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In case you haven't figured it out already, i find fairy tale subversion fascinating. One of the most subverted fairytales i've found has to be Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' combined with it's sequel 'Through the Looking Glass."
Granted, it could be argued that Alice in Wonderland isn't a fairy tale, for it doesn't quite follow the writing restrictions of say Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales or The Brother's Grimm. But when i call this a fairytale i am referring to a children's book rendition of life complete with a hidden message- which in my eye's is a fairy tale- along with the story's openness to being subverted and changed.
I have seen countless subversions of this tale, so much so i had to buy the books to see what really happened. Amongst these subversions was a ballet version where the Queen of Hearts is Alice's mother, two part drama version on sky where Wonderland was in fact in the business of dealing emotions to people and Wonderland was mostly a fantasy casino, also this is one where the Hatter is rather more complex than in most of his renditions, of course there are the Disney, Tim Burton and the one where Whoopie Goldberg plays the Cheshire Cat. There is also a subversion of Alice in Wonderland in the 'Once Upon a Time' series (see my 'Fairy tale Subversion at it's best review.)
Funnily enough most of these subversions actually combine both 'Alice's adventures in Wonderland' and 'Through the looking Glass'- for example the crazy twins Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum only appear in 'Through the Looking Glass' along with the White Queen. If i had to say any of these subversions was actually accurate to Alice in Wonderland it would be the film where Whoopie Goldberg plays the Cheshire Cat- it is the only subversion i've seen that includes the very old Mock Turtle story who has an island on it's back, and the only version that includes the Duchess and her baby pig story. However the Disney version takes a close second.
All of these subversions have a few things in common- there is a girl named Alice (accept in the Once Upon a time series from what i've seen so far), a land called Wonderland, a white rabbit somewhere along the line, a blue caterpillar smoking a hookah, a Mad Hatter's tea party, and of course The Queen of hearts and her army of playing cards.
And funnily enough all of these common entities are part of the original Alice in Wonderland. So here's what really happened: Alice is sitting by a bank with her sister feeling incredibly bored, and so begins to day dream. After which she sees a rabbit in a waistcoat running along the bank with his pocket watch. Alice becomes curious and decides to follow him as he disappears down a rabbit hole. After which we have the classic 'Drink Me' and 'Eat Me' scene where Alice ends up swimming through the tiny door into Wonderland via a pool of her own tears (shown only in Disney's version from what i can remember.) After which Alice meets the Dodo and takes part in the Caucus Race. After that bit of madness Alice finds herself at the White Rabbit's house where a little munch on a biccy requires a lizard with a ladder to try and pull the monster (which is Alice Ginormified) out of the chimney. When Alice becomes tiny again she goes off and comes across the Blue caterpillar smoking a hookah who tells her the story of 'Old father William.' After more size issues, Alice comes across the house of the Duchess and her pepper obsessed cook- where she also meets the Cheshire Cat, who directs her toward the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. After a mad tea party Alice finally finds herself in the garden she so wanted to get into at the beginning of the story, which turns out to be The Queen's croquet ground. After the famous 'painting the roses red' quickly followed by a game of Croquet, another conversation with the Duchess and a walk with the Queen they hear the Mock Turtle's story, helped by the Gryphon, and learn of the Lobster Quadrille. After which they attend the trial of the knave of hearts, who stood accused of stealing the Queen's tarts- to which Alice has to give evidence. And so the story continues.
I have to say if i hadn't seen the other subversions of this story i would have probably enjoyed the book more. The writing style is a fantastic combination of storytelling and poetry and the descriptions of the settings and characters are completely out of this world and no matter how hard any of these films try they cannot compare to the imagination of Carroll. However the films have more action and are easier to understand than the book thus would probably be the more preferable option for learning about this classic story. However if you are anything like me and are interested in how stories are chopped and changing this is a must read to see how people have made this crazy story understandable to other audiences. Along with the story being a must have anyway as it is a complete and utter classic that is the source of many writer's inspirations over the years since it was written.
