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So what s up with Wonderland? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: So

Sowhats up with Wonderland?
Lewis Carrolls
  • Alice In Wonderland

she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed
before, and behind it was a little door about
fifteen inches high she tried the little golden
key in the lock, and to her great delight, it
fitted! - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll (1832 1898)
Lewis Carroll is the pen name of
Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a minister
and math professor at Oxford University.
A story for Children.or NOT?
  • According to popular accounts, one afternoon in
    1862, Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) accompanied the
    Liddell family on a boat ride. When Alice Liddell
    asked him for a story, he began one - not just a
    childrens story, but a tale told on multiple
    levels.? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

  • Approaches serious issues, political problems or
    social customs
  • Draws attention to the situation, using humor,
    irony exaggeration
  • Often uses imaginative characters
  • Verbally caricatures prominent public figures
  • Appears nonsensical, but has serious undertones

Caricature - a visual form of Satire
  • This is a caricature of Lewis Carroll
    exaggerating his most prominent features.
  • Satire is a verbal form that accomplishes
    essentially the same effect.
  • Lewis Carroll was a master of satire.

  • Nursery Rhymes are another form of satire.
    Humpty Dumpty, for instance, was written about
    a cannon used during the English Civil War, in
    the 1600s. When the cannon fell off the wall,
    neither infantry nor cavalry could repair it.
  • In Through the Looking Glass, Carrolls sequel
    to Alice in Wonderland, Humpty Dumpty banters
    about language and labelsrepresenting propriety
    and class segregation in Victorian society.
  • Some say this character represents the Oxford
    Don, a high-ranking University official.

Through an innocuous fantasy tale, Carroll
  • Insanity
  • British Empire
  • Oxford professors
  • Noted societal figures
  • Class division repression
  • Philosophy popularly-held beliefs
  • Victorian customs and etiquette
  • Aggression and colonization
  • Public education system
  • The justice system
  • Social snobs
  • Drugs

  • During Queen Victorias reign, Britain
    controlled 25 of the world. (areas in pink)
  • This created unique issues and superior
    attitudes among the British.
  • Many critics believe that the aggressive
    characters in Alice in Wonderland satirize the
    aggression of Imperialism and the inequities of
    the class structure in Victorian Society.

The Gryphon
The Red Queen
The Duchess And her baby
The Mock Turtle
The Mad Hatter
The Dormouse
The White Rabbit
Im late -Im late!
Possibly another Caricature of Liddell?
Caricature of Liddell
  • Dodgsons supervisor at Oxford was Dean Henry
    Liddell, the head of the college of Mathematics.
    Liddell had a habit of being late for classes and
    meetingsand hurried everywhere. The white rabbit
    is probably modeled after him.
  • Liddell also had three young daughters, whom
    Dodgson often entertained with stories Lorina,
    Edith, and of courseAlice!

God Save the Queen
  • Victoria was a popular queen, but also
    formidable, eccentric and a bit stuffy. While her
    shrewdness was politically effective, she was
    easy to caricatureand some say she was the model
    for the Red Queen.
  • Others say the Red Queen is based on the
    Liddells governess.

The Caucus Race
  • The character of the Dodo, an extinct bird, is
    considered to be Dodgsons self-deprecating
    satire of himself, making fun of his own habit of
    stuttering. Notice that the bird has hands under
    his wings.
  • The caucus race was a reference to political
    party organization (or lack of it) during a
    primary election. The story includes a caucus
    race where there is a lot of running around in
    circles and there is no clear winner.
  • Sound familiar?

Social Conventions
  • Afternoon Tea was a social MUST for upper class
    British citizens it was synonymous with polite
    society and proper civilized behavior.
  • Ironically, the snobbery that became associated
    with tea was anything but polite or civilized.
    One could say and do perfectly beastly things at
    teaas long as ones manners were intact.
  • Carroll draws attention to the hypocrisy of tea
    parties by filling his table with beastly
    characters who are quite madincluding the
    March Hare and the Mad Hatter.

A Mad Tea Party
  • While fanciful characters and their antics were
    entertaining to children, they were more
    entertaining to the adults who recognized them.
    The Mad Hatter, for instance, was based on a
    local inventor named Theophilus Carter, who was
    known for his formal attire and unsuccessful
  • Some say the name is a spin on mad as an
    adder, referring to the snake
  • It is also believed to be a commentary on hat
    makers use of silver nitrite for stretching the
    felt used in mens top hats. The substance
    contained mercury, and was known to cause blood
    poisoning and delusional behavior.

The Dormouse
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a Pre-Raphaelite painter
    and a good friend of Dodgsons, had a pet wombat
    who often slept on his table. Dormouse means
    dormant or sleeping mouse.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Dormouse does not
    say feed your headas indicated in the
    Jefferson Starship song, Go Ask Alice.
  • When the dormouse falls asleep at tea, the Mad
    Hatter the March Hare stuff him into the
    teapot. Some say this is a commentary on the
    repression of the lower classes.

