Don’t Enter a Land of Wonder Looking for Anything Except Things to Make You Wonder More
I was struck by a sudden thought while reading Gabriella’s entry, “Turning Wisdom on Its Head”, and some of the comments she received, that seems to me so very logical and obvious that I can’t believe I didn’t think about it before!
We have all been trying to analyze Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, regardless of having been told that this was originally written as a simple gift for a little girl. Now I see that we can analyze all we wish, maybe come up with some good ideas, opinions, or assumptions, but we can never really know for sure if that was what Carroll had intended for us to see. That is if he even intended for people outside the Liddell family to really understand anything.
First of, Wonderland is a place for wondering. Why on earth do we insist on finding logic and laws in a land for wonder? It’s completely illogical! When you wonder do you consider if what you are wondering is logical? Does it really matter if it is or not? No, because you are wondering and wondering is for processing thoughts and ideas and imagining. If you are wondering nothing you wonder has to make sense or follow laws, it’s just thoughts running about your mind like headless chickens.
For Wonderland to be logical and have reasonable characters would be contrary to its name. Nothing that happens has to make sense or even tie into anything else that happened. If you imagine a White Rabbit and then he becomes a big fat shark that lives on land then that’s perfectly fine! It’s what you wondered so it doesn’t have to follow any law or reason. It just is what it is because that is what you wondered. If anything makes sense then good for you, it’s a rare coincidence.
When you are curious about something you had learned such as…I don’t know, greek mythology for example. Do you think, “Oh, I am going to wonder about this in a logical manner and make sure it all makes sense.” Or do you think “Huh, I rather like that Pegasus creature. I would like to fly around on one.” and forget completely that Pegasus doesn’t exist (at least we don’t have evidence of one) as you wonder about what it would be like to fly around on the back of Pegasus.
Now, before I go off on a tangent and confuse you all with a ‘beat around the bush’ style of getting to my point, I will state it simply. We keep trying to find logic and reason and law in Wonderland. There isn’t any. There shouldn’t be, if there was it wouldn’t be a wonderland. We won’t find it. Unless you are considering the logic of the fact that there is no logic. All we can do in Wonderland is come upon places and people who will make us wonder more. That is why it is a land of wonder.
of course the idea of the story itself can be rationalized; such as Carroll’s intentions, and puns. We can observe symbolism and bring it to each other’s notice, and formulate opinions on what we read, but in the case of Wonderland itself – not Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but the place- we cannot rationalize anything for sure because we don’t know what was going on in Carroll’s mind.