All in all if you want to know what really happened in Wonderland this is the book for you. I got my copy as part of a 3 for £5 deal in the Works, which includes 124 pages of Wonderland fun, seasonal greeting from Carroll himself and has an extra 27 pages of glossary explaining some of Carroll's more eccentric vocabulary. This is just a timeless classic that can be enjoyed by all generations and probably will be enjoyed by many generations to come, along with many subversions of the tale being created over time.
I had wondered if I would ever read this book, almost resorting to doing something I very rarely do: buying before trying! When it actually comes down to it I picked the story up quite by pure chance. In the adult section, with a white front cover and the words "Curiouser and Curiouser" it grabbed my interest yet it wasn't until I opened the book that I realised what I had finally got my hands on. Alice in Wonderland is a children's story like no other but I sometimes think that had I not of watched the Disney animated classic I would probably of never wanted to read it in the first place.
We first meet Alice outside on a warm sunny day, daydreaming and lazily letting her mind drift away. Not for long however when she catches sight of a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat muttering about how late it is. Naturally the most obvious thing for anyone to do would be to follow it, to Alice's peril. As she falls down a hole into a world of surreal creatures and people, where things just don't make sense our little Victorian 7 year old will come across all sorts of events. Swimming in her own tears, taking advice from a seemingly drug intoxicated caterpillar and meeting the Red Queen to name just a few.
Alice in Wonderland is a highly unique little story. Who else but Lewis Carroll could create a whole new world in a Victorian era which would go down so well? Still being reinvented some 145 years later since it was first written. The school girl is clearly very clever with a vivid imagination however she also has a curious streak. I found at times that she was a little too clever for her own good. Questioning everyone around her and sometimes coming across as a child which has been slightly spoilt. At times she is unable to remain her composure which gives her a frustrated attitude, occasionally making her lose her temper as she attempts to find this mysterious rabbit.
The story of Alice is a very surreal tale but may not be to everyone's tastes. It's creatures might be a little too strange for some people to even contemplate. So if you prefer your books to be more realistic then this might not be for you. On saying that I think it has reaches a very wide audience and can be enjoyed by the young and old. Personally I'd say go for the versions which have illustrations in. Whilst Disney has beautified certain characters you get to see how they were meant to look. Which puts a whole different perspective on how you see everyone she meets.
It won't take you too long to read and I don't even mind about the vast amount of people/animals which are mentioned. If you get too stuck on trying to remember who they are some versions have a list at the back, just to remind you! It might be a bit all over the place with its plot but that doesn't take away the fun of it. This is a story which everyone should at least try to read. Like I said there is a high chance that it might not be your cup of tea but as a very popular children's classic it has to be worth a glance!
You can buy this on Amazon for a variety of prices but the cheapest is £1.99
Alice is a somewhat bored young girl, who, one afternoon, bored of listening to her older sister read her stories, decides to follow a rather peculiar white rabbit. It leads her down a rabbit hole, and into a world she could barely have imagined.
Wonderland is, well to be quite frank, a land of wonder - it's easy as that, as she soon finds out. Keen to get into the Queen's garden (for seemingly no reason), she travels through the weird and wonderful world, where she soon finds out, everyone is mad.
She meets the ugly duchess with her baby and her grinning Cheshire puss; she comes across a mad tea party, a bizarre game of croquet and a sad, melancholic Mock Turtle.
This is one of my favourite books for children. I remember loving it when I was a child, and I love it now. It's brimming with so much odd humour and wild imagination - from quirky characters (which were even better in their day - when people knew hats were lined with mercury and mock turtle soup didn't have turtles in), to odd but interesting parodies of nursery rhymes.
It, and the sequel Through the Looking Glass (and what Alice Found there) have sparked the imaginations of hundreds of illustrators and film makers - after all, with such a work of no-holds-bared originality, it's hard to not be inspired by it.
The book is short, but that's kind of the point and while there's no real plot per se, there's not meant to be. Things happen, and for no reason - after all, this is wonderland.
