As vast a place (for many) the imagination is, it could become hard and confusing to pin down purpose, meaning and a clear point of life. In Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland although to a child having had this storybook read, it is a fun hence wonderland full of funny and exciting things (rabbits with waistcoats and watches, drink and foods that makes us grow taller and smaller, talking and moving playing cards). Inside those images and more that I haven’t mentioned from Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, this genre of fantasy/literary nonsense is a world or phases we all must go through and things we all must face in this process of living and life. Carroll constructs lessons through what scientist and author Chet Raymo (1992) says “helps children expand their curiosity, become observers of life, learn to be sensitive to rules and variations within the rules and open their minds to new possibilities”, continuing “we are at the roots of science- pure, childlike curiosity, eyes open with wonder to the fresh and new, and powers of invention still un fettered by convention and expectation” (p.567). Carroll being an English author, mathematician, logician, photographer and Anglican decan, he crafted a story not only entertaining for children but helping them with their instability with rules and whys, with insecurities and awkwardness of puberty (identity and curiosity) and even death. It all starts with the first few lines of the story, “what is the use of a book; thought Alice without pictures or conversations? Through it all Lewis Carroll introduces us to consciousness.
The protagonist Alice throughout the story uses reasoning (with self) through and starts her journey with cognitive thought. In chapter 1, she notes having a burning curiosity to see how and why a rabbit would be wearing a waistcoat and have a pocket watch and she notices later that it didn’t seem odd to her that it would be speaking of being late. It is also in her mind that she decides that after a fall as she falling down what seems to by and endless fall down this rabbit hole that she should think nothing of falling down stairs. As she is falling, she thinks of the lessons and rules of etiquette, how she would greet whomever she encounters, she thinks of placing the jar she removed back onto a shelve so she doesn’t injure or kill anyone whom maybe below. Alice even thinks of showing off her knowledge, using grand words she have no doubt heard in school and she have related it to what she was experiencing, without having grasp the words full meaning. We know very well that consciousness is alive and well in Alice. In chapter 1 although frustrated with her situation she tells herself “rather sharply”, “come there’s no use in crying like that” also stating, “she generally gave herself very good advice(though she very seldom followed it). These things are examples of cognitive thought from reasoning, the consciousness that spark in the brain that happens when evolving from adolescence to a stage of adulthood. As Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland continues so does the momentum building with confusing to stronger consequences to not r being conscious of the choices one (meaning Alice) makes.
It is easy in the genre of fantasy/literary nonsense to manipulate reality, yet to give substance in such way as to construct purpose or meaning in a world that really have no (adulthood to adolescence) is quite masterful. We all as human being must go through what is known as puberty, the unfamiliarity and awkwardness that the body goes through, Carroll addresses this with the different sizes Alice goes through. Alice’s frustration in chapter one that brought her to tears to the final chapter which made her angry, which also aided in her not being behead by orders of the queen.
Death is also a motif in Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, again a process in life we all must face, outwardly in dealing with the lost of family, friends, pets and stories we hear of and inwardly in living our own lives which also attributes to the choices we make in life and the rules we adhere to for ourselves. Children going through or finishing puberty, equipped with reasoning and cognitive thought could then say what if Alice fell to her death rushing into the rabbit’s hole? Or drowned in her own tears or was beheaded by the queen? Or what of the jurors in the final chapter, what if Alice hadn’t put them back in the jury box as Alice thought of her goldfish.
Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland although entertaining full with unrealistic fun vast and crazy upside down logic is full with lesson that are relate able to the rites of passage that we all must go through, steep in consciousness and choices and consequences of such.