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Stepping into Wonderland: Analysis of Chapter One

October 30, 2009

Chapter One brought some interesting surprises that set the tone for the remainder of the book. There must be dozens of other strange and fantastic events to come throughout Wonderland. However, before following Alice into the rabbit-hole, there are some very important concepts to acknowledge.

As my colleague mentioned in his entry on Chapter One, it was certainly very strange to see a talking rabbit waltz past Alice. What a strange choice of Carroll’s to bring Alice into Wonderland. The White Rabbit was what ultimately led Alice to Wonderland. However, the question is, why was the rabbit there to begin with? A talking rabbit, considering that no rabbits have ever been recorded to actually talk, seems as if it should usually stay very discrete from the “real world.” How did the rabbit get there? Again, WHY was he there? So far, this has not been explained. If only there were some explanation, the concept of the White Rabbit present in the “real world” might have been at least tangential. If I were to offer some explanation, I would have to propose that the White Rabbit, in a way, was there to retrieve Alice. This was never exactly put in the fine print, but he did run past her saying words, when if getting Alice on purpose wasn’t true, he’d be talking to himself. Maybe he was trying to capture her attention and then gently whisk her away to Wonderland. Then again, this is only a proposition…

For all us analyzers know, this particular detail could be a fiasco of Carroll in literary terms.

After the White Rabbit led the way to the rabbit-hole, Alice falls into the dark abyss inside. The first hint that this place was something completely different from the “real world,” if not the abyss, was the falling furniture. There is no logical explanation for them. Not one. Yet, with her childlike mind, she merely shrugs this off along with the talking rabbit, not reproaching at all to this illogical world. Another colleague of mine wrote an entry concerning Alice’s fall. Alice eventually is met by the soft ground, and thus the transition was complete. Alice does not mention any broken furniture from the fall, either. No evidence of the cabinets, no cataclysm from the falling Orange Marmalade…a very, very strange detail. A resident of the “real world” would certainly expect countless posterity of furniture to come crashing down. Gravity’s vindictive spirit tends to do so, for what goes up must come down. This also, logically, brings up the question of how those cabinets got up there in the first place.

As an explanation for the hall of doors, here is a metaphor. A modern-day, working individual drives home and steps up to the garage door to his house. He has a sleek key-pad lock for his door, and must enter the correct code for the door to unlock. This may be the case with the strangeness concerning the hall of doors at the entrance to Wonderland. The rabbit is now gone, of course, concluding that he must have entered a door and been on his way. The whole concept, though, is to use irrationality to enter a door. This is another hint that this world is so different, for the past “real world” was full of rational thought. Here, that was not the case. Maybe, to ensure that a resident of Wonderland was in fact entering, such irrational thinking must be applied. Alice, obviously, is of the “real world,” so rational thinking is basically taught and encouraged. However, her childlike intelligence, therefore lack of acumen, is what probably later outsmarted the whole potential “security system.” The key and bottle were a sort of test, if you will. The hall doors were what separated the “real land” from Wonderland,” and that is how Alice entered Wonderland, encouraged to leave any logical thinking behind.

For more in-depth analysis on Alice imbibing the mite of strange liquid labeled “DRINK ME,” as well as other details in the hall, visit Part 3 of our team’s analysis of Chapter 1.

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