If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend you pick it up. Oh, and get the copy with John Tenniel's original illustrations - they're definitely the best
My first experiences with Alice were through Disney's wonderful cartoon made back in 1951, as I loved it so much it was a natural progression that I would end up reading the rather short but instantly loveable Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
At this point as a 24 year old male I feel like I should point out that despite my years I am in fact still a kid at heart, don't let the genre classification of junior books put you off, the book can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
We Join Alice as she is receiving tutelage from her teacher in a pleasant sunny meadow, as she grows bored her mind starts to wander, before long she notices a small waistcoated white rabbit with a pocket watch. scurrying about frenetically declaring "Im late", Alices curiousity causes her to follow the rabbit down a deep hole, in which she loses footing and tumbles endlessly down, down into a world of surrealism where Carroll pricks the pomposity of the victorian age through hypocritical, status obsessed and at times downright crazy characters meant to represent the stuffy and overbearingly August figures of the Victorian age in which the book was conceived, namely, educators and authoritarian figures.
Alice In Wonderland may at first seem like an exercise in gibberish, a complete fantasy with little structure or meaning, and indeed at times it does feel like this with the narrative jerking erratically from one subject to the next. In order to understand the sub text that runs through the book it's important to understand more about Carroll.
Carroll was a man who valued the friendship of children greatly, according to some sources he had few relationships with women of his own age (although this is a point of some conjecture), for the sake of a clear review it is my opinion that this account of Carroll is an accurate one. He was fascinated by the innocence of Children, with one in particular, a colleagues daughter and the books namesake, Alice.
Carroll coined Alice in Wonderland as he, Alice and two of her young friends rode serenely along a river on a pleasant summers evening. Some have claimed that Carroll was on drugs when he thought up the tale, a claim thats impossible to refute and while opium use was common in this era, one hopes for the sake of the young cargo in his charge that he was not.
As well as the books obvious derisive representation of high victorian society the short stories chaotic structure mirrors the confusing, contrasting and at times bewildering maelstrom that is the mind of a child growing up.
At it's heart AIWL is a complete nonsense and as such children may well enjoy reading it (although the victorian style of writing does not lend itself well to young readers in my opinion), however there is enough going on beneath the surface for adults to enjoy.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is the most amazing children's book that speaks to for itself. The novel was originally published in November 1965 and is a children's fictional novel. The novel I found to be beautifully written throughout and the language is very descriptive. There really are some fantastic characters that are featured in this novel that really do make it what it is. The novel was inspired from Lewis Carroll's novel "Through the looking glass" and this becomes evident.
The book really is about the most wonderful adventure of Alice in a strange land that is full of magical wonders! It is a story about a girl named Alice who accidently falls down a rabbit hole and finds her self in a fantasy world. This world is completely full of what seem strange and very magical creatures that you would not otherwise see. If you do like this novel I would really recommend "Through the looking glass" by Lewis Caroll because it is very similar in the overall story line as such. Within Alice's adventure she experiences many strange things and she has a facinating encouter with the Queen of hearts!
I really would recommend this book because it is simply fantatsic and is one of the great children's novel's that must be read! Although it is primarily based at children it seems to have a universal appeal which I really liked. Some of the ideas and themes of the book are inspirational and you really will fall in love with it! I hope this was useul and thank you very much for reading!
My all time most favourite book has to be Alice in wonderland, and a second would be Alice's adventures through the looking glass. And my all time favourite poem would have to be the jabberwocky... I would recite it to you but the idea is not to read you the book it is to review it. From the moment Alice spots the little white Rabbit on a lazy summer's afternoon I was completely engrossed within the pages of this magnificant wonderland. It is the tale of a young girl who believes in "normal" until she finds out that there is no such thing. Of course I may interpret it entirely differently to the next person but i believe that that is the entire purpose of a book...what use is it if it only tells you one thing only? I really don't what else i can say to you, this book is filled with nonsense, poems and little annecdotes that keep you enriched within the magic of Alice's adventures in wonderland, I love it, you really should read it. Even if you don't like it, it is a book that everyone should experience.
