Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A-Z Wednesday: Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Caroll

Title: Alice in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll
ISBN: 0710501447
Published: Priory books/November 1993

This is another of my re-reads of children’s fiction. This time I enjoyed it even more. The story begins with Alice being bored and suddenly observes a talking white rabbit. Curiosity aroused, she follows the rabbit down a rabbit hole into a world full of eccentric creatures, weird happenings, and baffling pastries.

Alice is a great heroine. Throughout all of her backwards and upside-down adventures, she remains level-headed and logical, always trying to reason her way out of the most unreasonable situations. Other characters include- the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Dormouse, the Cheshire Cat, Bill the Lizard, the Caterpillar, the Duchess and her peppery cook, the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, the Gryphon, the Red and White Queens, the talking flowers, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Sheep, Humpty Dumpty, and the Red and White Knights. Carroll also created many fascinating new creatures in his stories, including bread-and-butterflies, rocking-horseflies, slithy toves, mome raths and many more.

My favourite part of this book is when Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat. He is very witty and his grin is unparalleled. When Alice first speaks with the cat, and asks him which way she should go, his typical response is-

'In that direction,' the Cat said, waving its right paw round, ‘lives a Hatter: and in that direction,’ waving the other paw, ‘lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad.’
'But I don't want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat, ’we're all mad here. I am mad. You're mad.’

I also love the whole tea party setup, in which the Mad Hatter and March Hare keep moving from seat to seat round a large table, drinking tea and eating bread and butter. The Gryphon and the Mock Turtle are similarly hilarious, as well as the Queen of Hearts, who orders everyone's head to be chopped off at her whim.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was the first book written for children. It is entirely void of moral, and instead written exclusively for pure entertainment. Before this, children were stuck with stories that preached goodliness and virtue. Even Carroll pokes fun of those stories during the course of this story. His stories were an unexpected breath of fresh air amongst Victorian society, and that is what made this book immensely popular with both adults and children.

What I find most captivating as an adult reader is, Carroll's brilliant use of wordplay and symbolism throughout the stories. Almost everything has some sort of double meaning. There are veiled messages and understated witticisms on every page. Carroll also takes in quite a few lampoons of famous songs and rhymes in England in those times. A must read for all ages. It has that timeless quality of fantasy.

9 comments:

ds said...

Alice is at the top of my list of all-time favorites and must re-reads. I think I do so annually. So glad you enjoy her too!(and yes, I'm a big fan of the Cheshire Cat)

Jessica said...

I enjoyed Alice a couple of weeks ago for the first time as an adult and was surprised to see how much I enjoyed it.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I loved Alice in Wonderland...I recently reread it for a challenge. Thanks for sharing...

Nise' said...

I have not re-read this in years.

fredamans said...

Great book, though the meme was changed. They're doing authors now.

http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/2010/08/to-z-starts-with.html

Irene said...

I'ved never read this either, but it is on my TBR for a challenge I'm in.

Robin Merrill said...

I've been meaning to start reading this to my daughter for months now. Hey y'all -- I'm giving away a $5 gift certificate to Better World Books at http://worldcentricliving.blogspot.com if anyone is interested!

Vicki said...

Thanks for playing!

Kah Woei said...

I"m glad you liked it. I confess though that I didn't enjoy it when I read it.