Written by Lewis Carroll
      With ninety-two illustrations by John Tenniel
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland first published 1865

              

                      
       


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Lewis Carroll
  

    Lewis Carroll, born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1881), was the son of a churchman and the eldest of eleven children. In 1855, he began teaching as a Mathematical Lecturer at the University of Oxford. In the same year, he began contributing poems and stories to The Comic Times. In 1881, Carroll resigned from lecturing in mathematics so he could devote his full time to writing and mathematical studies. Carroll was a product of the Victorian era and this is most definitely reflected in his writing. Queen Victoria reigned during this time period, and female dominance is displayed in much of Carroll’s work such as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” 

                  
Plot
 


            Type of plot structure: An Episodic Plot




 

First

The plot establishes the setting (Alice catches sight of a White Rabbit in a waistcoat running by her when she sits on a riverbank on a warm summer day, drowsily reading over her sister’s shoulder.), then follows the rising action (White Rabbit pulls out a pocket watch, exclaims that he is late, and pops down a rabbit hole.) through to a climax (Alice follows White Rabbit and she was down the rabbit hole as well.), and concludes with an end (Alice comes upon a great hallway lined with doors.).


 Second

The plot establishes the setting (Alice finds a small door that she opens using a key she discovers on a nearby table.), then follows the rising action (Through the door, she sees a beautiful garden, and Alice begins to cry when she realizes she cannot fit through the door.) through to a climax (She finds a bottle marked “DRINK ME” and downs the contents.), and concludes with an end (She shrinks down to the right size to enter the door.).


 Third

The plot establishes the setting (Alice has left the key on the tabletop above her head.), then follows the rising action (Alice discovers a cake marked “EAT ME”) through to a climax (The cake causes her to grow to an inordinately large height.), and concludes with an end (Still she is unable to enter the garden).


 Fourth

The plot establishes the setting (Alice begins to cry.), then follows the rising action (Her giant tears form a pool at her feet.) through to a climax (As she cries, Alice shrinks and falls into the pool of tears.), and concludes with an end (The pool of tears becomes a sea).


 Fifth

The plot establishes the setting (Alice meets a Mouse.), then follows the rising action (The Mouse accompanies Alice to shore, where a number of animals stand gathered on a bank.) through to a climax (Every animal has the Caucus Race), and concludes with an end (She scares the animals away with tales of her cat, Dinah, and finds herself alone again.).

 Sixth

The plot establishes the setting (Alice meets the White Rabbit again, who mistakes her for a servant and sends her off to fetch his things. While in the White Rabbit’s house, Alice drinks an unmarked bottle of liquid and grows to the size of the room.), then follows the rising action (The White Rabbit returns to his house, fuming at the now-giant Alice, but she swats him and his servants away with her giant hand.) through to a climax (The animals outside try to get her out of the house by throwing rocks at her, which inexplicably transform into cakes when they land in the house.), and concludes with an end (Alice eats one of the cakes, which causes her to shrink to a small size.).


 Seventh

The plot establishes the setting (She wanders off into the forest, where she meets a Caterpillar sitting on a mushroom and smoking a hookah.), then follows the rising action (The Caterpillar and Alice get into an argument, but before the Caterpillar crawls away in disgust, he tells Alice that different parts of the mushroom will make her grow or shrink.) through to a climax (Alice tastes a part of the mushroom, and her neck stretches above the trees. A pigeon sees her and attacks, deeming her a serpent hungry for pigeon eggs.), and concludes with an end (Alice eats another part of the mushroom and shrinks down to a normal height.).


 Eighth

The plot establishes the setting (She wanders until she comes across the house of the Duchess.), then follows the rising action (She enters and finds the Duchess, who is nursing a squealing baby, as well as a grinning Cheshire Cat, and a Cook who tosses massive amounts of pepper into a cauldron of soup.) through to a climax (As she leaves, the Duchess hands Alice the baby.), and concludes with an end (Alice discovers the baby is a pig and lets the pig go).


 Ninth

The plot establishes the setting (Alice meets the Cheshire Cat again. and fades away to nothing but a floating grin.), then follows the rising action (The Cheshire Cat explains to Alice that everyone in Wonderland is mad, including Alice herself.) through to a climax (It gives directions to the March Hare’s house.), and concludes with an end (It fades away to nothing but a floating grin.).


 Tenth

The plot establishes the setting (Alice travels to the March Hare’s house to find the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and the Dormouse having tea together.), then follows the rising action (She is treated rudely by all three, and stands by the tea party, uninvited.) through to a climax (She learns that they have wronged Time and are trapped in perpetual tea-time.), and concludes with an end (After a final discourtesy, Alice leaves.).


 Eleventh

The plot establishes the setting (Alice journeys through the forest.), then follows the rising action (She finds a tree with a door in its side, and travels through it to find herself back in the great hall.) through to a climax (She takes the key and uses the mushroom to shrink down), and concludes with an end (She enters the garden.).