I remember my mother reading me this story,about the age of 6.She was very good at storytelling,and really made it live for me.Although Lewis Carroll didnt need much help ,he really understood the workings of a childs mind,and what they could relate to,because when you think about it childhood is a time of discovery ,and learning,and everything is fresh and new so this exciting story is like a journey ,to the young child as she or he identifies with Alice. It starts on a hot summers day Alice is sitting with her sister on the grass making daisy chains she becomes sleepy and doses off you can just feel the warmth of the sun and hear the insects buzzing ,she follows a white rabbit ,and falls down a hole its a slow fall because she can make out shelves as she falls and has time to think,I love the old illustrations in this book ,with pots of marmalade on the shelves,it all seems quite normal to her and she finally hits the floor. She finds herself in a room ,with a large table with a key on it and a bottle of medicine.She finds a door a tiny one which she eventually onlocks but,she keeps on changing size ,something she does a the way through the story,when she is big, she cries a lot of tears ,because she is to big to get through the door then she drinks out of the bottle that says drink me,and nearly drowns in her tears when she shrinks down,she encounters many nervous creatures ,whom she manages to frighten away. Her journey through this dreamlike world continues,she meets many strange people,including,the Duchess,the cook,the Mad Hatter,and his tea party. She ends up trapped in a house because she grows to big. She meets the cheshire cat who keeps on appearing and disappearing especially when the queen orders peoples heads to be chopped off. The story ends with a court scene and Alice goes back to her normal size,I think this story helps children to accept that they are going to feel stange sometimes and tha
t some Adults are mad ,or terribly set in their ways . I still enjoy reading this story its just that my understanding of it has changed. Its facinating,its much better read as a book than seen as a film.It is timeless.
“You are old, father William, the young man said, And your hair has become very white, And yet you incessantly stand on your head, Do you think, at your age, it is right?” (extract from Chapter 5 : Advice from a Caterpillar, The original illustrated Alice in Wonderland) Oh Alice. Even her standard schoolroom recitation has been transformed into something rich and strange. That’s Wonderland for you. Let alone the fact she is reciting to a caterpillar, who is smoking a hookah, seated on a toadstool, which, if you eat it, makes you change size. I have to admit that I now find our heroine a teensy bit smug. She’s a prim Victorian schoolgirl who, in the original Tenniel illustrations, wears a pristine white pinafore throughout her adventures. It is Wonderland that’s so glorious., and this, really, is the joy of the book. We follow Alice as she attempts to apply her schoolbook learning and morality through an absurd, beautiful series of topsy-turvy adventures. Alice, here, is the adult, and Wonderland is childhood gone mad. It is only at the very end of the book, when she becomes frustrated, that she wakes up and exchanges Wonderland for her sister, and a boring book with no pictures, “and no conversations”. Much has been written about Lewis Carroll and “Alice in Wonderland”. Much has been made of the fact of his supposed liking for little girls, and on his political persuasions - in particular the Walrus and The Carpenter in “Through the looking glass” are caricatures of the politicians, Disraeli and Gladstone. I’m not going to dwell too much on these aspects as I’ve always liked to read Alice for the adventures. They’re Brilliant. And Completely Bonkers. They are, in this way, a bit like real life. I do think that Carroll was trying to show how bizarre this ‘adult’ world is, and how silly our preconceptions about
learning and social standards are. You only have to look at the strange behaviour at the ‘Mad Hatters Tea party’ to realise that he is satirising the rigid social codes that our poor heroine, had to comply with as a victorian schoolgirl. Good for Carroll. He’s telling us how daft we are, and how much more sensible a twelve year old can be than us ‘adults’. Its for that reason, that when I first read the book (I was eight) I loved the character of Alice. I mean, she really is the only sensible one. Oh, and if you ever get invited to this tea party .....remember to take a metronome. I’m not going to go into the adventures themselves in detail. I can’t do them justice - you really do have to read the illustrated book to enjoy them properly. Lets just say that we fall down a rabbit hole, after spotting a well-dressed