Child Lost in a World of Adults  &

Child Lost in a World of AdultsLewis Carrolls Wonderland is a queer little universe where a not so ordinary girlis faced with the contradicting nature of the fantastic creatures who live there. AlicesAdventures in Wonderland is a childs struggle to survive in the condescending world ofadults. The conflict between child and adult gives direction to Alices adventures andcontrols all the outstanding features of the work- Alices character, her relationship withother characters, and the dialogue. Alice in Wonderland is on one hand so nonsensicalthat children sometimes feel ashamed to have been interested in anything so silly (Masslich107). The underlying message of Alices Adventures in Wonderland is a rejection ofadult authority.The character of Alice is not at all like what you would find in a typical childrensbook. The character of Alice herself is a bit puzzling, even to the modern child, becauseit does not fit a stereotype. How much more unusual she must have seemed to Victorianchildren, used to girl angels fated for death (in Dickens, Stowe, and others), or toimpossibly virtuous little ladies, or to naughty girls who eventually reform in response toheavy adult pressure… But Alice is neither naughty nor overly nice. Her curiosity leadsher into her initial adventure and most of the latter ones in the book… (Leach 119). AsAlice makes her way through Wonderland , she is faced with many pompous personalities that have their own ways of thinking and do not understand why Alice does not agree withtheir views. Alice takes into consideration what each character says. After becomingquite confused and disgruntled she learns that everyone in Wonderland is in fact mad. Once she has learned this she politely rejects all offers made by characters and tells themhow things are in her mind. More often than not, she is chastised for her opinions, but Howard 3soon learns to take the characters criticisms with stride. Likewise, a child tends to seeadults in the same light. The child know the way that things are in their own mind, butwhen they share their ideas with their parents or other adults they are often told that theirideas are childish and wrong just as Alice was. The reader can see that Alice understandsthat all of the creatures in Wonderland are wrong. Nevertheless there is in her world theunderlying joyful certainty that they are incompetent, absurd, and only a pack of cardsafter all (Hubbell 109).In Alices Adventures in Wonderland Carroll shows the ridiculous nature of adultsthrough his extraordinary characters. The amiable Cheshire Cat is the only character tohelp Alice in her struggle through Wonderland and admit that he is mad. Oh you canthelp that, were all mad here. Im mad. Youre mad (Carroll ). All other charactersare pointlessly didactic and feel the need to constantly snap at her, preach to her, confuseher, or ignore her. The Duchess, for instance, is inconsistent, unpleasant, pointless, and isof no help to Alice in her predicament. flamingoes and mustard both bite. And the moralof that is Birds of a feather flock together (Carroll ). Many children see adults,especially those that are of authority, as having the same nature as the Duchess. Thearbitrary , bloody Queen of Hearts is an ineffective, abysmally stupid person. …sentencefirst – verdict afterwards (Carroll ). The bustling, spruce, worried Rabbit is at heart apoor, foolish, timid creature. Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late (Carroll )! Nomatter how hard Alice tries to talk to the Rabbit he always ignores her. Children oftenfeel as though the adults around them simply ignore them also. Throughout the bookCarroll sympathetically describes the childs feelings of frustration at the illogical way ofthe characters (adults). …she had quite a long argument with the Lory, who at last turnedsulky, and would only say, `I am older than you, and must know better`… (Carroll ). Plain and simple the characters in Alices Adventures in Wonderland are not consistentand they are not fair, but they are in a word Dynamic: Howard 3creatures not merely of the authors imagination, but a permanent stimulus to imaginationin others (Boas 114).Carroll shows Alices frustration with the characters puzzling use oflanguage. This is a heightening of the effect which an adult life must have on a child likeAlice. And the moral of that is-


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