After writing my blog Picturing Wonderland, I thought it would be a good idea to create a presentation showcasing the different images readers have created for this story. The pictures I gathered are from the 1951 animated Alice in Wonderland, the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland coming out in 2010, and the original illustrations by John Tenniel. By looking at these you can see the fun, cartoon way Wonderland is depicted in the 1951 version, the scary and dark Wonderland from Tim Burton’s mind, and the realistic human version drawn by John Tenniel.
The Prezi presentation I made can be found here.
If you are unfamiliar with Prezi, it’s quite simple.
- Once you enter my Prezi presentation, just click the ‘forward’ arrow (on the bottom right of the screen) to move to the next “slide” and the back arrow to move to the previous “slide”.
- Once on a “slide” click the screen and drag around to see the various pictures surrounding the main one.
- Click the circular button and the entire presentation will be shown as a sort of “map” click on a specific picture and it will zoom in on it.
At the end of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice’s sister is sitting there imagining Wonderland.
I was trying to picture what she was picturing when I realized all that came to mind was the pictures from all the movies I’ve seen. I’m sure her sister pictured Wonderland completely different than Alice did. And I’m sure Alice Liddell pictured Wonderland different than Lewis Carroll did. And its obvious that the director of the 1951 movie version of Alice in Wonderland pictured it differently than Tim Burton did for the 2010 version. But many readers don’t get the opportunity to envision Wonderland like they want to because they already have a picture in their head from movies and drawing they’ve seen.
Have movies and drawings ruined our vision of Wonderland?
You know how when you watch a movie based on a book you can never read the book again without picturing the actors in the movie? (the Harry Potter movies ruined Harry Potter for me) Well I was just thinking about how maybe watching the Alice in Wonderland movies before reading the book stopped me from being able to picture Wonderland like I want to picture it. Like the caterpillar, I definitely pictured him blue because of the cartoon caterpillar I saw in the movie, but Lewis Carroll never said he was blue. Wonderland is a dream world, so it should be invisioned differently by everybody. But by producing movies and pictures that depict Wonderland a specific way people can’t help put picture Wonderland the way directors and artists want them to.
With all this media depicting Wonderland THEY want it to be depicted, do we lose the way Carroll wanted it to be imagine. I mean, maybe Carroll wanted it to be different for everybody. But here we are creating this widely used picture of Wonderland so that nobody can imagine it the way they want. Do we compromise the uniqueness of Wonderland by drawing out pictures of it? I know I would’ve loved to have been able to picture Wonderland my own way, without the influence of movies and drawings sticking pre-made images in my head.
At the end of chapter twelve, the end of Alice Adventures in Wonderland, readers take a look at Alice’s sister as she tries to picture the world her little sister had just visited. She imagines the Rabbit, the Mouse, the tea party, The Queen, the Duchess, the Lizard, the Gryphon, the Mock Turtle, all these characters that her sister had dreamed up. But, as she drifts farther into this dream world she is still able to hold on to reality, unlike Alice. She knows that when she opens her eyes “all would change to dull reality” and everything she imagined would be transformed back to the things that surround her in the real world. This ability to keep in touch with a sense of reality is what differentiates children and adults, the innocent and the experienced. Children have this way of believing the impossible, of absorbing their dreams and thinking of them as real. Adults, well most of them at least, cannot let go of reality long enough to let their dreams become more than a dream but a whole other world. It’s like adults reach this dead end or road block with a huge sign saying “Turn around and return to reality.”
But when is this road block built?
Is it when an individual gains so much responsibility that they cannot afford to let go of reality? Is it when a person becomes so educated that they know their dream world cannot be real? Or is it that children in a way have a longer attention span when comes to their dreams? As if adults become to distracted by the real world to really become absorbed in their dreams. I know I find myself thinking of impossible things but then all of a sudden I’m distracted by something like the slamming of a car door or my mom yelling at me to do the dishes. Children on the other hand become so absorbed in their dreams that they are not fazed by the distractions of the real world. Have you ever watched a little kid watch T.V.? You practically have to shake them or turn of the t.v to get them back to reality and then they come out of their little dream world that their t.v shows take them to. What is it that allows children to become so absorbed in dream worlds? Why can’t adults allow themselves to just take a break from reality and have a nice little tea party with some eccentric characters?
