REFERAT ENGLEZA: ALICE IN WODERLAND

Publicat: 25 Nov 2008 00:00

Alice in Wonderland Chapter 1 In this short, introductory chapter we are introduced to Alice, a young girl, who is sitting on the bank of a river with her older sister. Alice is bored and a bit sleepy, but she is startled awake by a talking White Rabbit who hops by with a pocket watch.Alice follows the rabbit down his rabbit hole, but loses him almost immediately. The hole is quite deep and Alice falls for a relatively long time. During the fall she notices that the hole is lined with cupboards filled with things. She also talks to herself as she falls. Upon reaching the bottom of the rabbit hole Alice catches up with the rabbit just long enough to see him scurry off, complaining about how late he is.Upon turning a corner after the rabbit, Alice finds herself alone in a room of locked doors. On a glass table in the middle of the room she found a very small key which did not fit any of the doors. After some searching she discovers a very small door behind a curtain. She opens that door with the key and sees that the door leads out into a beautiful garden she wishes she could get to. However, the doorway is too small, preventing Alice from passing out into the garden. This problem is resolved when Alice turns back to the table and finds a vial of liquid on it that says "DRINK ME." The potion shrinks Alice to ten inches in height and she heads to the door only to find that it is still locked, and the key remains on the glass table now out of reach. Disappointed, Alice almost cries, but then she scolds herself as an adult might, and in effect, pulls herself together. It is at this point that Alice finds a piece of cake in a box marked "EAT ME" on the floor. Concluding that the cake will probably make her grow big, Alice eats the whole thing.The most important thing introduced in this chapter is Alice's fluctuating sense of self. Alice, meant to be a girl of about eleven or so, is on the cusp of adolescence. But what does she want to be? If she shrinks to a child-like size to get through the doorway into what seems to be the garden of childhood, then she is too small to reach the key to open that door. She is trapped in a kind of paradox. Throughout the chapter Alice is "trying on" her adult self. She speaks in a learned manner, even when she isn't quite sure what she is speaking about, and she often creates in her own mind an adult personality to check her childish impulses.This split personality of Alice's will become the core problem of the book. Is it more important to enjoy the nonsense of childhood unaware, or should order be imposed on one's life at the expense of some of that joy? Ultimately, in the very opening of the book, Alice is already asking herself: "Do I want to grow up, or do I want to stay small?" Chapter 2 As Alice expected, at the beginning of this chapter the cake indeed does make her grow quite tall. As she is growing to adult proportions Alice begins to worry about her feet, her tiny feet, as though they were children. In this way Alice's manner of speaking becomes more adult and motherly. She decides that, in order to win favor from her now distant and small feat she shall send them Christmas presents. But while this opening paragraph begins as a very adult kind of worry it degenerates into childish hyperbole. "Oh dear, what nonsense I am talking!" Alice scolds herself, reasserting her balance between the extremes of childhood and adulthood. Then Alice grows to be too big for the house and, like a child, she cries in frustration. But the adult voice in Alice's head interjects, scolding her for crying when she is such a big girl. Her tears continue to fall, however, and she fills the house with a pool of tears.At this point the White Rabbit reappears and Alice calls out to him for help, but he is too frightened by her size and he scurries away. "Who in the world am I?" Ah, that's the great puzzle,' she says to her self after he is gone. (As the Rabbit leaves he forgets his white gloves and fan, which Alice picks up and keeps a hold of).At this point Alice decides to investigate who she is, and if she is the same person that she thought she was yesterday. First she tries to catalogue all of the things she used to know to see if she still knows them. She goes from multiplication tables, to geography and then to little rhyming lessons, effectively moving backward through her schooling to the earliest things she was taught. In all cases she fails to remember.After this Alice notices that she is shrinking again, and she shrinks back to normal size. Then she shrinks down to a size smaller than she was before, less than ten inches. She finds herself afloat in her own pool of tears and she also finds that she is sharing this pool with a mouse. She asks the mouse how she might get out of the pool. The mouse does not answer. Finally, however, Alice engages the mouse in conversation about cats. The conversation consists primarily of Alice offending the mouse by speaking well of cats (especially her cat Dinah). Then Alice tries to engage the mouse on the subject of dogs until she mentions a dog that was a good ratkiller, which enrages the mouse again.Finally, exasperated, the mouse announces that he will tell Alice the