Posted by: Shannon L. | December 3, 2009

Everything Has a Moral Right?

A few weeks ago Mr. Long gave us an in-class essay. We had to pick a moral that the Duchess told Alice and write about how it relates to the meaning of Alice’s journey through Wonderland. But how do you write about morals if not everything the Duchess said had a moral?

I believe that Carroll put this Duchess in this story to represent all the adults who think everything has a moral. I think he is trying to tell us that even though a lot of adults try to make everything have a moral, not everything has one. The Duchess says to Alice,

“Every thing’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”

I have to disagree. Not everything has one, yes there are a lot that have one, but not everything. For example the Duchess tells Alice,

“flamingoes and mustard both bite. And the moral of that is-‘Birds of a feather flock together.'”

This makes no sense to me. What does that even mean, birds of a feather flock together? It sounds more like a riddle than a moral, to me. But there is one moral that the Duchess says, that does make sense, and it is:

“The game’s going on rather better now,-and the moral of that is-‘Oh, ’tis love, ’tis love, that makes the world go round!”

That is because without love nothing would matter.

Posted by: Shannon L. | December 3, 2009

Back to Reality

Throughout the story of Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, Alice goes through many changes, especially when it comes to her size. In chapter eleven Alice changes her size for the last time. This time instead of getting smaller or becoming abnormally large, she returns to her normal height. I reread the part where she grows in chapter eleven at least five times, and I can not figure out why Carroll made her grow in this chapter. Most people believe that this book represents drugs. So is Carroll using her change to represent drugs yet again?
Alice is sitting in the courtroom by the Dormouse, when she first notices that she is growing. Like I stated in my previous blog, Who’s the Dealer?, I believed that Lewis showed the different effects different drugs can have on people. I also said that Alice kept trying to change sizes because the garden was her addiction, and she was trying to fit through. If this growth she experiences in chapter eleven does exemplify the consequences of drugs, then maybe Carroll is showing what can happen if you stop using them. People who are addicted to drugs, their personalities and behaviors are always changing. Once off drugs most people regain consciousness back to their normal self. Like these people Alice was able to get back to her usual size. This was because she had made it into the garden and their was no use to drink or eat anything to make her grow or shrink. Because of this, Alice was able to change back to her normal size/self.
What do you think Carroll is showing by her change in size? Do you think that it represents drugs? Or do you think that it means something else?
Posted by: Shannon L. | December 3, 2009

What Road Will You Take?

This scene took place in chapter six between the Cheshire Cat and Alice. This is one of my favorite scenes in Alice in Wonderland. Before even reading this book, I remember Mr. Long always making little comments about this scene:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

I think he did that because its poses a great lesson in life, and makes your brain think. If you don’t no where to go in life, take any road and you will get somewhere. Now it might not be the place you wanted to get to, but that’s life, and things happen for a reason.

I believe that this is what Carroll is trying to tell us. But of course it’s Wonderland and he had to make it a little strange. I think that this also is a great example of how odd and quirky Wonderland truly is. Though I can’t help but wonder, why does Alice ask where to go if she has no idea where she is headed? I’m probably over thinking this, but I am just curious.

I think that this scene is the basis for Alice in Wonderland. What I mean by this is, Alice never knows where she is headed in Wonderland, not even before she gets to Wonderland.

Maybe Carroll put this in the story because the real Alice Liddell was only a child and didn’t know which road she was going to take, because she had no idea where she was headed in life. Maybe I over thought this, but something just makes me believe that this is what Carroll means by this passage.

Posted by: Shannon L. | December 3, 2009

Everyone is Mad

In chapter six Alice meets my favorite character, the Cheshire Cat.

One of my favorite scenes in this book is when the Cat and Alice have a conversation about them being mad. The Cat accuses Alice of being mad, and Alice replies by asking him why he thinks she this. He then tells her that, she must be mad for coming to Wonderland. He then accuses himself of being mad, as well.

Alice then precedes to ask the Cat how he knew he was mad, and he replied by saying,

“You see a dog wags it’s tail when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased and wag my tail when I’m angry. Therefore I’m mad.”

I find it interesting, because I don’t think there is anyone in Wonderland who is mad, besides the Queen. And even then I just think she is a little too much into torture.

Like I wrote in my previous blog, about the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, I think that Carroll wrote about the characters in Wonderland as being mad, because they aren’t what some people consider ‘normal’. But unlike the Hatter or the Hare, the Cat doesn’t do anything strange. Although he is body less, I think it’s just one more thing that makes him interesting. This leads me to wonder, how does Carroll come up with some of his characters? I think that Carroll’s mind is so odd and fascinating that it makes him the ‘mad’ one.