Verbal Visual Wit
  • Much of the humor in Alice is derived from
    foolish social conventions and customs. The Mock
    Turtle and the Gryphon mock the false
    appearances and false manners in Victorian
  • Mock Turtle Soup was considered a culinary
    delicacy, made with calfs parts. The Mock
    Turtle has a calfs head and feet. He refers to
    his former teacher as a tortoise, because, as he
    says he taught us.
  • Some say the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle
    represent Dodgsons two younger brothers.

The Game Motif
  • Games require a set of rules, but Wonderland
    seems to have none. This is especially
    frustrating for Alice.
  • Carroll uses chess, cards, and croquet to show
    levels of nonsense in society.
  • Games are often used in literature as a metaphor
    for trying to learn how the world works.
  • The queen insists on a game of croquet using
    flamingoes as mallets and hedgehogs
  • This is probably a comment on the exploitation of
    the lower classes for the amusement of the

The Walrus and the Carpenter
  • The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of
    many thingsof sails and ships and sealing wax,
    of cabbages and kingsand why the sea is boiling
    hot, and whether pigs have wings.
  • Some critics believe the debate between these two
    represents Eastern vs. Western philosophies.
  • Some suggest that the walrus is Buddha and that
    the carpenter is Jesus.and that the common
    people are the oysters, to be converted to one or
    the other at the convenience of a superior

Opium and altered states
  • There are several references in Alice to
    mind-altering substances, including
  • the drink me label on a bottle which makes
    Alice shrink
  • a piece of cake that makes Alice grow huge
  • a mushroom that also changes her size
  • a caterpillar who smokes a hookah
  • and a baby that turns into a pig.
  • Each of these instances may be indicate the
    influence of opium, which was legal and commonly
    used in many households. Its health effects had
    not been publicized.
  • Dodgson used laudanum (an opium-based medication)

Drink Me
A Little Bill
  • Benjamin Disraeli was Queen Victorias prime
    minister in the 1860s, the founder of the modern
    conservative party and a supporter of the Reform
  • In the book, the White Rabbit sends in a bill
    during a trial, carried by a lizard character.
    Bill the Lizard is believed to represent
    Disraeli and his reform bill.
  • Disraeli was a prominent social and literary
    figure, and Dodgson (Carroll) admired his wit.
  • The trial of the Knave of Hearts also satirizes
    the British court system.

Curioser and Curioser
  • The Cheshire cats grin is always visible, even
    when the cat itself disappears. The cat probably
    represents the falseness of appearances and the
    insincerity sometimes required in society.
  • Carroll may have incorporated this character
    based on a cat face carved on a church, or
  • The Cheshire cheese company, who used a cheese
    makers mold resembling a smiling cat.
  • Alices conversations with the cat establish
    that Wonderland is a place where madness is

Social Theory
  • Many aristocrats believed that the British, as a
    superior and dominant society, had the right and
    the responsibility to treat the inferior
    inhabitants of their conquered territories as if
    they were children incapable of taking care of
    themselves, by Western standards.
  • When Alice, a child, takes the Duchess baby, it
    turns into a pig...not a child at all.
  • This may suggest Carrolls belief that the
    conquered cultures were quite capable of taking
    care of themselves, with or without the
    interference of the Empire.

  • The first edition of Alice was published in
    1865, with black white illustrations by
    political cartoonist John Tenniel. (left)
  • Later editions included illustrations by Arthur
    Rackham, a popular illustrator of childrens
    fantasy books of the late Victorian era (right)

British poet and literary critic W.H. Auden
believed that the book set out to show the
struggle of children to understand an adult world
where rules and established order often made no
sense. He also implies that Alice is the only
character in the book who has any self-control or
follows her own path. At the end of the book,
the White Knight bids farewell to Alice. This may
symbolize Dodgsons acknowledgement that Alice
has grown up, as a result of her experiences.
British poet and literary critic W.H. Auden later
suggested that Carrolls book shows the struggle
of adolescents to adjust to an adult world where
rules and established order often seemed
senseless. He also implies that Alice is the only
character in the book who has any self-control or
follows her own conscience. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? At the end of the book, the White Knight bids
farewell to Alice. This may symbolize Dodgsons
acknowledgement that Alice has grown up, as a
result of her experiences.
Great Information Sources for Alice in Wonderland
The Victorian Web http//
uthors/carroll/index.html Carroll
Forums http// The
Lewis Carroll Homepage http//www.lewiscarroll.or
g/carroll.html Lennys Alice in Wonderland
Site http// Looking
for Lewis Carroll http//