Reason and Purpose
I noticed at the end of ‘Alice’s adventures in Wonderland” Carroll gives, or seems to give, an explanation for some of the parts of Alice’s dream. Alice’s older sister gives insight to what could have been some of the characters or situations. “— The grass would only be rustling in the wind, and the pool rippling to the waves of the reeds-the teacups would change to the tinkling sheep-bells, and the Queen’s shrill cries to the voice of the shepherd-boy—and the sneeze of the baby; the shriek of the Gryphon, and all the other queer noises…While the lowing of the cattle could take place of the Mock Turtle’s heavy sobs.” This all, along with the leaves falling on her face and her imagining the cards throwing themselves at her. It’s funny that she says “Queer noises” and Alice has a ‘queer’ dream. Now that I have seen that, her dream doesn’t seem to odd. The strangeness of it all has its roots in her actual day-to-day life.
If Alice’s sister can imagine Wonderland from her explanations and the sounds surrounding them both, I wonder now if she had been the one to fall asleep, if she would have entered the same world. It may have had some differences, but their being related and in the same setting probably would have produced the much the safe effect. Of course, we must consider she is older and is likely to think more ‘rationaly’, in a dream it all seems rational until you awaken. It’s also curious that her sister attributes her dreaming about wonderland, which we find slightly disturbing in most cases, to be able to “make their [children’s] eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale…” Most of us would assume a child wouldn’t want to hear such a tale with a queen obsessed with beheading people. However, here seems to be the proof of it all. If Carroll wrote this intending it as a present to young Alice, couldn’t he, like Alice’s sister, have wanted to make her eyes “bright and eager with many a strange tale”? I think so. In his own story he gives us his purpose for writing this story, going beyond just wanting to give her a little present.