The Alice Project is almost over. My teammate Connor Murphy and I decided it would be good to review the story one more time; to keep it fresh, we have gathered our thoughts and put them together as a rap.
You can view the rap as a Prezi below.
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This is my first Voice Thread for the Alice project. Follow the link to see a slide show with commentary on some of Tenniel’s illustrations.
I know that the audio didn’t come out exactly like it should, but it’s better than nothing. No, my voice is certainly no where near that low and I am not some kind of monster. Anyway, enjoy the clip!
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And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall
And you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
When she was just small
Get up and tell you where to go
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice
I think she’ll know
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen’s “off with her head!”
Remember what the dormouse said:
Feed your head
Feed your head
Feed your head
I’m sure you will find that this song is a lot stranger than my previous one, Don’t Come Around Here No More. This song, performed by Jefferson Airplane, brings together the world of Alice… and the drug world. The story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland did seem trippy, and the ideas and characters in it were also something out of a dream. The song had some references to Carroll’s sequel, Through The Looking Glass. Since I haven’t read that story, I will look at only the points I’m familiar with. One idea I noticed when listening to the music was that the song kept getting louder and louder, until coming to an abrupt stop, similar to the story.
In the first verse, the songwriter (Grace Slick, says Google) is referring to the sides of the mushroom that can change Alice’s size. It could also be linked to the cake and potion Alice imbibed at the start of the story. The line “and the ones that mother gives you…” could be arguing that household remedies for stress, pain, etc. aren’t really helpful, and maybe something else (a drug) is necessary to ease your problems. Another idea is that the experiences you make at home aren’t worthwhile. One should get out and live free. When Grace said “go ask Alice,” she was stating that since Alice has already been in Wonderland, she has seen and done it all. In other words, we could all learn from her…
In the second verse, (or stanza, I’m not sure) initially relates to the beginning of the story, when Alice first spotted the White Rabbit and chased him down his hole. Again, going by instinct that this is a drug related song, Grace Slick may be stating that if you are going to take drugs, most likely hallucinogens, to give a “thanks” to the HookahPillar. Is she saying that Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland is condoning this type of behavior? Also keep in mind that it was the HookahPillar that gave Alice the advice to use the “Magic Mushroom” to get back to normal size.
The third section makes a reference to men on a chessboard, which since I’m clueless about, must be from Through The Looking Glass. From a general standpoint, I know that the human controls the chess pieces, so there is something strange about the game pieces controlling you. Similar to the story we have read, Alice discovers that the social order works backwards in Wonderland; playing cards are in charge, followed by animals, and then humans. The line describing “your mind moving low” after eating the mushroom could be an idea that there is an adverse affect with drugs, and the “coming down” part of the trip will be difficult. But don’t worry, as stated above, Alice has been through all of this; she has experienced what it’s like to go through the troubles of Wonderland.
The forth verse starts with talk about logic and proportion being out of line, which appears throughout the tale. In numerous cases, Alice encounters some weird Wonderlandians, and they all confuse her with their nonsensical way of speaking. The logic is also absent when Alice attempts to recite her poem to the HookahPillar, and later the Mock Turtle and Gryphon. Proportion is out of whack as well, referring to the scene after Alice takes a bite of the mushroom; her body parts grow randomly, making her seem as a snake to the bird. He attacks her, accusing that since she looks like a snake she must be one. She cannot really argue because her mind has changed so much from entering Wonderland, that she is unsure who she is as well. The line stating that the Red Queen was the one who ordered her subject’s heads to be cut off is wrong; it was actually the Queen of Hearts, but I guess that doesn’t fit into the melody of the song. The line “remember what the Dormouse said” might relate to Chapter Eleven. I have to give credit of this find to Miles Wilson, who brought up the scene with the Mad Hatter at the stand, and not remembering what the Dormouse said. The line “Feed Your Head” I couldn’t find in the book, but if a reader does spot it, please comment about it. Otherwise it might refer to feeding you brain with knowledge, which does sound Carrollish.
As you may notice, this blog, Alice Project 7 AKA “An-Alice-Is in Wonderland”, has a fairly interesting header image. It shows a collection of memorable objects from the story, such as the Pool of Tears.
First of all, to clear things up, this was not taken from any source. It was drawn by me, in fact, and aimed to show some of the objects that led us to believe that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland should in fact be analyzed.
