Through the Looking Glass

You See?: Fandom, Audiences, and Expression in 'Alice in Wonderland' College

When you think of Alice in Wonderland, what do you think of? Maybe a small girl, with her imagination running free during a nap outside. Maybe a girl tripping on acid or another hallucinogenic drug. Or perhaps, when you imagine Alice in Wonderland, you imagine a clinically insane youth escaping to or trapped in the world she created for herself. Most adults seem to imagine the latter two scenarios. "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll is a poem featured in his book Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There that showcases particularly well the ‘nonsense’ language of Carroll’s writings for the young Alice Liddell. Because of this wacky and nontraditional language, many educated adults don’t understand "Jabberwocky" or Carroll’s other works fully, calling them nonsense or attributing them to drug use or insanity by either the author, the character, or both. One theory is that "Jabberwocky" utilizes language that many adults have forgotten how to, or been educated not to, understand.

First, let us examine the target audience of various Alice in Wonderland versions, including the original. Most fan works go one of three ways— imagination, insanity, or psychedelic. Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (1951) goes the imagination...

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