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What About Alice’s Family?

November 9, 2009
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Throughout Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, little has been said about her family. In the beginning Alice is sitting with her sister. That is all that mentions any of Alice’s human family members. Although, from time to time Alice talks about her cat, Dinah. Why has Carroll kept us in the dark about her family? Is this because he is trying to form a whole other world for Alice and doesn’t want her looking back at her old one? Wouldn’t a girl Alice’s age get homesick and want to be back with her parents? It’s not like Carroll set it up to be a story like so many others where the child has a rough home life and their parents don’t treat them very well, so where ever they run off to is better than home. As far as we know Alice’s home life is normal.

The scene at the beginning of the book leads me to think that Alice and her sister do not have a close relationship. I think it was weird that Alice’s sister didn’t seem to notice her leaving or ask where she was going. Wouldn’t her sister also notice the talking rabbit and run after Alice into the rabbit hole as well? We would think that she went looking for Alice after she had not returned for an hour or so. There is no way to know, though, because Carroll does not tell us about that part of the story, which he has the right not to when you look at the book’s title. There also is no way to tell what Alice’s Family is thinking while she is gone. I am sure that they are worried sick about her, as would any other loving parent.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Brendon O-L. permalink
    December 3, 2009 7:23 am

    Why would Alice want to go back to her family? She is an imaginative little girl who fell down a rabbit hole into a wonderful place filled with adventure. The story is told from her point of view, so if she doesn’t think about them we don’t know about them. She does give a little information about Dinah and we see her sister at the beginning and end of the story. As we find out at the end of the story, Alice was dreaming. Alice never left her sister’s side, thus her sister had no need to be concerned. Her family isn’t mentioned because Alice is happy in Wonderland. It’s filled with talking animals, intriguing people, and spans as far as the eye can see. She would probably want to stay there as long as she could. Seeing her family would mean leaving Wonderland. Why would she want to go back and leave thus interesting and amusing world behind?

  2. December 3, 2009 7:01 am

    Hmmm… you pose an interesting point. I never really thought about her family before. If you look at the story from the standpoint that Wonderland was real, then yes it would seem odd that no one noticed she was gone and that her sister didn’t follow her down the hole. However, Alice was dreaming everything. Her mind was off following the rabbit and falling down the hole, while in reality she was sitting right next to her sister the entire time.

    What is interesting, though, is that Alice never mentions her family at all. She thought this whole thing was real so wouldn’t she have wondered where her family was and why they weren’t looking for her? So very curious…

  3. Rachel L. permalink
    December 3, 2009 6:28 am

    I have often thought about how odd it was that the family was never mentioned, as well. I don’t know if I think that Alice and her sister had a bad relationship. We don’t know when Alice fell asleep. She could have fallen asleep early in the chapter and seen the White Rabbit only in her dreams. This would explain why her sister didn’t go after her. It is left to the discretion of the reader to decide when Alice fell asleep. I think everything you said in this blog post is possible, but is it probable?

  4. Shannon L. permalink
    December 3, 2009 6:06 am

    I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I agree with you that it is strange we never really hear about Alice’s family. Also I think that it is strange that her sister didn’t notice the White Rabbit and follow Alice down the rabbit hole. But on the other hand, I have to disagree. I have to agree with Caroline, this is suppose to be a childrens book and kids do not care about adults. Also how do we know that Alice’s sister or parents didn’t look for her? Like you said Carroll never mentions Alice’s family so we don’t know what they were doing. They could have been worried and went looking for Alice. But I guess this is something that we will never know.

  5. December 3, 2009 5:23 am

    I think there is a reason that we don’t hear anything else about Alic’s family. Perhaps Alice’s parents are dead or, perhaps they are not very nice if so, wonderland could be seen as a sort of escape so that she does not have to deal with the streesses of everyday life. The relationship between Alice and her sister is somewhat unclear but from what we can see I will agree with you and say that they probably don’t have that great of a relationship, the reasons behind this could be numerous. It seems that Alice takes a great deal of interest in animals seeing as she is allways talking about her cat, maybe her cat is another sort of escape.

