Alice in Wonderland

The Role Of Nonsense In Alice In Wonderland

In Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, much of the sequence and dialogue seems chaotic and nonsensical, leaving the reader to interpret its meaning and purpose. Being that the entire story occurs within a dream, Carroll has the freedom to play with subconscious notions of existence, reality, and most pertinently, societal intercourse. Interaction plays a large part in the progression of the novel, and Alice’s prejudices and reactions demonstrate her own indoctrination concerning how that interaction should be carried out. She meets with several different characters, each with his or her own relative position in the “real world” (or “waking world”) who behave in ways disproportionate to their status. Consequently, through ridiculous monologues, insane characters, and chaotic situations, Carroll employs nonsense as a vehicle to expose the absurdity of the excessive reliance on order, conformity, and institutions inherent to society.

Throughout the majority of the novel, Alice exposes much of the absurdity in Wonderland. At other times, however, her own reactions betray hints of her own reliance on the niceties that society feels it necessary to maintain in an attempt to display order in even the simplest...

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