On the far left, there is the pocket watch, obviously the one of the White Rabbit. He was a key character in the story… it probably wouldn’t have been the same without him. He brought much confusion, although some insight to analysis as well. The watch can also represent Time, as discussed by the Hatter.
Next to the left is an odd plant. This plant has been spotted frequently in Tenniel’s sketches, and it is very strange. Some say that it is a tobacco plant. This might be so, and could be connected to the other drug references such as the Hookah. Other than that, why might it be there?
Below the plant is a small puddle, dubbed the Pool of Tears. This symbolically represents Alice’s grief througout the story as well as her childhood innocence which might have been the end of her during the story. She almost drowned in that pool of her tears.
Next up is the Hookah that the Caterpillar had smoked. I wonder why a smoking device was added into this story… it does add to the abstract nature of Wonderland, but still, why? It may lead to the fact that this story is in fact for adults, as well. There could also be that tobacco plant, adding up to two drugs.
In the back of the whole image, the Cheshire Cat’s smile looms over everything. It was a mysterious symbol of Wonderland, being so abstract. Other than the phrase Carroll may have played off, what was the reason for Carroll adding that little bit of originality? It does seem to represent the madness of Wonderland in some weird way.
Attached to the words of the title, a READ ME label is in the image. It alludes to the note saying DRINK ME or EAT ME, therefore the bottle and cake. These were the first modes of transformation into Wonderland’s ways for Alice. It also represents the mode of transportation into reading our wonderful blog site.
A card sits next to the title on the right, saying In This Style 10/6. I really don’t see much in this, other than the slight possiblity that it alludes to ten major characters and six minors. It also alludes to the ever-so-mad Hatter.
The last item on the right is a playing card, printed irreverently with a six of diamonds. It alludes to the playing card-people of Wonderland as well as the King and Queen. Also, the dangers of Wonderland… specifically execution by beheading.
Also, if it hasn’t dawned on you yet, the title itself is a play on words. It sounds like Analysis in Wonderland, but is spelled like An Alice is in Wonderland, or simply Alice in Wonderland.
Mr. Long, why did you schedule us to read two books that are so different back-to-back?
Lord of the Flies is a dark book with death and destruction while Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is more like a happy book of dreams. These books are very different, but there is one common factor: craziness.
In Lord of the Flies, the boy’s are somewhat normal then turned crazy from all of their experiences on the island. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, on the other hand, already had characters that were crazy. In Lord of the Flies, Ralph and Piggy are the only ones that are still interested in humanity. Jack is too into killing pigs and hunting to be an actual civil human being. The hunters became crazy by hunting and trying to kill Ralph after the “accidental” death of Simon and Piggy. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is about Alice who ends up having a dream of this crazy place she made up. Wonderland has all of these crazy characters that after you first read it you are probably confused on what they said. If Alice “dreamed” up this world, then does that mean Alice herself is a little crazy?
First of all there is this character called the White Rabbit. The white rabbit is alway late, but it never says where he is going and is always disappearing. The White Rabbit also has this watch that he looks at. The White Rabbit was also at the Queen’s trial about the stolen tarts. Alice tries to follow the rabbit and talk to him, but he doesn’t notice. Also, once he called Alice Mary-Anne and told her to find his white gloves. He said he couldn’t be late and to hurry and find them.
Also there is a blue caterpillar that smokes a hookah. Why would some little girl dream this up? This blue caterpillar just keeps asking Alice who she is even though Alice didn’t really know how she was at the time because she has changed sizes from eating and drinking too many strange things. The blue caterpillar does tell Alice how to become the size she wants by eating a certain side of the mushroom he was sitting on.
Then there is the Duchess. She is a little loopy in the head. She is very interested in morals and repeating them to Alice. The first time Alice and the Duchess met, the Duchess was very grumpy because of all the pepper in the soup and the air in her house. She also had a baby that she took care of and that she gave to Alice and then the baby turned into a pig.
The next character is the Cheshire Cat who keeps disappearing and reappearing. Then one time he disappeared and his smile was the only thing that was left. The Cheshire Cat would not tell Alice where the white rabbit went. The Cheshire Cat talked to Alice about the baby and told her the way to the Mad Hatter’s house. Alice didn’t want to be with mad people here, but the Cheshire Cat says, “we are all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” Alice does not like this.
