Posted by: Shannon L. | December 3, 2009

Coming of Age

What is Carroll trying to express to us in his story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?

I have heard many answers to this question through discussions and I have written about what I thought he was trying to convey through Alice, the effects of drugs. What if it has nothing to do with drugs, and is really showing Alice grow from a child to an adult? I personally don’t think any one is right or wrong, when it comes to what they think this book represents. This is because no one knows the true meaning of this book, besides Carroll.

So as I was saying, I have heard many theories of what this book means, and a very common one is Carroll is showing Alice grow from child to an adult. This makes a lot of sense to me and I can understand why people think this.

In the beginning Alice is shown as a little girl. Most children are very curious and that is what we see. She immediately follows the White Rabbit down the hole because she has never seen anything like it and is very curious. This ends up getting her stuck in a room full of doors.When most children want something and they can’t get to it, they cry and complain. This lasts until they have received what they wanted or they just can’t cry any more.

Well, the exact same thing happens to Alice. All she can think about is getting through the small door that leads to a beautiful garden. Of course Alice is too big to fit through the door, so she drinks the bottle of liquid. This makes her grow small enough to get through the door, but she then realizes she can’t reach the key. Alice soon starts to lose control after she eats the cake because she is now too big and starts to cry. She then cries until she can’t cry anymore and starts to swim in her own pool of tears. From this point Alice starts maturing into a young adult.

She is no longer as shy as she was when she first met the Lory, the Dodo, and the mouse. Alice begins to stand up for herself. We first see this when she meets the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. When both the Mad Hatter and the March Hare saw Alice coming towards the table they shouted “No Room, No Room!” Alice didn’t care, she sat down and then preceded to tell them, “There’s plenty of room.” Another time Alice stands up for herself is when the Queen tells the guards, “Off with her head!” Alice then loudly said “Nonsense!”

By the end of the story she has gone from curious, crying, and shy Alice to a still curious but confident Alice who is able to stand up for herself Alice, like most adults.


  1. I think that you have identified many of the moments where Alice does transition within the book. I would like to know more about the symbolic events in “real life” that they would represent, but I think that this is one of your strongest posts.

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