Stages of Mind
When I first saw Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland sitting among a stack of other school books over summer, I thought it had a lovely cover and didn’t think much about the content except that I had been terrified of the movie as a child. The next day I couldn’t help it and read the preface just to see what kind of book it would turn out to be. Then I got even more curious and flipped through the first couple of pages. When I saw the annotated notes along the sides I stopped reading.
Something about the notes bothered me.
Yes they were useful, yes they were insightful, yes they were the whole point of having the The Annotated Alice, but something about them just made me lose interest in the story. Similar to Alice; I couldn’t find anything interesting in a book without pictures or conversation. Which this one does have, but the ominous side notes seemed to kill all hope of finding anything entertaining within the pages. So it was with much uncertainty that I observed the approach of our trip down the rabbit hole.
I was nervous and disbelieving when Mr. Long first presented us with the book and the project. I thought he had just lost all sanity and decided to drag us down to the insane asylum with him. It was a completely foreign concept to me to take a children’s book and analyze it for a high school class, especially using a blog to do it.
We were told to read the first chapter of Alice. I read the first chapter, then the second,and then the third, then the fourth, and then I finally realized “Hey, maybe I should save some of the story for later,” and stopped reading. To say the least, I adored the story from the beginning. If it were possible I would have thrown myself down the rabbit hole after Alice in an instant.
As I continued to read, the story became more and more complex, and my ability to recognize places throughout the chapters that I could analyze for blog entries seemed to take over where my childlike curiosity had resided before. As much as I wanted to read simply for the joy of it, the pressure of analyzing and remembering key notes for possible quizzes over shadowed my desire to simply enjoy the story. Finally I found a healthy medium; reading the story through and through for fun, but quickly not to waste precious time, and then reread to analyze. Of course it was grudgingly that I had to force myself to read the notes that, although sometimes interesting, were usually the kinds of things I didn’t really care about while reading.
Now I have warmed up to them, and them to me. (I should like to think) I have gone back various times to reread the side notes now that I can appreciate them on an ‘analytical’ level and simply ‘more information’ level. Along with this new attempt to befriend my copy of The Annotated Alice I have become increasingly attached to my team’s blog. There is hardly ever an afternoon where I am not either on the blog or just scribbling notes in my book with ideas for more entries. All in all I would like to say that one cannot regret reading Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland or The Annotated Alice. Besides just having a good time, there are so may thing one can learn from the story and the annotated notes it seems a shame for anyone not to read it.