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10/6: Major and Minor Characters of Wonderland

December 3, 2009

As I have followed Alice’s Adventures through Wonderland, I have noticed a slightly ironic number of characters. Personally, I group the characters into two groups: major and minor characters. The ones who seriously impacted Alice on the mad-front, and those who simply helped it along.

Major: The White Rabbit, Caterpillar, Duchess, Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts, Hatter, March Hare, Cheshire Cat, Gryphon, and Mock Turtle.
Minor: The mouse, the Dormouse, Bill, the Dodo, the frog footman, and the Pigeon.

This could be the reason Carroll (or Tenniel) had the Hatter wear those numbers. This is very unlikely, for there are more logical explanations, such as it was an advertisement for the size of the hat, etc. Though, there is always the possibility.

As for the characters, we all know they were madly bizarre. As I have seen it, the motif in this story was holding back from going mad in a mad world. Each and every one of the major characters were very mad, and arguably even some of the minor characters. There is also the fact that none of the major characters actually had real names, which could mean nothing or everything. Through any faults, though, I have to applaud Carroll for his creativity and originality on developing these characters. The Cheshire Cat, the “Hookahpillar”, the Mock Turtle; among others.

The minor characters were more casual, although many played key roles in Alice’s adventures. The dodo brought up the Caucus Race, the mouse presented his Tale (which was a very memorable scene)…

The question remains, though, is all of Wonderland mad? As I said, it could be argued that some of the minor characters were mad, but maybe not. I think it’s unanimous that all of the major characters were, but are they all, including the minors? Is it 10/6 in that sense?

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