Alice Adventure in Wonderland is a classical children novel. The writer was an English author and scholar, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson who used the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It was first published in 1865. Lost and abandoned, the main protagonist, Alice goes through a number of situations as she wanders about and it is this compilation that builds the story of the adventure of Alice in Wonderland. Little doubts that the book covers areas such as fear, courage, friendship, curiosity, the innocence of children, abandonment, and identity. Through curiosity and bravery, Alice was able to overcome her fear and discover her potentials in Wonderland.
Alice Adventure in Wonderland is one of Charles Lutwidge’s finest books. It is for this reason that it has received a lot of acclamation and reviews from readers and critics. It is also one of the most popular English Language fictions that have a significant impact on lots of narratives, literature, and popular culture. It teaches about bravery, how to overcome fear, and how to turn negative situations into positivism. The book is exciting and shows a lot of things that can enable children to become intelligent and bold.
It is structured in short chapters featuring Alice’s adventures. This book has interesting characters, such as the Queen of Hearts, White Rabbit, a Cheshire Cat, etc. It also features interesting events, mysteries, and locations such as the mad tea party, pool of tears, rabbit hole, croquet ground, caucus race, and even the mock turtle soup. The author may have carefully selected these characters and scenes that normally attract children no matter their origin.
Alice sits on a riverbank on a warm summer day, drowsily reading over her sister’s shoulder, when she catches sight of a White Rabbit in a waistcoat running by her. The White Rabbit pulls out a pocket watch, exclaims that he is late, and pops down a rabbit hole. Alice follows the White Rabbit down the hole and comes upon a great hallway lined with doors. She finds a small door that she opens using a key she discovers on a nearby table. Through the door, she sees a beautiful garden, and Alice begins to cry when she realizes she cannot fit through the door. She finds a bottle marked “DRINK ME” and downs the contents. She shrinks down to the right size to enter the door but cannot enter since she has left the key on the tabletop above her head. Alice discovers a cake marked “EAT ME” which causes her to grow to an inordinately large height. Still unable to enter the garden, Alice begins to cry again, and her giant tears form a pool at her feet. As she cries, Alice shrinks and falls into the pool of tears. The pool of tears becomes a sea, and as she treads water she meets a Mouse. The Mouse accompanies Alice to shore, where a number of animals stand gathered on a bank. After a “Caucus Race,” Alice scares the animals away with tales of her cat, Dinah, and finds herself alone again.
Alice meets the White Rabbit again, who mistakes her for a servant and sends her off to fetch his things. While in the White Rabbit’s house, Alice drinks an unmarked bottle of liquid and grows to the size of the room. The White Rabbit returns to his house, fuming at the now-giant Alice, but she swats him and his servants away with her giant hand. The animals outside try to get her out of the house by throwing rocks at her, which inexplicably transform into cakes when they land in the house. Alice eats one of the cakes, which causes her to shrink to a small size. She wanders off into the forest, where she meets a Caterpillar sitting on a mushroom and smoking a hookah (i.e., a water pipe). The Caterpillar and Alice get into an argument, but before the Caterpillar crawls away in disgust, he tells Alice that different parts of the mushroom will make her grow or shrink. Alice tastes a part of the mushroom, and her neck stretches above the trees. A pigeon sees her and attacks, deeming her a serpent hungry for pigeon eggs.
Alice eats another part of the mushroom and shrinks down to a normal height. She wanders until she comes across the house of the Duchess. She enters and finds the Duchess, who is nursing a squealing baby, as well as a grinning Cheshire Cat, and a Cook who tosses massive amounts of pepper into a cauldron of soup. The Duchess behaves rudely to Alice and then departs to prepare for a croquet game with the Queen. As she leaves, the Duchess hands Alice the baby, which Alice discovers is a pig. Alice lets the pig go and reenters the forest, where she meets the Cheshire Cat again. The Cheshire Cat explains to Alice that everyone in Wonderland is mad, including Alice herself. The Cheshire Cat gives directions to the March Hare’s house and fades away to nothing but a floating grin.
