Isn’t she pretty?
Alice in Wonderland (originally Under Ground) is a beautiful story and it features heavily in my own work (the main character, who is also named Alice, loves it and often compares herself to the Alice in this story). It’s a story that really resonates with me. You can look at the surface and see a story about a girl in a strange world, but if you look deeper, you’ll find something more.
To me, Alice in Wonderland is about the journey of personal growth and the search for self discovery. These two themes are also paramount in my own work. Alice finds herself in a strange place, faced with difficult tasks and some not-so-nice people (my eyes are on you Queen of Hearts). She is often asked questions about her self identity; The caterpillar asks the famous “who are you?” and she is often mistaken for being something other than a little girl – such as the white rabbit mistaking her for his housekeeper. This leads Alice to wonder about herself and she responds to the catterpillar’s question with;
“I–I hardly know, sir, just at present – at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.”
But she moves forward anyway and accepts the fact that her journey has changed her. My favourite quote in the entire literary world is:
“But it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
This is a quote that is often overlooked, but for me, it has the most meaning both in and out of context. To me, it is a reflection on how much we can change from our experiences. We cannot change the past, but we can learn from our experiences and allow who we were to shape who we are. This is something I really try to remind myself. The past is in the past, but we should remember it, and we should learn from it.
Whether or not Lewis Carroll actually intended for this to be the point, I couldn’t say. But it’s certainly what I’ve taken away from reading about Alice’s adventures.