Alice in Wonderland

The Distinction of Children and Adults as Characters and Readers College

Lewis Carroll’s depiction of a fantasy world in the novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) captures the attention of the reader via the incorporation of talking animals, “curiouser and curiouser” (Carroll 2012 [1865], p.12) events and the mischievous child protagonist, Alice. Despite the fact the novel was initially created simply as a means of entertainment, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland contains complicated humor, philosophical messages, menippean satire and twisted logic, all of which may elude the average child reader. The various reading levels of this novel successfully reaffirm the distinction between child and adult, a concept which is eradicated throughout the narration of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Seven year old Alice finds herself in a distorted Wonderland inhabited by ‘adults’, each of whom do not promote realistic expectations. Despite their age, the adult characters are completely disconnected from reality and do not provide any logic, sanity or remedy to any of young Alice’s problems. The rational distinction between child and adult is blurred throughout due to the removal of what society would expect from adults – responsibility, sense and logic. This essay argues, however, that the ability to...

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