story of why he hates both cats and dogs and leads her ashore. Alice and the mouse are followed ashore by a Dodo, a Duck, a Lory and an Eaglet who all fell into the pool while Alice and the mouse were talking.In this chapter Carroll introduces the beginning of his argument for adulthood. The first chapter laid out the books basic question, which was: should Alice choose to remain a disordered child so that she can enjoy the laziness of a garden in summer with no worries and no responsibilities? Or, should she impose order on her life and grow up?Her conversation with the mouse is the first of many conversations she will have in this book. While the conversations will be about many things (cats and dogs for instance) what is really going on in the conversations is the problems of politeness and civility. This will be the core of Carroll's argument that Alice SHOULD grow up and impose order on her life. If she learns to be civil and polite, for example, then she can successfully ask for help without offending anyone. This is the important first step towards growing up: learning how to be polite and how to communicate. Chapter 3 Alice and the assembly of birds and the mouse are all wet upon the shore. A good deal of confusion erupts over how they should get dry. Finally the Mouse decides the best way to make everyone dry is to tell a very dry story (that is, he tells an exceptionally boring story about English history). This ironic play on words, however, does little to dry anyone so a new plan is devised by the Dodo to hold what he calls a Caucus Race, where there is little or no course and everyone can start whenever they want. The whole group participates and they run and run and run until they are dry, at which point the Dodo declares the race over and everyone a winner. Then he demands that Alice award the prizes. She finds a box of snacks in her pocket and hands one piece out to each winner, though she has no prize left for herself. The Dodo asks her if she has anything else, and she produces a thimble. In a brief but solemn ceremony the birds bestow her thimble back upon her as a prize.Now that they are dry, the Mouse tells his tale, which Alice imagines is shaped like a tail. Essentially, the tale is a short poem printed on the page in the shape of a mouse tail. Once the tale is told, Alice and the Mouse have a short fight over how the tale should have worked out. Then, once the fight has ended badly, Alice wishes aloud for Dinah to be there. All of the birds then politely ask Alice who Dinah is and, again, Alice goes on about how good Dinah is at catching and killing mice and birds. Offended and frightened, the party of animals politely excuse themselves and Alice is alone again.Yet again, Carroll is making a case for adulthood. In the first half of the story there is this Caucus Race, essentially a game with no rules. What Alice recognizes and what Carroll hopes the reader sees is that without rules, no amount of play is really fun. It may get you dry and it may make you tired, but in the end it probably isn't much fun. Games are competitions and competitions require rules and discipline. Without the discipline of adulthood, life will start to become rather pointless, filled with empty ceremonies and meaningless accomplishments.The second half of the chapter is in many ways a reiteration of the previous chapter. Alice perhaps recognizes that games need rules so that they make sense, but she hasn't yet learned that rules are needed for all occasions. Conversation, to be meaningful, needs rules just as a game needs rules. And in order to successfully hold a conversation a person needs boundaries. Alice has not learned that talking about her cat Dinah to Birds and Mice who are potential meals of Dinah is Out Of Bounds.In short the first half of this chapter is used to prove that Rules Are Necessary. The second half of this chapter drives home the point that If Rules Are Necessary, then it is important, vital perhaps, To Learn The Rules And Follow Them. Chapter 4 This chapter opens with Alice again running into the White Rabbit. The Rabbit is running back toward Alice because he has lost his Gloves and Fan (remember them from Chapter Two?) Alice doesn't have them though, so she can't help him. But then the Rabbit mistakes Alice for his maid and commands her back to his cottage for the items in question. Still operating as a child, Alice immediately responds to the authority in his voice and runs back to the cottage (even though she isn't sure where it is) to get the Gloves and the Fan. In the cottage Alice doesn't find the items in question, but instead she finds another bottle of liquid, which, though it has no label directing her to do so, she drinks. And she grows. And she gets herself stuck in the cottage because she is too big. And there, in the cottage, her too personalities (that is, the Adult Alice and the Child Alice) have a bit of an argument until the Rabbit shows up calling out for his maid, Mary Ann. The Rabbit tries to get in, but Alice fills the house so completely that the doors are jammed. Then the Rabbit is terrified by her giant arm and calls to his Gardener, Pat, for assistance. Then they summon more help with ladders. Then there is an argument about who should climb