The Picture of Alice Liddell

Posted On November 14, 2009

Filed under Meighan A.

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It happened by chance that I was reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and noticed a similarity between Basil and Dorian Gray, and Carroll and Alice Liddell.

It is after Basil has painted the magnificent portrait of Dorian that Dorian says to Basil,“I believe you would, Basil. You like your art better than your friends. I am no more to you than a green bronze figure. Hardly as much, I say.”  “Yes,” he continued, “I am less to you than your ivory Hermes or your silver faun. You will like them always. How long will you like me? Till I have my first wrinkle, I suppose…”

He is angered that he will have to age and his portrait will not, he wishes for his youth to stay always. Dorian honestly believes that Basil will only care for him as long as he can have him as a perfect subject for his art. That once he has changed he will not be useful, and there for not cared for.

With Alice, it seems Carroll may have known Alice would only be precious to him as long as she didn’t change. He wrote her story as a present, true, but it seems also a way of capturing her forever as she was, and making her youth immortal. That way when she had changed and grown and he couldn’t recognize her as his little Alice, he could always find her in the pages of his story.

Alice was Carroll’s work of art, as Dorian was Basil’s. Except instead of painting portraits, he simply wrote her portrait. Carroll’s photography was also a way of immortalizing his friends forever, so when they did change he wouldn’t have to lose them.

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