Even though I find this quirky, the Cat believes everyone is mad. I have become so used to all the strange things in Wonderland that nothing can seem too weird.

Posted by: Shannon L. | December 3, 2009

Life Changing Adventures

Alice said this to the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle in chapter ten. This is my favorite quote from Alice in Wonderland. I think that this quote can represent many things.

“I could tell you about my adventures-beginning from this morning, but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

It could represent Alice’s uses of drugs, and how each day she encountered a new drug, she became a different person. Carroll could have made Alice say this because he is trying to show that with each day Alice is becoming closer to finding her true self. This quote could also mean that Alice is growing up and each day she is becoming older and a little more different. Maybe Carroll could be trying to tell us through this quote that no one is ever the same person two days in a row. What I mean is, just because your happy one day doesn’t mean you are going to be happy the next.

I also think that by having Alice say this quote is means a lot more. Through the story Alice is the one character who we, the readers, witness change within. She goes from curious soft spoken Alice to still curious but loud Alice who is not afraid to speak her mind, or stand up for herself.

I don’t believe that there is just one right meaning to what Carroll meant by this quote, but it just depends what you think Alice’s adventures are based on. So my question for you is do you think that this quote represents her use of drugs, her coming closer to her true self, her growing up, or that no one is ever the same? Or do you think that there is another meaning to this quote?

Posted by: Shannon L. | December 3, 2009

I’m a Little Closterphobic

As most people know, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is not a true children’s book. It is full of politics and adult humor, although most children would never know. Nothing really struck me as being truly un-kid friendly, until I read the bottom of page 115.

Here a guinea pig was suppressed by an officer of the court. Then Carroll went on to explain in detail what happened. ‘They had a large canvas bag, which tied up at the mouth with strings: into this they slipped the guinea-pig, head first and then sat upon it.’

These were the words Carroll used to describe this event. Alice then talks about how she was glad she saw this because she never understood what the word suppressed meant. I believe that if Carroll didn’t put in detail what happened to the guinea pig, then it wouldn’t have been so bad. This is because most kids don’t know what suppressed means. Like Alice, I think that some kids might be curious about what this word means and either ask or look it up.

This suppressing of guinea pigs doesn’t just happen once, but twice. The suppressing of the guinea pigs seems very strange to me. I know that this is Wonderland and there have been a lot of weird things that has happened, but this is just too weird.

Maybe it is just because it grosses me out to think of something being smashed to death, but this is just too much and should have been left out.

Posted by: Brendon O-L. | December 3, 2009

Order in the Court!

In chapter 11 and 12, the Knave is put on trial for stealing the Queen’s tarts. This court does not follow ‘due process’ and all evidence given seems to be nonsense.

Carroll seems to be mocking our modern court system by comparing it to this unjust trial.

First off, the jurors wrote on their boards whatever was said in the court room whether it was important or not. They wrote down their names just in case they forgot them by the trial’s end.  They even wrote down “Stupid things!” when Alice said this line to criticize their lack of intelligence. Some of the jurors were so stupid that they were unable to write stupid.

The King, who is acting as the judge, does not know court procedure and on several occasions attempts to skip straight to the verdict. At one point in the trial, he scribbled his own rule that stated the following,

“All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.”

He made this rule in response to Alice’s growth to her original size that occurred in the courtroom. He should not even be allowed to be a judge, since is definitely not an impartial party. He allows the Queen to make any outburst or comment she wants. He would do anything she said no matter how outrageous it was.

None of the witnesses were sworn in from Carroll’s description and any evidence they presented did not pertain to the trial. Many of them went off on random tangents, but the worst part is that the court took these irrational and random pieces of information as justified pieces of evidence. Most of this evidence was just offered by the witnesses in order to appease the Queen and King, otherwise they would have been beheaded on the spot.

The King after hearing what he thought was all the evidence ordered the jury to consider their verdict, but suddenly the White Rabbit came forward with some new evidence. This new evidence was a letter allegedly written by the accused. This evidence seals his fate in the eyes of the Queen who began to give her infamous order to cut off his head. Alice immediately objects claiming it was irrelevant to the case.

The King had the rabbit read the letter out loud. The king finds meaning in this letter of meaningless because, as the Duchess said in chapter 9, there is always a moral or meaning as long as one can find it. After this, the Queen asked for the sentence first instead of the verdict since in her mind this was binding evidence that proved the Knave’s guilt. Alice again objected this nonsense. The Queen then ordered that her head be cut off.