to the roof and go down the chimney and it is decided that Bill should do it (Little Bill being one of the new helpers that the Rabbit seeks to Send In).Alice hears scrambling in the chimney, decides that that is Bill and she kicks him out (the illustration on this page shows Bill as a Salamander being ejected from a sooty Chimney. The Salamander has long been associated with fire in European culture, which explains why it had to be Bill who went down the chimney: he would be the only one able to withstand a fire if there was one in the fireplace). Once Bill is ejected, the Rabbit calls out that house must be burned to the ground. Alice finally speaks up, threatening to sic Dinah on the lot of them. There is silence at that point.The group finally decided to throw in a barrowful of pebbles through a window. The pebbles hit Alice in the face. But then the pebbles turned into cakes, and Alice ate a few, and she shrank. Normal sized, Alice exits the cottage and is chased by the assembled animals. Luckily she is able to make her escape into a dense wood.While in the wood Alice comes upon a puppy that is very large, much larger than she. Or perhaps Alice is too small again. She can't decide. She tries to avoid the puppy for fear of being trampled, but she is sad that she can't play with the puppy. Again she decides to grow up so that she can enjoy these things she is coming upon. At this point she looks around for things to eat or drink, but instead she comes upon a caterpillar on a mushroom smoking a hookah.Little can be said about this chapter symbolically. The story returns to some standard themes about adults and children (most importantly that Alice is still enough of a child that she immediately responds to the Rabbit's command without even thinking the matter over.) Also, the puppy in the end further illustrates how Alice can't enjoy her childhood completely when she is a child because the need to grow up is too great. It seems that big or small, Alice is out of place: a good metaphor for Adolescence where no one seems happy with the size they are or the way things are going. Chapter 5 Alice stands before a large Caterpillar on a large mushroom and the Caterpillar is smoking a hookah. To be frank, a hookah is a very large water bong designed by the Persians for the purpose of smoking any number of drugs. In Victorian England, the hookah was a symbol for Eastern Wisdom and was associated heavily with non-Christian religious wisdom. The Caterpillar, then, is meant to be a kind of Wise Man or Shaman. (Remember Cocaine and other like drugs were still basically legal during this period, and the mind expanding qualities of drugs were honored in many circles. Freud was addicted to Cocaine, and Arthur Conan Doyle gave Sherlock Holmes a similar affliction).The Caterpillar opens the conversation in a wise, but seemingly rude, way: Who are you? he asks. Alice can't seem to respond very well, except to say that she is confused. The Caterpillar won't accept this, but Alice points out that he might understand better after he has transformed into a butterfly and sees what radical change is like. The Caterpillar does not agree with this idea though, and asks Alice to try and remember the school rhymes that she complains she has forgotten as part of her massive bodily changes.Alice recites for him a poem called You Are Old, Father William.Alice recites the poem, but it is changed from the original. In her new version Old Father Williams is old, but because of a good attitude and the leading of a healthy life he is able to perform all sorts of youthful feats, much to the dismay of his son.Alice and the Caterpillar agree that the poem is not how it used to be.The Caterpillar asks Alice what she wants and she replies that it's not any particular size that matters, its all the changing that bothers her. The Caterpillar disagrees and then leaves, but he does say that one side of the mushroom will make Alice grow bigger, the other smaller, seemingly leaving Alice with a tool to control her growth. Alice wishes she didn't have to argue so much with animals, and then goes on to experiment with the magic mushroom.First she is too small. Then she nibbles the mushroom and her neck grows high above the trees where a pigeon mistakes her for a serpent. Finally Alice gets to be the right size and she sets forth to find that garden she saw in the first chapter. But then she comes upon a very small house and she decides to shrink herself to the appropriate size so as not to frighten the house's inhabitants.In this chapter Alice is faced with the fact that change is natural and good, and that learning how to be both big and small, both an adult and a child, might be a good skill. After all, to be childish in old age seemed very healthy for Father William. One might speculate on the place drugs play in helping people to be both childlike and an adult at the same time. But as this a family web site, I leave that vein of exploration to the reader. The important thing is that Alice is beginning to learn that her changing person is the only constant thing, and that the appropriate thing to do is to figure out when certain aspects of her personality are appropriate. For example, when you come upon a four-foot high house, it