Is Wonderland as strange as we make it out to be? I mean putting aside the talking animals and the long fall down a rabbit hole, what is so strange about Wonderland that makes it worthy of all this talk and discussion? I mean, there are plenty of fictional stories that have talking animals and strange happenings. Look at Dr. Seuss, you don’t see people going and analyzing his books and his writing is just as witty and confusing as Lewis Carroll’s…and it rhymes!
When I started this book I really did expect more. Here is this book that is referenced over and over again in present-day media and language, has had two movies made based on it – about to be three, and has been analyzed thoroughly by teachers, students, professionals, and nobodies. And yet, I feel as if it’s not as great as it should be, as if there’s a chapter (or 10) that got lost from my copy of the book in some printing mishap. Am I the only one disappointed by this story? It’s not even that “I’m so disappointed because the ending wasn’t as good as it should’ve been.” kind of disappointed. The ending was fine, exactly that, fine. But I just feel as if there’s more to the story, that there’s something I’m not getting because I don’t see the spectacular nature of the story that everyone else is so obsessed with.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love the story, I watched the movie this morning. I have been meaning to read this story for a while now and I was so excited to read it because I thought there would be hidden meaning after hidden meaning that I never knew existed, then I finished it and was left with this feeling of, “That’s it?” I don’t know if it’s because I thought the hidden meanings would be more hidden, or more meaningful, or if maybe reading the annotated version didn’t allow me to discover these meanings on my own. Maybe if I had read the original copy first and then read the annotated copy I would have been more satisfied. Then, I would have been able to make my own discoveries, formulate my own opinions, without the influence of analysts who got to read the original copy themselves. I think that’s it. So, if you have yet to read the story – read the original copy first. Since that is the way it was intended to be read, it’s only fair to Lewis Carroll that first time readers don’t have the experience ruined by the annotations of analysts.
On page 111 in chapter eleven of Annotated Alice, Alice calls the jurors stupid because they are writing their names down. The Gryphon said they were writing their names down in “fear they should forget them before the trial’s begun”.
I find it ironic, and hypocritical, of Alice to call the jurors stupid for being afraid of forgetting their names when she herself couldn’t figure out who she was in chapter five with the Caterpillar.
Perhaps she has regained sanity and now, she finds it odd to forget who one is. Perhaps her journey is about to end because she has found herself. Like the only way to leave Wonderland is by finding yourself. Imagine the Mad Hatter being a normal person who got stuck in Wonderland and unlike Alice is unable to find himself. So if he were to finally find himself, would he leave Wonderland and rejoin the world of reality?
Now, I’m seeing finding yourself as the door out of Wonderland. Or maybe you really just need somebody to wake you up.
I’m having some trouble finding a reason for chapter 10 to even exist. I’ve looked through it over and over again and can’t find anything symbolic, no deeper meaning, no hidden lesson, nothing that hints towards drugs and sex, nothing that makes fun of politics, nothing.
All I can find is the usual play on words and confusing conversation.
The Mock Turtle and Gryphon kind of remind me of the March Hare and Mad Hatter except not as witty and energetic. They tell all these odd stories that are logical but don’t make sense to us. Their stories have a lot of play on words like ‘porpoise’ and ‘whitings’ and ‘soles and eels’. They cause a lot of confusion, and like the Caterpillar make her recite poems. Unlike the other chapters there are all more parodies on early poems in this chapter, I don’t know if there is something important about that. Why does Carroll make fun of some many published writings? Why were there a bulk of parodies in this chapter? I don’t know.
So basically, this blog was just written for people to comment on it and help me find a ‘porpoise’ to this chapter 🙂 Because I’ve tried and have not succeeded.
This post was sparked by Abbie P.’s post, ” ‘It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep’ – Owl City (Fireflies)”
In her post she posed the question:
“If sanity is the ability to tell the difference between a dream and reality, does that make Alice insane?”