Alice travels to the March Hare’s house to find the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and the Dormouse having tea together. Treated rudely by all three, Alice stands by the tea party, uninvited. She learns that they have wronged Time and are trapped in perpetual tea-time. After a final discourtesy, Alice leaves and journeys through the forest. She finds a tree with a door in its side and travels through it to find herself back in the great hall. She takes the key and uses the mushroom to shrink down and enter the garden.
After saving several gardeners from the temper of the Queen of Hearts, Alice joins the Queen in a strange game of croquet. The croquet ground is hilly, the mallets and balls are live flamingos and hedgehogs, and the Queen tears about, frantically calling for the other player’s executions. Amidst this madness, Alice bumps into the Cheshire Cat again, who asks her how she is doing. The King of Hearts interrupts their conversation and attempts to bully the Cheshire Cat, who impudently dismisses the King. The King takes offense and arranges for the Cheshire Cat’s execution, but since the Cheshire Cat is now only a head floating in midair, no one can agree on how to behead it.
The Duchess approaches Alice and attempts to befriend her, but the Duchess makes Alice feel uneasy. The Queen of Hearts chases the Duchess off and tells Alice that she must visit the Mock Turtle to hear his story. The Queen of Hearts sends Alice with the Gryphon as her escort to meet the Mock Turtle. Alice shares her strange experiences with the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon, who listen sympathetically and comment on the strangeness of her adventures. After listening to the Mock Turtle’s story, they hear an announcement that a trial is about to begin, and the Gryphon brings Alice back to the croquet ground.
The Knave of Hearts stands trial for stealing the Queen’s tarts. The King of Hearts leads the proceedings, and various witnesses approach the stand to give evidence. The Mad Hatter and the Cook both give their testimony, but none of it makes any sense. The White Rabbit, acting as a herald, calls Alice to the witness stand. The King goes nowhere with his line of questioning but takes encouragement when the White Rabbit provides new evidence in the form of a letter written by the Knave. The letter turns out to be a poem, which the King interprets as an admission of guilt on the part of the Knave. Alice believes the note to be nonsense and protests the King’s interpretation. The Queen becomes furious with Alice and orders her beheading, but Alice grows to a huge size and knocks over the Queen’s army of playing cards.
All of a sudden, Alice finds herself awake on her sister’s lap, back at the riverbank. She tells her sister about her dream and goes inside for tea as her sister ponders Alice’s adventures.
Growing up and loss of innocence
One of the most obvious themes in Alice Adventure in Wonderland is the theme of growing up. Lewis Carroll uses free-minded, little innocent children as they are even in real-world to develop his narratives. There are ample lessons that one can learn from the book, especially the children. The theme of Growing up / Loss of Childhood innocence describes how little children struggle to survive in an unjust and confusing world dominated by adults. The world is unfair and confusing because of the bad habits, selfish nature, and insincerity exhibited by adults by whom children are supposed to emulate. In the book, Alice survives and overcome the challenges due to her open mindset and her child characteristic.
Adults in the world create unfair rules, but most often, these rules and their negative lifestyle of adults greatly affects children. Children are exposed to negative experiences that shape who they eventually become. This means if adults are role models, then children would become responsible adult citizens. Negative attributes of adults have the potential to affect children’s mental and physical health. Children need stable and safe upbringing/experiences; they need adequate nutrition, proper education, and responsive adults around them. Unfortunately, most often, this is not the case. This may explain why a lot of children become wayward due to the abuses they face thus losing their innocence as they grow up. However, in this novel, children can learn to be brave, open-minded, make informed decisions, and discern right from wrong just like Alice.
Alice experiences a lot of arbitrary and incomprehensible circumstances in the Wonderland that threatens to take away her innocence. However, she navigates through the perilous and unfortunate events that she experiences. It is an example that teaches children to be strong even in the face of adversity and unjust society.