Throughout these chapters, Carroll makes this trial appear to be all about ‘looks.’ He describes the King’s attire including the crown perched upon the King’s wig. The King attempts to make sure the court appears to follow due process and procedure. The White Rabbit blows a trumpet during the trial which makes the trial seem official. The King even puts the court on hold after Alice knocked off the jurors due to her relatively large size. The trial did not resume until Alice carefully put the jury back in their ‘proper’ places.

This leads me to conclude that Carroll is ridiculing our modern court system. He seem to be suggesting that our current system is helplessly flawed. He is right. Our juries are filled with idiots. Our system of justice is all about looks and appearances rather than a fair and just trial. We are a society that believes any tiny piece of hearsay or random tidbit is a valuable piece of evidence. Our opinions are swayed ever so easily and we give the death sentence all too often, just as the Queen does.

Our court system is horribly flawed just as Carroll described.

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.

Posted by: Shannon L. | December 3, 2009

Average Madness

Are the Mad Hatter and the March Hare crazy?

Chapter seven is when we are first introduced to the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Before reading this story, I always thought that these characters were mad, due to their names. Now, I think that the Mad Hatter and the March Hare are not crazy, but rather interesting. Most of the things that the Hatter and the Hare do are strange, like the Mad Hatter’s watch. His watch tells the date but not the time. When I think about it, I don’t find it that crazy because it is just like carrying a calendar.

This leads me to believe that the Mad Hatter and the March Hare are considered ‘mad’ because they aren’t normal. They do speak in confusing ways sometimes and may do some things out of the ordinary. To most people, trying to fix watches with butter or keeping time at six o’clock is very peculiar, but to them it is normal. It seems to me that Carrol gave the Mad Hatter his name because he is trying to trick us into believing they are.

I’m not saying that these characters are not odd and not the nicest characters, but that the words crazy and mad are not the right words, in my opinion, to describe them. So in your opinion, do you think that these two characters are ‘mad’? Or do you think that they are just two characters who are mis-portrayed as crazy because they are a little out of the ordinary?

Posted by: Shannon L. | December 3, 2009

Temptation

Before ‘The Alice Project’ started, every week Mr. Long would post about six blogs and we would have to comment on them. In week five of these blogs, Mr. Long posted one about temptation. This is what it said:

Can you imagine a truly great story that does not deal with ‘temptation’?

Joseph Campbell argues that facing ‘temptation’  is a fundamental part of hero development, regardless of story or situation.

  • It can mean wanting something so badly that one would be distracted from the real ‘adventure’.
  • Likewise, it can be the temptation to ‘leave’ the adventure entirely: out of fear, confusion, etc.

He then gave us the directions:

  • Discuss a moment in your life where you  faced ‘temptation’ significant enough that it could have distracted you from the larger goals you have/had in your life.
  • Whether you ignored the ‘temptation’ entirely or ‘fell’ to it momentarily (before dealing with the consequences), I’m curious what you learned — about yourself, the world, and temptation in general — through this.
  • Length:  7+ sentences.

Like usual, I went ahead and did my seven sentences about a temptation in my life. This was before we had started reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, so I did not think much about this blog. As I was reading the first few chapters of Alice in Wonderland, I noticed how many temptations she faced down in Wonderland. I then remembered about commenting on this blog a few weeks before. This made me wonder if Mr. Long wrote this blog because he knew that we would soon be reading about Alice and her temptations? Or if it was a just a coincidence?

Though there are many temptations Alice faces down in Wonderland, I believe that her biggest temptation she faces is when she sees the White Rabbit for the first time.

Alice’s first encounter of temptation in the story is when she first sees the White Rabbit. Alice is captivated by the rabbit because she has never seen a talking rabbit with pea coat and a pocket watch. She then gets up and follows the rabbit, who ends up going down a rabbit hole. She quickly follows the rabbit down the hole. This shows how strong her temptation toward the White Rabbit was. Without Alice being allured by the rabbit she most likely would have never fallen down the rabbit hole and there would be no adventures in wonderland.

Another major temptation that Alice faces is when she is trying to find the right size so she can get the key and fit through the garden. She then drinks the liquid, but as soon as she gets small she realizes she left the key on the table. This leads her to more temptations of eating cake. I think that this temptation distracts Alice from her real adventures, but is a key part in developing Alice as a character.

I also can not imagine “a truly great story that does not deal with ‘temptation,” as Mr. Long stated. I think that this story is a great example of this.

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