Now, this question seemed to generate a lot of different responses. Some people believe Alice is insane because while she is in Wonderland she thinks it is all real. I, on the other hand, think that Alice is not insane as long as when she wakes up she realizes she was dreaming.
Now if you want to debate on that question, click on the link. But I want to pose a different question:
What if our dreams are so realistic that it is hard to separate them from reality, then are we considered insane?
I mean it’s very easy to say that you are dreaming when you are in the world where you’re flying from building tops and running on water. But, it’s not so easy to that you are dreaming when your dream world consists of you going to school and seeing your friends everyday. Everybody’s had these realistic dreams. You wake up and you have to think about what just happened. If it weren’t for the fact that you were laying in bed you would think that it was all real. Then you have to make sure you’re not still dreaming and laying in bed is actually reality. Are people who have these kind of dreams insane? If so, then I need to check myself into an asylum.
So maybe we need to take another look at the definition of sanity. Or maybe we have the definition right, there’s just a few exceptions?
Throughout this entire project I have said, and said again, that the mind is what defines us, the mind is who we are, the mind is the important part of us and the body is simply a vessel. But I was mulling over all this over my morning Cheerios and I had a little change in direction with my thoughts. I think it may have something do with all the thoughts about my surgery going through my head. I was trying to imagine what it would be like when I couldn’t use my whole left leg, what it will be like when I have to use crutches and can’t run and jump and go up stairs. What it would be like trying to work my way through the hallways at school. That’s when I realized that the body couldn’t possibly JUST be a vessel for our mind. And I think I was right in thinking that.
Without our body our mind cannot experience the world. What are our thoughts without experiences? What can you base them on if you haven’t experienced the physical world? Our body is not only a vessel, it is a tool. A tool that is equipped with our senses. People with stronger or weaker senses experience the world differently. So the body plays a key part in the world of our minds, if that makes sense at all. I think that now, with my unusable leg, I will be experiencing the world differently. So will my thoughts change. Will my whole take on Wonderland change? We will find out.
Seven Chapter. This chapter seemed so backwards. But at the same time it made sense. It’s almost like I’ve become so accustomed to the world of Wonderland and it’s nonsense that it all seems natural to me.
The March Hare and Mad Hatter, most of what they said makes sense. Most of their thoughts are a mixture of ideas purely based on the denotation of a word and ideas purely based on the connotation. Like ‘say what you mean and mean what you say’ – that’s all about the denotation of the language. But, ‘beating time’ – that’s all about the connotation and personification of the language.
I want to say that the March Hare and Mad Hatter are crazy, because that is what Carroll wants us to believe. But at the same time I want to say that they are not crazy, they just have a different mind-set then the rest of us. I mean what is so crazy about having a watch that only gives the day, and not the hour? That’s just like a calendar if you think about it. Now there may be something odd about trying to fix said watch with butter, but what’s Wonderland without a few oddities?
Do you think thae Mad Hatter and March Hare are crazy? Or do you think that they have just been subjected to the common misconception that anybody who thinks differently then the majority is not right in the head?
How do we know that our dreams are actually our dreams, and reality is reality? Is it possible that what we think are our dreams is actually reality and what we think is reality is actually our dreams?
I mean for all you know the world where you’re a ninja jumping off buildings and saving the world could be the real deal. And the world where you’re going to school or work everyday could be your dream (or nightmare). Now, you could say that what we call our dreams are our dreams because they seem so unreal and exciting, compared to what we call reality. But if we were to call our dreams reality and reallity our dreams, then it would also make sense that our dreams are boring and calm compared to reality. Either way our dreams are an escape from reality. So if reality is calm and uniteresting then our dreams are the opposite. If reality is exciting and eventfull then our dreams are still the opposit. Are you following what I’m saying? Because I’m not sure if even I am.
The whole conversation between Socrates and Theaetetus on page 67 of Annotated Alice has put everything in perspective for me. Or rather, it has put everything out of perspective and left me very confused.