 Twelfth

The plot establishes the setting (After saving several gardeners from the temper of the Queen of Hearts, Alice joins the Queen in a strange game of croquet.), then follows the rising action (The croquet ground is hilly, the mallets and balls are live flamingos and hedgehogs.) through to a climax (The Queen tears about.), and concludes with an end (The Queen calls for the other player’s executions.).


 Thirteenth

The plot establishes the setting (Alice bumps into the Cheshire Cat again, who asks her how she is doing.), then follows the rising action (The King of Hearts interrupts their conversation and attempts to bully the Cheshire Cat, who impudently dismisses the King.) through to a climax (The King takes offense and arranges for the Cheshire Cat’s execution), and concludes with an end (Since the Cheshire Cat is now only a head floating in midair, no one can agree on how to behead it.).


 Fourteenth

The plot establishes the setting (The Duchess approaches Alice and attempts to befriend her, but the Duchess makes Alice feel uneasy.), then follows the rising action (The Queen of Hearts chases the Duchess off and tells Alice that she must visit the Mock Turtle to hear his story.) through to a climax (The Queen of Hearts sends Alice with the Gryphon as her escort to meet the Mock Turtle.), and concludes with an end (Alice shares her strange experiences with the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon, who listen sympathetically and comment on the strangeness of her adventures.).


 Fifteenth

The plot establishes the setting (They hear an announcement that a trial is about to begin, and the Gryphon brings Alice back to the croquet ground.), then follows the rising action (The Knave of Hearts stands trial for stealing the Queen’s tarts. The King of Hearts leads the proceedings, and various witnesses approach the stand to give evidence. The Mad Hatter and the Cook both give their testimony, but none of it makes any sense. The White Rabbit, acting as a herald, calls Alice to the witness stand.) through to a climax (The King goes nowhere with his line of questioning, but takes encouragement when the White Rabbit provides new evidence in the form of a letter written by the Knave.), and concludes with an end (The letter turns out to be a poem, which the King interprets as an admission of guilt on the part of the Knave.).


 Sixteenth

The plot establishes the setting (Alice believes the note to be nonsense and protests the King’s interpretation.), then follows the rising action (The Queen becomes furious with Alice and orders her beheading.) through to a climax (Alice grows to a huge size), and concludes with an end (She knocks over the Queen’s army of playing cards.).


 Seventeenth

The plot establishes the setting (Alice finds herself awake on her sister’s lap), then follows the rising action (She realizes that she is back at the riverbank.) through to a climax (She tells her sister about her dream and goes inside for tea.), and concludes with an end (Her sister ponders Alice’s adventures.).


Tone
 

Lewis Caroll successfully utilizes a large amount of wordplays and linguistics conventions in Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland to show the feelings of Confusion and Humorous. In chapter X, endless pawns on multiple meanings of words are through out the context. Whiting refers to a kind of fish and some kind of powder to whiten the boots and shoes. Language not only plays a significant role of the source of joy, but it can also be a source of great confusion. By using these two strategies, readers are amused and confused at the same time while reading each chapter. 


Style

Metaphor

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland reflects Victorian era in many aspects by describing and criticizing it. The Queen of Hearts represents the Queen Victoria in England at that time. The country was governed by a female, but a male. Female dominance is displayed in this work. The Queen of Hearts overcomes the King both physically and mentally and the Duchess controls the household. The Victorian insistence on punctuality is reflected in the White Rabbit’s response to his lateness: “I’m late; I’m late, for a very important date.” Additionally, the notion of superior or inferior class was portrayed in some chapters of this book. For instance, “I’m older than you, and must know better” was told by Lory to Alice. The idea of older people own better knowledge than younger people is shown obviously here. 
  


Characters
 

Protagonist
(hero):   Alice 
Antagonist (villain): All characters who Alice encounters during
                                her trip through Wonderland. 




         

Alice, the heroine of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is a fearless girl from a wealthy English family who finds herself in a mad world ruled by imagination and fantasy. She remains polite and adventurous while a series of nonsense appears. As the tension emerges, more unusual events she experiences, more mature and confident she becomes. In the end of the story, Alice wakes up in her sister's lap and tells her her adventures in the Wonderland.



         

The Cheshire Cat, one of the antagonists in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is a unique creature which can not be threatened by anyone even the King. At all times, it constantly grins and reappears and disappears whenever it likes. By its explanation about Wonderland, Alice realizes that Wonderland is ruled by nonsense and everyone including Alice is mad.


      

The Queen of Hearts, one of the playing card characters, rules over Wonderland as a tyrant and someone who Alice has to face in order to clear out the confusion in her mind about Wonderland. The Queen of Hearts’ favorite quote is "Off with his head!" Whoever does not obey her rules must be executed. Due to her lack of patience, the people in Wonderland have a great fear of her. In the end, the giant Alice stands up to fight for the justice to make a resistance to her bad temper. 