Loneliness and abandonment
One of the themes that can impact so much on the lives of children is the theme of loneliness and abandonment. Parents and guardians are so occupied in the busy world today that they most often abandon their children. Abandonment and loneliness have a lot of negative effects on a child’s physical and mental development. There are a lot of distractions and activities in recent times compared to some decades ago. The internet has brought about a lot of information to consume, and a lot of things to do. Furthermore, we are distracted by work, school, or other forms of activities. All these lead to children’s abandonment.
Abandonment is depicted in Alice Adventure in Wonderland when she has no one to interact with and so gets into trouble. She falls into the rabbit-hole and goes astray into Neverland. Children are born with some basic needs, especially emotional needs that parents have to provide and tender. Children’s emotional needs must be met to enable them to develop properly and thrive well. Comprehending the enormity of neglect in children is very difficult when we abandon them. They could suffer from grief, anger, anxiety, improper mentality, lack of proper physical development, and they could go into substance abuse. Sometimes, such children may not do well in their education. Fortunately, the theme of abandonment in Alice Adventure in Wonderland has a lot of useful lessons for children to copy.
Alice gets lost due to abandonment and is more confused on arrival at Never-land. She cannot remember her recitations anymore; neither can she remember her arithmetic skills again. She is trapped in solitude. Fortunately, she navigates her way around the situation and eventually becomes a heroine.
The importance of one’s identity cannot be overemphasized. The biggest organizations and businesses that are thriving are those with an identity. The greatest nations are those that know their identity and values. Identity is who an individual is, what an organization or a nation is/represents. People would only define you by what you are. How we define ourselves is a representation of our interest, relationships, culture, and efficacy in the way we do things that are important to us. If we believe a company stands for good values and has a well-defined identity, then we are likely to buy their products and services. If we believe a nation represents good values, then we are more likely to visit or immigrate. Nearly 70% of people would prefer to patronize organizations that have a distinct identity, and without a clear identity, an individual or organization would be lost. If you have a clear identity, then you are more likely to draw intelligent people around you; organizations can also attract top talent with a good identity. It is estimated that globally, 75% of people would do the right thing if they trust the identity of the organization. This means they would be more productive and stick around.
In the novel, Alice got lost and got further lost/confused when she could not define her identity anymore. She couldn’t recite her poems; neither did she remember her arithmetic. But somehow she navigated her away around the unfortunate situation which serves big lessons for children today. Identity helps fends off social insecurities, boosts self-esteem, and improves confidence. This theme is emphasizing the importance of helping our children to know who they are. Once we can build self-confidence into our kids, they will be proud of their identity and never compromise.
The theme of fear is a major theme in Alice Adventure in Wonderland. Denizens fear death and the unfair justice system that prevails in Never-land. This causes timidity in most of the characters in the novel. Alice always finds herself in unpleasant situations that risk her life. However, these fears do not manifest because of her bravery. There are also lots of rules to be afraid of in Wonderland, but they seem a parody of the real justice system. She takes a risk in other to survive and also to save the inhabitants of Never-land. Alice never considers death as a possible outcome, even though it was always lurking around. As time passes, Alice is able to realize that her experiences are not as threatening, so she overcomes her fears. It is only when Alice overcomes her fears that she reaches her full potential.
The theme of fear portrays the unfair justice systems in the world today and has a lot of useful lessons for children. Fear has a lot of negative implications in children, and it is very important not to expose children to negative situations. Situations such as torment, violence, or sexual abuse, and lots more can have a lifelong impact on a child.
Alice Adventures in Wonderland is a classical children fiction, and adventure novel that is a must-read for children because of its profound lessons.
In 2016 the very first edition of Alice Adventure in Wonderland was meant to be discarded as waste went on auction. It sold for $3 Million, making it the most expensive waste paper that ever existed. The book keeps on selling thousands of copies every year despite been written more than 150 years ago. Today it is translated in more than 170 languages.