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A Question for Mr. Long

December 3, 2009

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.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Christian Long permalink*
    December 3, 2009 8:03 am

    The ‘why’ can be answered on many fronts: some circular and intentionally Socractic, some painfully boring and trite, and some wide-open to interpretation.

    I won’t drag you through any of those muddy options.

    Instead, I’ll say this:

    Both novels/stories offer a powerful combination of: adventure, thematic possibilities, character evolution, and deep questions about human nature.

    Even more so, both are vital cultural allusions that you will run into for the rest of your life. You are only beginning to sense how often the “rabbit hole” or “Wonderland” concepts are woven into the larger world of ideas/culture. And it doesn’t take much to find references to the “island” and the “boys” in literary and cultural terms.

    Oh, and then there’s the devilish reasons I’ll never divulge. Never. [wink]

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