rabbit; then we swim in our tears, only to dry off for a ‘caucus race’. We’re then mistaken for said rabbit’s housemaid, but become too large all of a sudden and have to take advice from a caterpillar in order to regain our correct size, meet a baby that turns into a pig and join in the mad hatters tea party. We then have a lovely game of croquet ( using a flamingo for a mallet), meet a very sad mock turtle, dance the lobster quadrille, and go to a trial. Glorious. Completely Bonkers. Oh...and then we wake up. We wake up, and we are a Victorian child once again; and this, I think, is why we gain so much, as a modern audience, from ‘Alice in Wonderland’. I think I’ve probably gained more insight into the social life of a middle-class victorian through reading this book, than any amount of history lessons. And its Glorious, Completely Bonkers, and very, very clever. Carroll was, in fact, a very learned mathematician. The story goes that Queen Victoria was so taken with “Alice” that she wrote to him, asking him to d
edicate his next book to her.....and so, “A Treatise on Algebraic Geometry” was duly dedicated to Queen Victoria. “Through the Looking Glass” was dedicated to Alice Siddell, for whom it was always intended. I cheer and applaud Carroll for this. Maybe only the truly clever can dispense with such pretentions, and live for whatever they choose to call reality. And reality......well....even in Wonderland they have commuters, and that tardy white rabbit which started the whole adventure must surely be one of these. And I’m left hoping that I’ll meet him on a train to the city one day. That really would be glorious, and gorgeously, wonderfully, topsy-turvily Completely Bonkers!
This book is one of the Best in the world! What more can I say? It is loved by people young and old and no body dispises it! In Fact, a pc game was even made based on the adventures of Alice, however that was slightly warped and disturbing! There have been many remakes of films of the wornderfulk adventures of the young girl, yet the book seem sto have that extra magical spark, that some films just don't seem to contain. I agree with the previous reviewers, that this book is really good and that if you are a fan of books, this one is probably on you r book shelf this very momnet in time... (UNLESS YOUR READING IT!)
The story begins with Alice sitting with her sister by the river when suddenly she sees a white rabbit hurrying past muttering to himself about being late. Curiosity causes Alice to follow him down a rabbit hole, along passages and in and out of rooms. At one point Alice catches a glimpse of a beautiful garden and wants to enter it but finds she is too big. Then follows a sequence of events where she first drinks a potion and becomes small then eats cake and becomes big which recurs throughout the story in various ways. When she is too big she bursts into tears of frustration and then when she shrinks again finds herself swimming in a pool of her own tears alongside various other creatures. They eventually swim out of the pool and have to get dry. The mouse tells his ‘driest story’ but that doesn’t work so they decide to have a race which involves running wherever they want randomly. The dodo is in charge and they all have prizes. The mouse starts to tell his tale and no one is interested so he leaves and when Alice starts her story every one else leaves. The rabbit enters the story again and mistaking Alice for his maid sends her off to his house to fetch his gloves and fan. There she finds another bottle of ‘drink me’ stuff, drinks some and grows to fill the room. Then she shrinks again, gets chased by a puppy and wants to grow again. This is when she conveniently meets the hookah smoking caterpillar that suggests she eats some mushroom. The next scene finds Alice in a house in some woods where she meets fish and frog footmen and in the kitchen the duchess and baby, a grinning cat and the cook. Everyone is sneezing because there is too much pepper about and the baby is howling. The duchess throws the baby to Alice and it changes into a pig and runs away. Then Alice meets the Cheshire cat The next scene is one of the most famous in Alice – the mad hatter’s tea party. The March h
