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Is It Really That Big a Deal?

November 3, 2009

Many book critics and avid readers have taken Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and made such a big deal about it, which is what puzzles me. Although being in Mr. Long’s class has forever taught me to look past the words written, I can’t help but feel that many people are over-analyzing this book.

There is no way I can unlearn my new desire to try to connect everything I read with a bigger picture, but what if there is no bigger picture in this story.

All of the famous children’s stories, such as Charlotte’s Web , Where the Wild Things Are , and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory gained their popularity and appeal to children because of their ability to invoke imagination into the minds of the young.

I recently read that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, when first published, received many negative reviews, but after the sequel, Through the Looking Glass was published, the first story gained popularity. This was apparently because many of the adults critiquing the story found it to be quite intellectual and used sophisticated thinking. Keep in mind, this book was written for children!

It was at first put down because of how the story was far too unrealistic, but once someone thought, for instance, that the talking rabbit being the sign of temptation, luring the little girl down the hole and ultimately danger, it appealed to adults. But see right there, right there, I made up in my head that the rabbit was a symbol of temptation, but it fits.

Honestly I do see the story as something with a bigger picture, but what I am asking is why does there always have to be a bigger picture? Can’t we just be satisfied that the story is interesting to read and fills us with imagination?

Looking back, I do see how this book would have been difficult to publish solely on plot, because much of it is really out there. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a childhood classic, and it does evoke the younger part of me, the part that just seeks fun and laughter. This side of me is balanced with the need to find reason in everything, the part that almost pushes for “perfection.”  This could be related to Freud’s thoughts that the human subconscious is broken up into the id, ego, and superego. The id would be the part of me enjoying the story and having fun in it’s playfulness, while the superego in me tries to make sense of it all.

The story is something only a kid could understand because it was interned to be read by kids and to allow their minds to wander. By adults or students such as myself always trying to find a second side or reason to the story, the true creativity of Carroll’s book is diminished. What could be argued is that Lewis Carroll was a mathematician and logician, and honestly could have been attempting to give the story a big picture for the reader to see.

My point is, let’s not over-think this book and instead spend our time enjoying it’s playful story.

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