Finally there is this character called the Mad Hatter. His words are so confusing that I had to read them at least three times to understand what he meant… a little bit. Then there is the March Hare who has tea with the Mad Hatter and the Mad Hatter’s watch is messed up so it is always six o’clock, which is tea time. With them is a dormouse, who is always sleepy and tells Alice a story.
So Mr. Long what is your answer to my simple question because “we are all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”, so we will understand.
As this Alice Project comes to a close, I look back to see the distance we’ve covered.
Some serious An-Alice-Is has been conducted and conclusions we’ve met. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been ripped open to look inside, regardless if it should be done or not, and we have found some startling discoveries. In my beginning statement, found in the Team page of this blog, I mentioned that I barely knew the plot of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and did not know there was any meaning behind it…
Boy, was I wrong.
The first concept I came up with is that Wonderland uses the Hall as a sort of security system. The reason for this is because Wonderland may become contaminated with a sane mind such as Alice’s, a being of the “real” world. Here is this blog.
Next, I explored the possibility that Carroll jam-packed the story with bizarre characters in order to keep children’s attention. All of the characters, pretty much each character in the story aside from Alice, were talking animals or cards. The others made up in extra irrationality or character.
While reading the story, a question arose as well. Simply, what happened to the hall? In the fourth chapter, Alice simply walked out of the hall even with no exits even available. She previously had tried to leave through locked doors, but it was much too difficult to solve the puzzle. Was Wonderland merciful? Why did this happen? It also reappeared when she returned. Was Lewis Carroll conscious of this hole in the plot?
The next big idea was a breakthrough. Carroll himself saw Wonderland as mad, so there could be no reversal of ideals, i.e. we are mad and they are rational. Wonderland, according to my analysis of chapter six, even saw themselves as mad… how could this be? They had no previous knowledge of the “real” world, as far as we know, other than the Rabbit.
The next concept brought the idea of the overall theme for Wonderland. Alice is trying to maintain her sanity in an insane world, and is slowly gaining her confidence in her sanity rather than going mad. This does not negate that maybe the inhabitants are trying to driver her mad, though.
I then noticed that no major character had a real name, other than the protagonist, Alice. There were names such as the Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat… but no names. What does this mean?
Speaking of characters, I also noticed a pattern with major and minor characters: 10/6. There were ten majors and six minors. This could mean nothing… or everything.
The next hole I spotted was how the White Rabbit may have mixed up the Duchess and Queen of Hearts. I explored their similarities and differences, with them both mentioning execution by beheading. Why is this so? The two characters were not fond of each other, and the Duchess later became some sort of nice. Also, the Rabbit does not work for the Duchess, but he fears the Duchess executing him… what is the explanation here?
Later, I observed that Alice was becoming evermore confident in her sanity, which later exploded in a shower of cards, thus ending her dream. Here is the analysis of that chapter.
And here I am now.
Feel free to agree or disagree. Either way, there is clearly something behind Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It should be analyzed, and it has.
It has been a terrific experience and I have learned much from it.
Hope you enjoyed the site!
When The Alice Project began the class was constantly reminded to bring their copy of The Annotated Alice. That’s what this short blog is about. Giving my appreciation to the book.
If we were given a copy of the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the students would have probably read the story, which wouldn’t have been any different, but then we would have been puzzled when it came to analyzing or coming up with new blog ideas. When the class read Lord of the Flies, although we had a normal copy of the story, we figured out themes, underlying meanings, etc. The difference is that when reading LOTF, we had a teacher pushing us along, stopping to discuss, and even giving us some clues. When The Alice Project started basically we were given a book, a schedule for quiz dates, and a laptop. The rest was up to us.
If we read this like a children’s story, we may have gotten some themes or guesses as to what was happening between the lines. With the annotated version of the book, much of the information that we would have to look for between the lines, were written on the sides of the pages. Many notes that were in it gave us ideas to discuss, such as Carroll having the boy become a pig because he didn’t like boys. What was also helpful was the ‘An-Alice-Is” and background information on many of John Tenniel’s illustrations. Some information that seemed pointless eventually turned out to be helpful, and many of the poems included in the story we also clarified.
Overall, I want to show my thanks to Mr. Gardner for stockpiling these collection of “Alice” notes. They got me through the project.