Alice in Wonderland
Dissolvation of Community in Carroll's Alice in Wonderland
" 'If everybody minded their own business,' the Duchess said, in a hoarse growl, 'the world would go round a deal faster than it does' " (Carroll 62).
Capricious and fanciful, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland depicts a place where communal rules and shared understandings have dissolved. Wonderland's inhabitants fail to form a community although they share a common space. Interpersonal relationships lack the mutuality that Alice is accustomed to, and individual trajectories do not seem to alter one another even as they intersect. As Richard Kelly argues, "Everyone is alone and isolated in Wonderland" (77). The "madness" that Alice perceives finds its roots in this pathological individualism; where personal freedom is carried to extremes on an interpersonal level, a pervasive arbitrariness materializes.
In contrast to the wise and helpful creatures prevalent in fairy tales and folklore, the inhabitants of Wonderland prove belligerent and self-righteous. Ironically, Alice is more correct than she realizes when she wonders if she "shall fall right through the earth . . . [to] The antipathies" (Carroll 21). As Alice subsequently observes,...
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