Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lack of Answers in Alice in Wonderland

As I was reading Alice in Wonderland, I noticed that Alice never really found any solutions to the problems she faced. For example, she did not understand the Queen of Hearts and her love of execution nor did she grasp the meaning of the croquet game. She was always fearful of the dreadful command "off with her head" because she was totally sure if the guards would actually obey. She doesn't understand the caucus race and when she tries to offer a solution, it makes everything worse. Like Virginia said in her post, I think it adds to the unsettling nature of Wonderland.

I also thought it was interesting at the beginning how Alice helps narrate the story through her own thoughts. When there are less characters around, she provides the background thoughts of the situation. She reveals herself to the reader and helps propel the story forward.


  1. When I think of this, it is interesting to see how this setting gives way to a very didactic reading of the book for children. Alice is forced to survive in this weird, fantastical world where Carroll magnifies social, political, and gender issues in British society. She is forced out of the domestic and safe realm into a realm that is full of things of which she cant make sense. Her domestic role is exemplified through the apron that she carries with her, seen in pictures illustrated soon after the book was published. Sadly, her age as well shows the naivety of her gender so its a bit hard to see her as a feminist heroic figure because she is charged with images of female subordination in a way. :(

  2. The lack of answers is a really interesting concept--especially when we consider that Carroll excuses Wonderland by making it into a dream, negating any reason for a final answer. Perhaps, he is commenting on the absurdity of empirical knowledge. As we discussed in class with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Victorians were obsessed with empirical data--documents, experiments, etc.--and maybe Carroll is satirizing this obsession by refusing to offer answers.