Hello everyone! I know this post is more than a little late but… my laptop was sort of out of reach… as in I had to get up and leave the house and travel on a bus for about two hours to get it. Then I had to come back… In any case, it’s here now and you can sit back, relax and enjoy *cue CSI:Miami music and watch me mimic Horatio putting on his shades* Today’s Classics Corner will look at Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Weary and bored one afternoon, the young and imaginative Alice follows a hasty hare underground — to come face-to-face with some of the strangest adventures and most fantastic characters in all of literature. The Ugly Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the weeping Mock Turtle, the diabolical Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat — each more eccentric than the last — could only have come from that master of sublime nonsense, Lewis Carroll. In penning this brilliant burlesque of children’s literature, this farcical satire of rigid Victorian society, this arresting parody of the fears, anxieties, and complexities of growing up, Carroll was one of the few adult writers to enter successfully the children’s world of make-believe, where the impossible becomes possible, the unreal, real, and where the heights of adventure are limited only by the depths of imagination.
(Picture and description compliments of Goodreads)
Now, I honestly can’t review this book in my normal way where I break it down into the different categories and analyse it like that. No. It’s not that sort of book. Lewis Carroll made a name for himself by writing a book that was phenomenally different from other books of its time. It did not seek to break its audience down with deep meanings or overbearing morals, instead its purpose was to give children something they could truly enjoy and it fulfilled this purpose and has continued to do so to this day.
The story really does read like it dream. The author has managed to put together what we would consider ‘nonsense’ and made it make sense…just like a dream. You all know what I mean: we’ve all had that feeling when we’re dreaming that everything makes complete sense but once we wake up we can never quite put the pieces together.
I especially loved the verses that Carroll inserts into his story. The Mouse’s tail I believe was genius. I love how the words are actually arranged on the page because I am quite a visual person (I just found out that it has a name! It’s a shape poem! Learnt something new!) but I also loved his play on the word ‘tail’ for ‘tale’ and then made the words of the Mouse’s story squiggle in a fashion that made them resemble a tale.
There were some elements I did not remember reading such as the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. Coming across them felt like discovering buried treasure and it added to the dream-like quality of the story even more. What I mean is that we forget elements of our dreams but sometimes something will spark the memory and it will come back to us like a scent on the wind.
The highlight of this story for me was the end where Alice wakes us and goes on her way thinking Wonderland to be a dream. Then her sister falls into a doze and sees what Alice has supposedly dreamt and I’m left to wonder…was it really just a dream or was it something Other? I believe those are the best stories, ones that leave you with questions best left unanswered.
I know this has been a rather short review today but honestly I felt it wasn’t one that needed a thousand words. I hope you all enjoy it, because I certainly did enjoy writing it.
Read those classics!
K, the Popinjay.