is appropriate to shrink to that scale. That is, there are times for being small and times for being big. Adulthood is just about being big, it's about knowing when it is okay to be small again too.Chapter 6 Alice, while still in the dense wood, comes upon a very small house which she uses her mushroom to shrink to the proportions of. From behind some brush she watches as a fish, dressed as a footman, delivers an invitation to a frog dressed as a footman. The business is transacted at the door of the small house. The invitation is from the Queen to the Duchess, and it invites the Duchess to a game of croquet.Alice approaches the door where the frog footman still stands and looks to get in, so she knock. But the frog, who is apparently in charge of that door, merely mocks her attempt at knocking because he is, after all, on the same side of the door as she. They engage in this paradoxical word play for a few lines until the door flies open and a dish shoots out toward the frog'' head. A raucous disturbance is going inside the house of the Duchess. Irritated, Alice walks into the house.Inside Alice finds the Duchess in the kitchen with a cook cooking soup and a crying baby. A grinning cat was at the Duchess' feet. The air is so full of pepper that everyone save the cat is sneezing, and the baby is crying loudly between sneezes. Alice asks why the cat is grinning and the Duchess says it is a Cheshire Cat, and then the Duchess calls the baby a Pig.In short, the Duchess is very rude to everyone.The cook then began to throw everything she could find at the Duchess and the baby. Alice is worried for the baby and says so. The Duchess calls for Alice's head to be chopped off. Nothing comes of that demand and so the Duchess returns to nursing the baby. She sings to it a sort of Anti-Lullaby where, at the end of each line, she shakes the baby violently. Then the Duchess flung the baby at Alice to nurse because she had to go and get ready to play croquet with the Queen. Alice decided that she must take the baby away, for to leave it would be murder. Then she discovered that it was, indeed, a pig. So, she let the pig go.Alice then decided that while that baby had been an awful baby, it turned out to be quite a handsome pig. She then began to ponder whether other awful children she knew would be better as pigs.Once the pig is gone Alice comes upon the Cheshire Cat in a tree and she asks him directions. The Cat says that anyway is a good as another and that no matter where Alice goes she will be among the mad. Wonderland is for mad people, and therefore Alice must be mad too, says the Cat.The Cat says: "A dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tale when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased and wag my tale when I'm angry. Therefore, I'm mad." The Cheshire Cat is here pointing out the odd paradox of being polite. That is, a sophisticated mind must act contrary to what is felt, or people will be getting offended. But, by the same token, politeness and civility is a kind of madness, or at least self-deception.Alice then marched off to the house of the March Hare. As she approached, she practiced her own form of polite self-deception by using her magic mushroom to transform herself into the appropriate size.This chapter is most importantly, again, about civil society. Alice is slowly internalizing her own judgment, able now to act as an adult when the matter is thrust upon her. That is, the clearly unfit condition of the baby's home prompts her to respond appropriately and remove the baby from harm's way. Now that Alice seems to have learned to act appropriately, and to tailor her size and demeanor to her surroundings, Alice has to deal with the complexity of adulthood. The Cheshire Cat has stepped in to point out that from now on, adulthood will be madness. That is, just because she can control herself and behave in a civil manner, that doesn't mean that all of the other adults will. Furthermore, the fact that they are behaving in a mad manner may not always be inappropriate. Things grow more complex as we move on, so don't get lost.Chapter 7 Alice approaches a tea party which consists of a Mad Hatter, a March Hare and a sleeping Doormouse. The whole party is rude to her, but she chooses to join them anyway and begins to engage them in conversation.The conversation, in someway, concerns riddles with no answers, but in general consists of a series of wordplays about points of logic. The heart of the matter is that the group is living in a nonsense world and at the end of the chapter, Alice has the good sense to get up and leave.This chapter is basically an endcap to the lunacy of the preceding books. She is at a mad tea-party with mad animals and a mad hatter where time has stopped and riddles have no answer. The whole thing is a sort of sum up of the craziness of Alice's previous interactions, where meaning has degenerated to a final point of meaninglessness. So Alice leaves, having learned a bit on her journey about being an adult and growing up. She goes through a doorway placed conveniently in a tree and finds herself back in the small hallway with the glass table that she had started out in. Alice has come full circle. Now it will be a question of whether or not Alice can