult because adults are often unable to grasp the logic of a child. It isn’t until the formal operations stage, at age 11 or 12, that the child is able to “apply logical thought to abstract, verbal, and hypothetical situations,”. Evidently, Alice has not yet attained this level of thinking.

Before long after Alice enters Wonderland, she encounters something else that makes no sense to her. When she is extremely wet after being washed to shore, she listens to a dodo bird who tells her to run in a circle with everyone else in order to dry off while the water keeps submerging them. What he is telling her to do makes no sense of any kind but she continues to do it nevertheless. By blindly complying what the adult figure has told her, she exposes her child-like inexperience.

On another occasion, later in the book, Alice is confronted with another perplexing situation. “The White King is waiting for his messengers and asks Alice to look along the road to see if they are coming: “I see nobody on the road,” said Alice. “I only wish I had such eyes,” the King remarked in a fretful tone. “To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance too! Why, it's as much as I can do to see real people, by this light”. This somewhat exemplifies the preoperational stage which includes symbolic function; which means that one thing can stand for another . Superficially, the author is trying to get a point across that “nobody” can stand for a person as well as “nothing.” Again, this portrays the affiliation between adults and children, but this time, it seems easier to follow for her and makes, astonishingly, more sense than Alice’s previous realization. This shows how she is mentally progressing towards the formal operations stage little by little.

As Alice developments through her dream, she loses her sense of identity just as most people do when they hit adolescence. “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,” -Charles Frey. At this point in the story, Alice has gotten to an age where she has lost her identity, adolescence.

“In the industrialized world, children must find themselves on their own… they attempt to carve out an identity that is distinct from both the “younger” world being left behind and the “older” world that is still out of range,”-Henslin. The caterpillar doesn’t ever give her direction and she is now required to find out who she is on her own. “She is rarely aided by the creatures she meets. Whereas in a tale of Grimms or Andersen or John Ruskin, the protagonist's meeting with a helpful bird or beast would signal his or her charity toward the world or nature,”-Charles Frey. This critical indication shows how, unlike other fairy tales, the story represents a child’s true progression through life, one that paint a picture of how real life functions and how one will have to figure things out on their own.

In sociology, there is a stage which is called transitional adulthood. This is a period where they “find themselves… young adults gradually ease into responsibilities… they become serious,”-Henslin. By the end of the story, Alice learns to deal with her difficulties and gains sight of her identity. The queen, who loses her temper and wants to kill Alice, is Alice’s obstacle which finally helps her to develop to an adult. To leap over this obstacle, she reaches into her pocket to find a mushroom from before, eats it, and grows to a massive size. This most likely exemplifies how she is facing her fear and taking on accountability or “growing up.”

Alice in Wonderland is a unadulterated, down-to-earth example of childhood through adolescence. Just as a child’s life is filled with moral and immoral choices, hers is too. As most do, Alice learns from her experiences and in due course becomes more matured. Alice in Wonderland has many connections to how one grows and develops from childhood up through adolescence. Alice matures emotionally by how she thinks, how she deals with her problems, and how she perceives different situations, all of which are encompassed in the progression of a child.



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