Symbols

1) watch

In the story, the watch represents as a symbol of time. Through the conversation that Alice and the Hatter have, we may find out that each of them holds a different concept about time. Alice, symbolizes as a child, defines that time goes by hours after hours; conversely, the Hatter, symbolizes as an adult, defines that time goes by years after years. In this instance, time tends to disappear faster for adults than children. Lewis Carroll, here, serves a great example for Alice – As people get older, time goes by faster.


2) Rabbit hole

The Rabbit hole, the entrance of the Wonderland, represents the start of the deep sleep. In the reality world, the shift from dozing off to deep sleep is long and slow before the period of deep sleep. Therefore, in the story, the moment that Alice questions herself several questions during the fall is familiar as the moment we have before we are deeply asleep. The beginning of the story, well depicted by Lewis Carroll, creates more imagination space for the later story.


3) Wonderland

 

The Wonderland, where the story is taken place, represents Alice’s desire. Due to the discontent of her life - the Victorian world, the desire urges her to make a step forward. As the White Rabbit appears, symbolizes as the hope, Alice follows him down the hole into the Wonderland with her curiosity. Whether the destination for the White Rabbit goes is interesting or not, she expects that the new destination will give her something new to satisfy her desire.

 Themes


Identity

    In Wonderland, Alice constantly strives with her flunctuations of her personal identity. Introducing herself to different creatures she meets in Wonderland seems to create some conflicts in her internal mind since her newborn perspective of the world is related to the madness of Wonderland. Alice’s adventure begins with her falling through the Rabbit hole. As she continues to fall, she prompts to identify herself to see if she has changed. Soon after that, the White Rabbit recognizes her as his servant, Mary Ann, by mistake while the mad Hatter and March Hare challenge Alice’s perspective of graceful intelligence. Later, she can not answer Caterpillar’s questions about her personal identity because of her body sizes - being both a giant and a midget earlier. 



Learning to new rules 

In the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, every new encounter provides new rules which are the new expectation for Alice. With her limited solutions that she applies in her reality life, she continues to struggle with each game such as the Caucus race she has with the Mouse, Dodo and the Duck, Queen’s strange croquet trial with a deck of cards, solving the Mad Hatter’s riddle. New rules form in each case so that Alice has to accept them to cope with her situation. This example demonstrates the reality - Life is tough, so never stop to learn. Not only adults, but young children have to face the new challenges to survive. 

Reflection

    Pause, maintain my composure. Yes! Finally, I made to this step! Yipeeeee! Since lots of stories and critical articles are vital to be read as references, analyzing this story truly takes more time than I expected although I did not analyze too much information here. Great quality and quantities of efforts are put in this work; therefore, a large amount of knowledge about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - the third must-read book in English literature - is acquired gradually. 



    Read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland plenty of times at the younger age, the only impression I obtained was about the ample conflicts Alice meets and the interesting adventures she has in Wonderland. This course, Literature for Children, provides me a perfect opportunity to realize the background information and recognize each character's meanings existed in the story. In the past, I admired Alice the big time because she has those appealing experiences in Wonderland. However, perhaps the most impressive character for me this time is the White Rabbit due to the lack of cognitions I had about it before. Seemingly, it is not as major as characters like the Queen of Hearts and Alice at the first glance, but the White Rabbit which brings Alice to Wonderland represents the symbol of Hope - a hope to satisfy Alice's desire and take her away from the unfulfilled life. Besides the instance of the White Rabbit, the March Hare is another one. The March Hare is mad because of its oestrus in March. Among the characters in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I am in a total shock with these two characters for their extended information. 



    Second, the wordplays listed in the story impress me as well. Much of the qualitative and quantitative of them depict perceptions of reality and amuse the readers like me in the process of reading it. To be honest, it caused me some confusion at the beginning or I could not get the jokes in total. Luckily, the related articles on the Internet assisted me to get the full picture about this story. To take "Take some more tea" in chapter VII as an example, Alice replied "I've had nothing yet, so I can't take more." The word "more" plays an amusing role to make me burst out laughing. Also, the example of subjects, such as Seaography and Ambition, in chapter IX surprises me completely. Seaography represents Geography and Ambition equals Addition. What a creative work that Lewis Caroll has done. 


    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland inspires me with its fascinating, persuasive and authoritative in tone. The beauty of this story is that it allows us to have a lot of imagination about it. Many best-sellers does not have such a strong influence on me as it. I must recommend it as one of my favorites. It opens up my mind to discover the concept of Wonderland and know why it is the so-called "fantasy work." With 100 percent sure, this book is definitely will be read again and again in order to enrich my vision about Wonderland and create my own Wonderland. 

 

                        
  

          

 

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