apply what she has learned. Can she be polite? And does she know when being polite ceases to be of any point? That is, will she be able to figure out at what point she should stop being polite and act to prevent things from getting out of hand? Can she both tolerate adulthood, and live up to the responsibility of being grown up?She makes a good first step. She finds the key on the table and, using good sense and her magic mushroom, she shrinks down to an appropriate size to open the door and enter the garden. She has, at least, learned enough to get what she has wanted all along. Now, does she deserve it?Chapter 8 Alice comes into the garden and discovers that it is the Queen's garden. There she finds several playing-card-shaped men painting the Queen's white roses red. This is because they accidentally planted a white rose bush instead of a red one. Symbol Alert! Many scholars have been concerned with the literal symbolism of this scene. That is, they take this scene as a reference to the War of the Roses, a powerful conflict in British history between the Lancastrian Family (the Red Roses) and the York Family (the White Roses). Thus, the Lancastrian Queen is driving out the York roses as a statement of her power.Sounds good, and in some sense it is true, but what could it possibly have to do with Alice and her quest for adulthood? A popular Freudian argument (and one that I am inclined to agree with) makes sense of this scene in the following manner: the Queen is aging and therefore waning in her power (physically, mentally and spiritually). At the same time, Alice is waxing, growing to adulthood, fertility and beauty. As a mother dies, so the daughter rises to take her place. Red here, then, is a symbol of menstrual blood. That is, it is a symbol of youthful vigor in much the same way as red lipstick or heavy rouge on the cheeks. The Queen is vainly fighting against the power of time. I choose this argument (though it does not exclude the political one actually it compliments it nicely) because it fits much better in the overall argument of the novel. It deals with the downside of growing up: growing OLD. Also, it places Alice in a larger context of adulthood, which is that older adults resent the vigor of younger adults and children, thus presenting a whole new level of complexity to the problem of politeness. Unlike madmen like the Hatter and the Hare, Alice cannot overcome time, cannot freeze time, so she has to realize that when she grows up, someone else is growing old, and when she grows old, someone else has to die.All that in a little bit of red paint on a white rose. White flowers, the flowers of a funeral. The flowers of death.Anyway, Alice's meeting with the gardeners is cut short by the appearance of the Queen and her court. Alice does not lay down like the other subjects and thus attracts the attention (anger) of the Queen. Alice introduces herself, but privately realizes that she need not be afraid because the court is only a pack of cards. Alice speaks corageously (almost rudely) to the Queen and the Queen demands that her head be lopped off for the offense against civility.Nonsense! Alice cries.The Queen seems to forget Alice at this, and the King thinks it is because Alice is only a child. In fact it is because Alice is an adult with some sense. That is, Alice has realized that civility cuts both ways. You must be polite to a degree that is appropriate, but you must not become such a slave to civility that you forget your own humanity. The Queen is such a slave to civility that any offense, in her eyes, should receive the penalty of death. There is a comment here, perhaps, on the reason that people become more conservative as they grow older. The Queen, feeling her body grow old and weak is trying to assert her power by more forcefully enforcing civility. The irony, as we shall see, is that she has grown progressively more and more Uncivil in the process. Notice that the Queen only shouts, she never speaks.Loudly, the Queen invites Alice to a game of Croquet. The game turns out to be, rather than a game with no rules, a game with TOO many complications. Live flamingoes for mallets, live hedgehogs for balls, bent over soldiers for arches, nothing but ridges and furrows on the ground, and everyone must play at once without waiting for turns. Alice finds here the opposite but equal problem of the Caucus Race. That is, with too many complications and with a Mad Queen seeking to enforce fatally every minor indiscretion, one is as immobilized as if there were no rules at all. Either way, there is hardly any point in playing at all. With no rules, everyone wins but the winning is meaningless. With too many rules and a cruel enforcement, everyone is sure to lose and then die!Just as Alice was beginning to realize her problem she saw the Cheshire Cat slowly fading into view. The cat is pleasantly impertinent to the king and Alice notes that a cat may look at a king, so he isn't being uncivil. At this point, though, the King and Queen call for the cat's head to be chopped off.Alice departed for a moment to continue with the game only to return to find the executioner, the King and the Queen all arguing around the cat about something. They each tried to get Alice to settle the