  6. Haley M. permalink
    December 3, 2009 4:39 am

    I totally agree. Good point. Why is Alice’s family never mentioned? And I never realized that she was sitting with her sister when she saw the White Rabbit. Why didn’t her sister get up and follow the rabbit with Alice? Although it seems Alice was a wondering child anyways, so maybe she didn’t think all that much of Alice getting up and leaving. Another part of this post I loved was about if her sister or anyone went looking for her? I don’t think they were too worried considering the atmosphere when she got back. One last thing, Alice was a brave girl, but at the time she was stuck and crying her eyes out you think she would be very homesick and talking about her family and how much she wished they were here. But you are right, as I recall the closet thing mentioned to her family was her cat Dinah.

  7. December 2, 2009 5:02 am

    No one cares about human family members when you’ve got talking animals, and crazy queens and duchesses! A children’s book is a children’s book, and Alice’s story is that. Kids don’t care about adult and parents, and frankly I wouldn’t want to read about them either. You want to envelop yourself in the journey of a young adventurous girl , and worrying about her family isn’t necessary. As far as questioning Alice and her sisters relationship, you must not have finished the book when you wrote this. We find it was all a dream and therefore Alice never really ran off and there was never really a talking rabbit. So, Alice may have shared a close relationship with her sister, and her family but that’s not relevant to the storyline and I don’t believe Carroll purposely left that out. As a young girl, with that much going on around you, I wouldn’t have been thinking about my mom and dad too much, if any at all.

  8. Gage L. permalink
    December 2, 2009 3:07 am

    This is a great question, but I believe that the family isn’t mentioned simply because it is all a dream. Rarely when having a dream so extravagant as Alice’s would anyone say anything about their family but just be worried about what was going on or maybe even a bit curious. If Alice spent the whole time worrying about her family, what would spark the kid’s interest? If I were a young child I wouldn’t want to be reminded that Alice is lost and maybe never able to see her family again. I believe Carroll doesn’t mention the family just because they do not play a huge role in the story, and if they were mentioned they could simply ruin it for some kids.

  9. Deron M permalink
    December 2, 2009 12:39 am

    I agree with Keith. He brings up a great point as to how unusual it is for a child as young as Alice to not need or want to see her parents or other relatives while she is in Wonderland. No matter what period of time you look at, children still desire the stability and security parents provide. They may not love their parents or even like them for that matter but children often look for security and stability. Take Lord of the Flies for example. Everyone except the choir boys voted for Ralph because he seemed to be the most stable and capable. Jack was a fiery and intense leader but lacked the self-control and composure that Ralph had. Even while we are teenagers, we still look for guidance from our parents, teachers, and coaches. I’m with you; I find it very odd that Alice not once mentioned being homesick or missing her family.

  10. Jenna K. permalink
    November 21, 2009 11:20 pm

    Nice observation, Keith. I never considered her family.

    I agree with Brittany: she never actually went anywhere so there is no reason for Carroll to mention her parents being worried about her. But I do find it odd that Alice herself doesn’t wonder if her parents are worried about her in her dream world. She worries about her cat but she doesn’t worry about her parents? But, this is not the first time Alice has reacted differently then is expected in this dream. Her attitude throughout the whole story is odd, like how she doesn’t even worry about falling four thousand miles down a rabbit hole. As for why didn’t her sister stop her from following the rabbit in her dream, wasn’t it you who said that the whole story seemed set-up? I mean authors have to ignore some realistic reactions to carry-out a story. If you had normal reactions then it wouldn’t be a fictional story.

  11. Melissa H. permalink
    November 19, 2009 7:56 pm

    I disagree with you. I don’t necessarily find it wrong that Alice isn’t thinking about her family. Usually when kids are having fun they forget things like that and just enjoy the time while it lasts. When you said as far as we know Alice’s home life is normal, I would disagree also. It doesn’t say anything about it being bad and her having an unpleasant life, but it doesn’t say anything about it being normal either. Well since we did know it was a dream Alice’s sister really wouldn’t worry about Alice if you think about it. They are just sitting together on a bank and the next thing we know is that she is down the rabbit hole. Wouldn’t that be apart of the dream? So technically in my opinion I think that they are just together and Alice’s sister is reading the whole time while Alice is sleeping. She wouldn’t have to worry if they are together and if Alice’s family knows where they are down by the bank.

