Book 134: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Today’s guest blogger is Scott Cooksey, a student at Jefferson Community and Technical College, who is studying Elementary Education with a minor in Fine Arts: Ceramics. Scott writes,

Many of  us have grown up surrounded by Disney classics, and when I was looking over the list of 1001 books, I came across a title that Disney had adapted into a movie, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now the name of the book might be similar to the movie, but the novel was so different from what I was expecting.

For those of you who either live in the middle of a forest or have never heard the story of Alice, it is about a young girl named Alice who is 7 years old and has a very large imagination. She also questions everything, and you see that side of her throughout the entire book. She is out playing and see spots this white rabbit with kid gloves, a pocket watch, and who also talks. Now the funny thing is that she never once comments on the fact that the rabbit is talking, but that he is wearing kid gloves. Alice follows the rabbit, after all she is a very curious soul, and ends up falling down the rabbit hole, leading her to this new world called Wonderland.

Throughout the entirety of the book Alice is questioned about who and what she is. Whether it was from talking caterpillars to people, all the characters were highly interested to know who this Alice creature was. What I started to pick up on is the fact that she is searching for that answer. In her real world, Alice is being pushed in different directions on who society and the people in her world would like for her to be, but being young and imaginative, she does not want to conform to what everyone else wants. I can relate to her character because being in my college state of life, I keep being pushed into directions, and I am continued to be told what someone else thinks I should be doing. Just like Alice I am on that seemingly-quest of self discovery.

It is hard to pick one favorite character in this particular book because you don’t see much of them at all. You are constantly behind Alice’s eyes and are constantly running into characters who are not only shaping her path in Wonderland, but that add to her growing as a person. One of my favorite characters has to be the Cheshire Cat. He always gives me this feeling of someone who could be two-faced. You do not know whether or not he is good or doing things out of vain intentions. In chapter 6, Alice is on her adventure and runs into the Cheshire Cat for the first time. She is deciding which direction to go next and she asks the Cheshire Cat. In the direction to the right is the Mad Hatter and to the Left is the March Hare. He makes sure to remind her that both parties are rather mad. She replies to him, “But I don’t want to go among mad people” (Carroll 57). Then the Cheshire Cat responds to Alice by indicating that all people are a bit mad to some degree.

Another part that I really thought a lot about was the fact that she constantly was alternating her height. It starts out at the beginning when she comes to a stop from falling down the rabbit hole and she has to figure out a way to get through the doorway and enter into Wonderland. And throughout the book she is either too tall or too small and can never really stay the same and be the real Alice. I think that this alludes to the fact that she is a person trying to figure out who she really is. When she would get to be her regular size, she would not stay that way for long. It was a constant growth or shrink for her.

The only part that I did not enjoy about the book was the language and how it was written. Carroll really used a lot of riddles for folk tales to help dictate what was happening in the story. Also Alice would go off into her own world and start comparing the talking animals to her pet cat Dinah. She would put Dinah in the animals shoes and try to figure out if Dinah would react to the same scenarios in a similar way. The language is obviously used to test the reader and to provoke thought, but I also thought it made the book more confusing than what it really needed to be. I was also stumped on some of the lingo that was used in the book. With it being from an earlier time frame, I knew that what we call things today were not going to be the same. Luckily I had pages upon pages of resources in the back of the book that I could turn to that would help me to fully process what was going on. The resource section also broke down the riddles and gave more insight to what they mean and where there origins were from. So I suggest if you read this book that you invest in a copy with a similar section to turn to.

If you are someone who really enjoys riddles, humor, and a taste for adventure, I must say that this book is probably a good fit for you. It truly captures the childish heart that we all have, regardless of our age, and also challenges your out look on life, through the  journey of this young girl in Wonderland. The book that I purchased is a two-part book. The first is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the second part is Through the Looking-Glass. This is the second part of Alice’s adventures when she returns to Wonderland. If you saw the newer Disney version of Alice in Wonderland, that is what that particular movie is based around. My suggestion though is to go ahead and follow that rabbit with kid gloves down that rabbit hole and enter into Wonderland.

Happy Reading!

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