Alyssa’s Bridge to the Blog

Today in class we had a discussion about Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Much of the discussion was dominated by various themes and ideas from the children’s book, such as Alice’s confusion of her own identity or her intelligence. The one theme in particular that I thought was under-discussed was the theme of imperialism. Alice is sweet and well-mannered, but is also tremendously close-minded about the bizarre culture of Wonderland. The one event in particular that struck me as significant was when Alice stumbled upon the home of the Duchess. The Footman stood beside the door when she arrived hoping to gain entry. Alice looked towards the Footman and asked what she should do. To her dismay, the Footman responded “[a]nything you like” (p. 44). Alice becomes increasingly frustrated because where she comes from, the footman is supposed to open the door for guests and instruct them on where to find the authority figure of the house. When that doesn’t happen, Alice calls him “perfectly idiotic” (p. 44) and opens the door herself.

Alice feels superior over the residing creatures of Wonderland. Not only in this scene, but also in a good portion of the novel such as when she is mistaken for a serpent by a pigeon or when she loses interest in the baby she saves because it turned into a pig. In all of these cases, Alice does not try to adapt to the culture and its people, but ignores or insults them for not acting like her. The Alice we meet at the beginning of the novel is very different than the Alice we have at the end. As her adventure comes to a close she finally comes to the conclusion that just because a culture is dissimilar from your own does not mean it is wrong.

4 thoughts on “Alyssa’s Bridge to the Blog

  1. mitchelleubank25

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think that Alice’s reaction to the footman’s reply was one of the earlier signs that Alice’s dream world, her Wonderland, was not one worth living in. Wonderland was originally supposed to be everything that Alice wanted, and over time, she realized that it wasn’t. As Alice herself asks in the opening moments of the story, “What is the use of a book…without pictures or conversations?” (7) In a world where there are sights and sounds without subtext, or even context, Alice finds herself unable to relate to the residents of Wonderland, even as she gradually fits in with their alternative lifestyles.

  2. mr39memory

    I think both the idea of Alice as a symbol for the colonist visiting another world, so to speak, and the idea that the dream world is a place which seems to have no context are both good examples in interpreting the story of Alice as an imitation of imperialist or British colonists who would be sent to other countries to try to understand life there. Although it might be harder to prove that this was something which might have influenced Lewis Carroll I would say it is a legitimate perspective or stance that one could take on the story. I also like it very much that this idea seems like something a little more hidden but much of the text does support a viewpoint of imperialism in the writing.

  3. briannarosem

    I agree and disagree with this.

    I do see where someone could see that Alice is not accustomed to any other society but her own. Which would lead to comparing Alice to the typical American. With that being said, we face the same struggle in the United States with the strong levels of immigration present and people not willing to open their minds to new ideas and beliefs.

    But in another way, this is Alice’s dream world. A world in which she imagined to be spectacular and everything she imagined; basically everything lacking in her real world. The encounter with the person at the door I think to Alice was just her last straw and realizing that if something may seem better, it isn’t necessarily better. It was her last straw with being done with her idealistic world.

  4. nataliebeyer

    I agree with your point. I think many of Alice’s problems stem from her trying to see Wonderland with the same sense and rational that govern her universe. When she calls certain characters idiotic, she’s reprimanding them for not doing things as she is used to them being done. However at the end, when she finally admits to herself that this world does not make sense and will never make sense because it is not real, she breaks the “spell” of Wonderland and comes back to reality. So I do think what you said makes sense with her realizing at the end also that a culture dissimilar to your own is not wrong, just different.

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