  12. Jackson H. permalink
    November 19, 2009 5:11 pm

    That’s an interesting point of view. I’m not sure that Carrol ever gave a passing thought about what her parents thought. The parents are completely out of the story. They are never mentioned at all at any point in the story. A few of Alice’s sisters are mentioned, however. Since they are mentioned, they appparently are aware of Alice’s trip into Wonderland. This is evidenced by the fact that Alice’s sister notices when she wakes up from her dream. Her parents are not on the riverbank, and they are not mentioned in Wonderland. Therefore, I don’t think the story even cares if they exist.

  13. Colton C. permalink
    November 16, 2009 4:18 pm

    I think that this is very strange. Carroll never does mention anything about Alice’s parents. Is this because he does not like Alice’s parents, or Alice does not like her parents? Maybe, Alice is just wondering off, and like any other child, they do not think about what they are doing or the consequences. I think it is pretty interesting that you found this out. Also Alice’s sister never noticed the rabbit or Alice wondering off. This might just be because she simply cannot see the rabbit. Maybe the rabbit leading Alice down the rabbit hole is like the rabbit leading her into a deep sleep and only Alice can see the rabbit.

  14. Angela W. permalink
    November 15, 2009 10:25 pm

    I, as well, respectfully disagree. A child as young as Alice would have an imagination that would take them away for hours. Alice has no worries about her family and she doesn’t find a need too. This could be that she doesn’t have a great family life because she only mentions her cat. Her cat seems to be her best friend. Maybe her parents were never home and she wouldn’t think that they would worry about her being gone. I am sure that her family is worried, but why would Carroll mention the family’s thoughts in Alice’s Wonderland?

  15. Brittany M permalink
    November 13, 2009 6:06 pm

    I respectfully disagree. I think it is wrong to be thinking about Alice’s family while reading this book. Children often get preoccupied when they are in situations out of the normal and do not become concerned with their families or their normal life until they are put in serioud danger. We also are not sure as to how long Alice has been in Wonderland, it is a dream after all. We can dream about a week but the actual dream may have only lasted a couple minutes. And as I said it is a dream, this means Alice is never actually missing from her home leaving her family no need to worry about little Alice. They have no idea that in Alice’s mind she is in a completely different land playing croquet with the Queen and recieving morals from the Duchess. As far as they know, Alice is sleeping beneath the tree while her sister reads a book.

  16. Edward C. permalink
    November 12, 2009 6:18 pm

    Like you I also was thinking about the family’s reaction to the disappearance of Alice. A normal child would be panicking about the situation but Alice is has not showed any sign of wanting to go back. Like I said before on a comment on another blog I don’t believe Alice doesn’t care about his family any more its just she is in a place that is more new and interesting to her. I think Charles is avoiding talking about Alice’s family because he wants to focus on this new world. In my opinion I don’t believe Alice has a bad relationship with her sister. I believe Alice’s sister just didn’t notice the rabbit therefore she didn’t go with Alice down the whole. I believe Alice’s family is really worried but there is nothing they can do because she is in a whole new world that only she can get herself out of.

  17. Derek_M permalink
    November 12, 2009 4:05 pm

    I did not notice or even think about Alice’s family in this book. It seems we were so ready for Alice to go into Wonderland, that we do not notice the subtle details of the book. Although we are analzing Alice, I am glad to realize that I missed a crucial detail. It also says something that while Alice is in Wonderland she does not really mention her family. She only mentions her cat Dinah, proving that she has a closer relationship with her cat than she does with her family. Maybe it is the difference of the time periods. We are in the twenty first century and Alice is in the 19th century. Back in the 19th century, families were not as close and children were had to help with the labor. Although in the late 1800’s this began to change, a close knit family was not seen until the early 1920’s. I really appreciate your attention to little details. Now I have a different perspective on Alice as a character.

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