dispute. The executioner refused to cut off the cat's head because he had no body. The King said that anything with a head could be beheaded. The Queen said that the whole matter had better be settled or everyone would be killed. Alice replied that the cat belonged to the Duchess (who was sent to prison by the Queen). Then the party dissolved in disarray because the cat faded out of view.Ultimately, this chapter sets up a sort of endgame between Sensibility and the twin forces of Nonsense, that is Too Many Rules, and Too Few.Chapter 9 Alice finds herself in the beginning of this chapter in the annoying company of the Duchess. They conversed, sort of, about the goings on of the day, but mostly Alice thought to herself and the Duchess tried to find simplistic morals in everything. The conversation, on the whole, ended up being about how boring politeness can be at times, and how too much politeness can threaten the mind. The conversation is ended, however, by the Queen, who brings Alice back into the game. The game moves forward, interestingly, out of a fear of the Queen rather than out of any fun the game might have produced. Once all of the other players have been sentenced to death and the only people not in the custody of the soldiers are Alice and the King and the Queen, then the Queen tells Alice she must hear the Mock Turtle's history.(While the Queen was distracted, the King pardoned everyone). The Queen has a Gryphon take Alice to the Mock Turtle.The Mock Turtle was crying when they approached him. Slowly he tells them about his schooling, which was in the sea. Mostly, the story sets up the next chapter, where Mock Turtle is to tell Alice about the games they played.This chapter is a bit of a transition from the Croquet game to the Mock Turtle's Story and it is hard to say what else is in it. There is a good deal of wordplay between Alice and the Duchess at the beginning, but other than that it only prepares the reader for the next chapter.Chapter 10 In this chapter the Turtle describes a kind of line dance (a quadrille) which is acted out between many assorted sea creatures each paired with a lobster for a partner. However, the principle part of this chapter is actually devoted to the Song sung during the quadrille.After singing the song of the Lobster-Quadrille, the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon speak with Alice. Finally the conversation comes around to Alice and she tells them her journeys up to that point. The story is stopped when Alice gets to the part about her misremembering "Old Father William." The Turtle asks her to try and repeat something else so he can see if everything is coming out wrong. They ask her to repeat a rhyme called "'Tis the voice of the sluggard."It all comes out wrong, so the Mock Turtle demands that it be explained. But Alice has no clue what it all means when it comes out so strangely. So, Alice finally stops her reciting and asks the Turtle to sing her a song, which he does. He sings "Turtle Soup."The chapter is finally cut short, part way through the Turtle's song, by an announcement. In the distance someone calls out "The trial is beginning!"Even without the Mock Turtle crying all of the time (which he does) this would still be a very sad chapter. Basically this chapter is concerned with what has been lost. It's about the past, and about memory. The Mock Turtle seems to be equating his student days, his childhood, with the time when he was a Real Turtle. Now, as an adult, he doesn't feel as though he is alive or real anymore. The chapter ends with that very gruesome song about Turtle Soup. It is very strange because up to this point the great taboo of Wonderland for Alice is the discussion of eating animals because all of the animals don't want to face their own mortality. Now, however, it seems that the Mock Turtle feels an overpowering sense of nostalgia for his childhood and therefore is a bit obsessed with death as his only alternative. It seems to him that nothing makes much sense anymore, now that he is out of school. The fact that Alice can't seem to even remember her school lessons properly makes matters more pointed for the Turtle, making him feel even more alone perhaps.Chapter 11 This chapter concerns a trial started to find out if the Knave of Hearts was guilty for having stolen the Queen of Hearts' tarts. The King plays judge, and an assortment of animals are the jury. As always, the Queen's obsession with death threats puts the rules of justice in jeopardy, making all of the witnesses and the Jury very afraid to do their duty. Again, the message seems to be that rules administered by a tyrant are worse than no rules at all; a reasonable attitude towards rules is the hallmark of adult behavior, not just rules themselves. In the middle of things, Alice starts to grow. The trial goes on a bit longer as Alice grows, until finally she is the one who is called to the stand, which takes us to the final chapter of the book.The Hatter and his group are called as witnesses. Little Bill is a member of the jury. All in all, this chapter has gathered together a lot of the main players from the book together. It seems the point of this is to bring together the many parts of the novel so that Alice, like a trial lawyer, can make