are and mad hatter are having tea and a dormouse is sitting between them fast asleep. There ensues a fascinating discussion on semantics, riddles, philosophy and complete nonsense then the dormouse is woken and tells a story about three little girls who live in a well. Alice gets offended about something and wanders off and finds a tree with a door in it. Eventually after some more growing and shrinking she finds herself able to enter the beautiful garden she saw at the beginning of the story. But the people in the beautiful garden are not very beautiful. Alice sees a rose tree with white roses on which two gardeners are painting red, because they had accidentally planted the wrong sort and if the queen finds out she will cut off their heads. The queen and the rest of the cards arrive and the queen invites Alice to play croquet. The riotous game is played with flamingo mallets and hedgehogs as balls and the queen constantly orders heads off. After this the mock turtle and gryphon do a dance and finally there is a trial to discover who stole the tarts. Most of the main characters reappear as witnesses and finally Alice is called. By this time she is growing again and is not worried about what she says because they are ‘only a pack of cards’. The whole pack of cards comes flying down upon her – and Alice wakes from her dream. I was brought up on Alice stories, not however just read from the book. Like the real Alice I grew up in Oxford and like her was lucky enough to have a storytelling uncle. I was told Alice stories in Christ Church Meadow and Godstow sitting near the same places where she sat and maybe just maybe I heard them as she had done originally. I do know that I also went down the rabbit hole and that I too grew and shrunk as she did and met the horrid duchess and queen. Eventually, however, and I can’t remember how old I was, I read the book for myself – and I was so disappointe
d. I remember thinking how silly it was or tedious and some of it I couldn’t understand at all. So what happened? Basically, exactly the same thing that happened to Alice at the end of the story. As soon as Alice points out the reality of the situation – that they are “only a pack of cards”, she is immediately returned to ‘reality’ herself. I had grown up a bit, I was old enough to read the words but too old to recapture the magic of the stories that I had originally heard. On the other hand distance in time and general lack of education and understanding left me too young to understand it on another level. I was offended by the cruelty and confused by the puns and irony. So as far as I was concerned it was a useless book and I disliked it so much that I didn’t introduce it to my own children at all. Thus it seems to me that Alice in wonderland is a Jekyll and Hyde book and there are at least two distinct sides to it. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was an immensely talented man, naturally creative and artistic he somehow or another ended up as a mathematics teacher. He was born in 1832 the third child of eleven and he first began to compose poems and stories to entertain the family. Snippets of ‘Alice’ were known to others long before the real ‘Alice’ came into his life and thus it was a long time in the making. Alice was by no means the only child who had been told special stories but she was the one who demanded that he write them down. The inspirational stories that gave birth to the book Alice in wonderland were first told to Alice and her two sisters on a boating trip to Godstow on 4th July 1862. That evening as they said goodnight Alice said to him, “Oh, Mr Dodgson, I wish you would write out Alice’s’ adventures for me.” And apparently he sat up most of that night writing down what he could remember but the first draft was not comple
ted for another two years. Now, surely this in itself tells us something about the nature of this book. If it was indeed intended as a storybook for children alone surely it could have been finished much quicker. Alice was 10 years old when the stories were originally told, she was given the first draft ‘Alice’s Adventures in the Underground’ when she was 12 and finally ‘Alice in wonderland’ was published when she was 13. Alice was 19 when Through the looking Glass was published. Furthermore, if it was really intended for children why did Carroll completely rewrite it as ‘The Nursery Alice’ in 1889 without the puns and irony? In the preface to that book he suggests that this version is for one to five year olds but he also mentions ‘children’ of various other ages who have read it with his tongue obviously firmly in cheek. Read from a certain point of view and with reasonable insight the book is almost certainly a satire containing subtly anarchic mockery of Victorian hypocrisy, authority and prejudice. Many people suggest that there are references to drugs in the book and that Carroll may have written under the influence. Drug use is most obvious in the hookah smoking caterpillar scene and ‘magic’ mushroom but also more subtly present in the story of the duchess and baby. But it seems to me far more likely that there is implied criticism of the then common opium habits and results of it than any direct use by the author himself. Lewis Carroll, however, has cleverly allowed the criticisms to be voiced by ‘Alice’, who as a seven year old girl knows nothing. Victorians considered children as basically useless and worthless and showed their prejudices to ‘lower’ classes, indigenous peoples and ‘blacks’ by comparing them to children – ‘immature working class’ etc. But in wonderland there is a reversal of this state a
