The Books Guide

Books from libraries and publishers worldwide

02
Jul

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland was written by Lewis Carroll, the pseudonym of Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and published in 1865. Over the years, the novel became one of the most loved and enduring children`s fantasies in English literature. In addition, it is considered a remarkable example of the literary nonsense and fantasy genre.

Carroll suffered from physical deformities, partial deafness and irrepressible stammer, but he was able to create a masterpiece because of his wide imagination and his unique manner to understand children`s mind. The author felt reserved around adults, but animated and inspired around children. As a consequence, he had many children friends to whom he was telling his complicated nonsensical stories.

The inspiration for Alice is Alice Liddell, a girl Carroll appreciated very much, but their friendship was source of many speculations. Still, there is no evidence that Carroll adopted inappropriate behavior with his children-friends.

Plot summary
The story is about Alice, a girl who arrives in Wonderland, a fantasy world populated by strange anthropomorphic creatures.

Following the White Rabbit into a hole, bored Alice enters a fantasy world where everything seems to be possible. After the fall, she arrives to a hall with many locked doors. A bottled with the “Drink me” message makes her shrink, while the “Eat me” cake makes her grow a lot. Unhappy, she starts crying and her tears produce a flood. Alice shrinks again and starts swimming through her own tears where she meets a Mouse. Many animals and birds start crowding the sea of tears as they were taken by the flood. Wondering how to get dry, a Dodo comes with the idea of a Caucus-Race, meaning everybody should run in circle without any winner, but all animals run away when Alice talks about her cat.

The White Rabbit appears again, this time looking for the Duchess`s gloves and fan. He mistakes Alice for his maidservant and makes her enter the house to bring him these two items. Once entered the house, Alice starts growing huge producing horror for the Rabbit and other animals, but she manages to reduce her size once again.

More adventures happen. Alice meets a blue Caterpillar smoking a hookah sitting on a mushroom, changes sizes again, meets the Duchess, attends a mad tea-party and a croquet game, meets the Queen and so on. There are much more events full of fantastic characters and turnovers that create a magical world of nonsense.

In the end, Alice is about to be killed by the Queen`s order, but she wakes up near her sister, the same place where she was at the beginning of the story.

Themes and style
Alice in Wonderland includes a lot of symbols, as well as a set of illustrations made by the author. The major themes are the inevitable loss of childhood innocence and life seen as a meaningless puzzle.

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