her summation speech.Chapter 12 In her excitement, Alice stands up and knocks over the whole jury box (because she has grown so big). All of the animals tumble out onto their heads. She sets the trial back up and proceeds. All of a sudden Alice seems much more like a girl with her toys, than a character in Wonderland. It is here that the fantasy is starting to break down.The King asks what Alice knows of this business and Alice replies: Nothing. After some confusion regarding this, the King called out: All Persons more than a mile high to leave the court! Alice stays anyway, and the jury is asked to consider its verdict.However, the White Rabbit finds more evidence in the form of a letter. The letter was written in verse, and in effect it proved that all of the tarts were right there before the king and that they had not been taken at all. At this point the Queen demands that they sentence the Knave first, then read the verdict, which Alice (who was quite larger by then) thoroughly denounced. This started a fight between Alice and the Queen. Then the whole pack of cards rose up and flew at Alice, who then awoke with her head in her sisters lap, the both of them sitting at the edge of the river, as they had been in the beginning of the book. Then Alice told her sister of the dream she had had.And this might well be the end of the book. But instead, Carroll pulls the camera back, so to speak, and we see Alice's sister alone on the river's edge thinking of Alice's dream of Wonderland. And Alice's sister imagines how Alice will one day be a woman, and that she will have children and be able to tell those children her tales of Wonderland.And so, Alice has come full circle. She started out a child, but she has come out of Wonderland now prepared to be an adult. She has learned that to be an adult is to honor rules, but not blindly. That there must be rules for a game to mean something, but the rules must be interpreted with a sense of justice and mercy, or they are as meaningless as no rules at all. More importantly, Alice has learned that to be old, or big, is not necessarily to be an Adult. Sometimes, like the Queen, aging leads to a second childhood filled with either the madness of the Hatter or the Sad Nostalgia of the Mock Turtle. Balance seems to be Lewis Carroll's answer to finding a happy lifeCharacter Profiles Alice: The young protagonist of the novel, Alice is based on Lewis Carroll's real-life friend, the young Alice Liddell, daughter of Carroll's boss. Alice, in the novel, is a girl struggling with adolescence and her transformation from an idle child to a conscientious adult.White Rabbit: The Rabbit is the through line of the novel. That is, he is the character that Alice follows, and he reappears to get things moving again. In a way, he is a sort of guide, though he is too worried about himself to really be guiding anyone.Dinah: Alice's cat. Dinah is very good at hunting and killing animals, a fact that Alice can't seem to keep to herself. This is most embarrassing when she is in the company of a great many animals who are horrified (rather than impressed) by the notion of a Cat Hunter.Little Bill: A little salamander.Mary Ann: The White Rabbit's maid. The Rabbit mistakes Alice for his maid at one point. Caterpillar: A wise guru who sits atop a large mushroom smoking mysterious things through an Arabic Hookah. The Caterpillar is meant to be a wise man who provides Alice with the means of control over her growth by way of a magic mushroom.Cheshire Cat: A smiling cat who can disappears and reappears at will. The Cheshire Cat is the ironic middle between adulthood and childhood. He reveals to Alice how, after you have mastered the rules (a skill which the Caterpillar basically teaches Alice) then rules can start to master you. He sends her forward to the Mad Hatter and then to the Queen as a lesson in what happens when the rules get out of hand: madness, a sort of childhood for adults.March Hare: A mad creature who takes tea all of the time because he lives in a state of frozen time.Mad Hatter: The leader of a perpetual tea time. Hatters were mad because they used mercury in the production of hats from fur. Handling mercury (a liquid metal which soaks into the skin quickly) will cause madness after long exposure.Doormouse: A mad creature who takes tea all of the time because he lives in a state of frozen time. He also sleeps a lot.Queen of Hearts: The mad tyrant who rules Wonderland. The Queen is best seen as an old person (an adult) who has lost sight of civility and so has become quite mad. In a sense, she is really an overgrown child who just happens to be old. The novel explains this by positioning her in opposition to Alice's youthful growth. As Alice is growing stronger and more reasonable, the Queen is degenerating into frailty and madness. As Alice becomes a fertile, red woman, the Queen wanes to become a pale, old matron.King of Hearts: The Queen's simpering husband.Alice's Sister: A reasonable adult, Alice's older sister is the one who, in the end, recognizes Alice's own adult-like qualities. Carroll closes with her adult interpretation of Wonderland so as to reinforce the sense that Alice has truly grown emotionally.

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