nd the grown ups are shown to be everything that they accuse others of. Carroll had a perceptive understanding of children and valued their innocent reasoning and ability to be transported so easily into wonderland and I suspect he wanted to create a bridge which would enable other older ‘children’ to share his perspective. In other words, Alice in wonderland is a sort of manual of how to become a child for adults so they too can see the world differently. Even if I am wrong and it was written entirely for children I do not think a child of today can understand much of the story as it stands. The parts of the story which were told to and written for Alice and her sisters had particular relevance to them alone and that is what made them so special. Lewis Carroll had the storyteller’s art of transforming the people and things around into things that were recognisably different to those who knew what he was talking about. Many of the characters in the book can be identified as real people Alice knew. The White Rabbit, for example, is most probably her own father. (Christ Church for whatever reason keeps different time to the rest of the UK. Oxford is 5 minutes west of Greenwich and in theory 9.00 GMT is 9.05 Oxford time. This is the time Christ Church keeps in the cathedral, for dinner and striking its bell Great Tom. So the white rabbit that is always late is quite clearly from Christ Church.) In one of the most famous stories from Alice the mad hatter’s tea party the dormouse is woken to tell a story. He tells the story of three little girls Elsie, Lacie and Tillie who live at the bottom of a treacle well. This story would seem like complete madness to some people but would have made sense to Alice. The girls are in fact the Liddell sisters and the treacle well is a reference to the healing well (known as the treacle well) at Binsey which they passed on the boating trip and to the Frideswide legend which had been re
cently immortalised on new stained glass windows in Christ Church Cathedral. Another part of the story which would be obvious to Alice but not necessarily to others is mention of the dodo – which was on exhibition at the very recently opened University museum of natural history. There are many such obscure references in the story and to understand the significance it really is necessary to read an annotated edition. With knowledge of the background to the stories one can enter again into the spirit of the stories as they were told to the girls on a certain golden afternoon and marvel at the imagination of Lewis Carroll who also wrote the following: I’d give all wealth that years have piled, the slow result of life’s decay. To be once more a little child for one bright summer day.
Alice in Wonderland is truly a classic and should be read by all ages, especially the young, this means when they read it again they’ll enjoy it all the more. Every page is exciting, mysterious, creative and full of wonder, Carroll has a way with his imagination, he pulls you into his riddles, puns and characterisations so you end up believing you ARE Alice. At 10 I was Alice, at 32, I’m still Alice! Alice is 7 years old and a very creative little girl, intelligent and yearning to learn, but level headed with it, and she works around problems that pop up at every page turn. Ok, I don’t claim to understand all of it, and sometimes I get a little frustrated, but I keep having to remember, this book is meant for kids who still have a vivid imagination and aren’t bogged down with everyday life. Alice in Wonderland is a clever and very unique book, it’s the bizarre creatures (chess playing cards, dodgy characters who live on mushrooms and smoke from a bottle ;+), size changing food, and cats that disappear) that I absolutely adore. The surrealism is pretty funky too, I think that Carroll was/is giving a message on how dreams can come true no matter what happens. I was given this book at 7 years old, and as I was too young to read it all by myself my mum helped out and sometimes read it to me (or was she re-reading it for herself?). That’s probably why I feel that I’ve got a connection with it, hearing mum changing her voice every time a new character came into the plot (what plot!) made me giggle. If you have kids - read it to them, if they say they’re too old – read it to them, if you don’t have any kids – read it to yourself, you won’t be disappointed. A classic that belongs in every home, and is also meant for the child in all of us. (And it makes a nice change from those tacky Jackie Collins novels)
Much-loved children's tale.