Alice in Wonderland

Alice's Existential Adventures in Wonderland

Jennifer Geer’s article “`All sorts of pitfalls and surprises’: Competing Views of Idealized Girlhood in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Books,” discusses at length the implications of Lewis Carroll’s novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, on the development of the child. Through this article Geer stresses that Victorian fairy tales, and specifically Alice’s nonsensical journey through wonderland “foster the happy, loving childhood that will enable her development into a good woman and mother”(2). Though it is beyond a doubt, true, that Alice is a children’s story, the article also explains that in terms of Alice’s adult readers, the novel simply shares “innocent amusement”(2). A close reading of Alice, however, shows that the novel is much more than a simple children’s story; it can appeal to an adult audience as well. Alice’s continued futile attempts to find meaning in wonderland’s meaningless world, her eventual encounter with the nothingness that wonderland is, and her final realization of her freedom at its conclusion mark Alice as a true existential hero and proves that Alice can be read by adults as an existential novel, one which provides a drastically different interpretation than simply an appreciation of the development of...

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