The story that the English mathematician Charles Dodgson began to tell the daughter of friends, Alice Liddell, turned into an amazing book. This is the only literary work, the publication of which has not been interrupted even once in the entire history of its existence. World and local wars, epidemics and famine, economic and political crises did not stop the appearance in bookstores of new copies of “Alice in Wonderland” – one of the most absurd and fascinating fairy tales in the history of literature.
What is Alice in Wonderland about?
Events begin on a hot summer day, when Alice is bored on the river bank. Suddenly she notices an amazing White Rabbit dressed up in a vest. Following an unusual character, the girl makes her way down the rabbit hole, which turns out to be unusually deep.
At the bottom, a mysterious room with many doors is found. They are all locked, but there is only one key. And he comes to the smallest door, behind which a wonderful garden is visible. But Alice cannot get there – the door is tiny.
There are magic items in the room that increase and decrease the girl’s height. Finally, she manages to get through the door, but instead of a wonderful garden, there is a forest behind it. There she meets the talking Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, the Cook and the Duchess. They all behave strangely, and while traveling through Wonderland, metamorphoses continue to occur with Alice – the growth and proportions of the body change.
The next meeting was even stranger. The girl goes to a crazy tea party, which includes the Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse Mouse. After parting with them, Alice continues her journey and finally ends up in the garden.
Here he meets new characters – the Card Guards, who are busy repainting white roses into red ones. The appearance of the Queen and the King of Hearts is accompanied by an order to execute negligent guards, but Alice saves them and, together with the royal procession, follows to the croquet field.
The game of croquet is also strange – instead of flamingo clubs, instead of balls – hedgehogs. Strange entertainment smoothly turns into a moralizing conversation between the Queen and Alice about morality, after which the girl goes to the turtle Quasi and the Griffin.
Finally, the culmination of events comes – the trial of the Jack of Hearts, who stole the royal tartlets. Among other witnesses, Alice is invited to testify, who suddenly begins to grow and incurs the wrath of the Queen. They do not have time to fulfill the requirement to cut off the girl’s head – all the participants in the meeting turn into ordinary playing cards, and Alice grows to her usual height.
At this moment, the girl wakes up and finds herself lying on the river bank. The sister brushes leaves from her face. Alice tells about a wonderful dream she had.
The meaning of Alice in Wonderland
Initially, the book was greeted with skepticism and even called delusional. But soon it was appreciated by both adults and children. In addition to a fascinating plot, it contains many charades, riddles, rebuses and puzzles. In the characters of the heroes, typical human vices are easily recognized – stupidity, pride, naivety, fussiness.
For members of the Liddell family, the meaning of the book was revealed in a special way, inaccessible to others. The girls easily recognized the characters as caricatures of their school teachers, family members and neighbors.
A lot of scientific works have been written about the direct and secret meanings of “Alice”. There was no consensus on what exactly the author attached to certain episodes. Perhaps some of the meanings that literary critics see are really laid down by Carroll on an unconscious, subconscious level.
The only meaning that the author himself indicated was the desire to please and entertain his little listeners. But regardless of his desire, the book acquired many other meanings, including philosophical and mystical ones.
Analysis of the book “Alice in Wonderland”
Despite the fact that Alice in Wonderland is classified as a literary fairy tale, it is rather an extravaganza of paradoxes and real facts.
Under the guise of fabulous transformations, Carroll, who was a real scientist and one of the most enlightened people of his time, tells children real facts about the structure of the world. Moreover, some of them at the time when Carroll lived were not yet known:
- expansion and contraction of the universe (episodes where Alice’s height changes in a strange way),
- the paradoxical monologue of the Black Queen about the need to run as fast as possible in order to stay in place – alludes to the theory of relativity that did not yet exist at that time,
- the term “rabbit hole” is generally introduced into scientific circulation in astrophysics (synonyms – wormhole and wormhole).
Alice’s behavior in Wonderland is a call to the child to be inquisitive in studying the world around him, not to be afraid to ask for help. The fact that most of the characters seem strange to the girl is a frequent model of the perception of the world of adults from the world of children. So everything that seems absurd, nonsense and nonsense is actually quite serious things.
There are later interpretations based on the theory of psychoanalysis. In the events of the tale, they see the stages of growing up a child, adolescent difficulties and the problems that a girl faces before moving from childhood to adolescence. This is seen, for example, in an episode of disproportionality of the body – this is a typical phenomenon during puberty.
The scene in the room with many doors that are locked (opportunities and temptations of adulthood) and a tiny door to which the key fits (exit to the “adult” world in the status of a teenager – no longer a child, but not yet an adult) is interpreted in a similar way. The difficulties of getting into this world full of paradoxes, mysteries and strange characters also correlate with the problems of a growing person.
Episodes involving characters from a deck of cards are seen as a political satire, including on the behavior of England in relation to the colonized lands – the requirement to repaint the roses very much reminded the first readers of the book of the inconsistent actions of the authorities.
The history of the creation of the book “Alice in Wonderland”
It is known that the first stories about Alice were told orally in 1862. Girls from the Liddell family, with whom Carroll was friends, were often asked to tell about Wonderland again. As a result, the children offered to write a story, and their parents supported the idea.
In 1865, Lewis Carroll gave his favorite – Alice, who gave her name to the main character – a handwritten version of the fairy tale. The first version of its name is “Alice’s Adventures Underground”. In the same year, the handwritten version was subjected to literary revision and published in the form of a book “Alice in Wonderland” with original illustrations by John Tenniel.
The meaning of the title of the book “Alice in Wonderland”
Unlike many cases where the name has a hidden or double meaning, Carroll simply indicated the content of the events that take place in a fairy tale. Alice is the name of the main character, Wonderland is the place of events.
What does Alice in Wonderland teach?
The book teaches to see the unusual in the ordinary, to believe in miracles and to be always ready to surprise and be surprised. At any age, you can find funny and fascinating fragments on the pages of Alice in Wonderland, try to decipher their secret meaning or just smile.
Another story of “Alice” teaches that one should not be afraid to experiment. The famous mathematician Dodgson once listened to the requests of friends and wrote down a story that he made up just to please the children. And this book brought him worldwide fame.
Explanation of the ending of Alice in Wonderland
The ending of the book closes the plot in a circle. Events end where they began – on a hot summer day on the banks of the river. This compositional technique is often used by the authors of fairy tales and fantasy stories. So the reader understands that, on the one hand, all magical events are probably just a dream.
But the last lines always leave hope that the wonderful journey actually happened. This is how Lewis Carroll concludes his account of Alice’s journey.
I hope I have helped you find the meaning of Alice in Wonderland, as well as understand its ending. If you have a different vision of the book – write your own version in the comments.