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Example research essay topic: Nineteenth Century Literature Detroit Gale Research - 1,121 words

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Lewis Carroll's Wonderland is a queer little universe where a not so ordinary girl is faced with the contradicting nature of the fantastic creatures who live there. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a childs struggle to survive in the condescending world of adults. The conflict between child and adult gives direction to Alice's adventures and controls all the outstanding features of the work- Alice's character, her relationship with other characters, and the dialogue. Alice in Wonderland is on one hand so nonsensical that children sometimes feel ashamed to have been interested in anything so silly (Masslich 107). The underlying message of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a rejection of The character of Alice is not at all like what you would find in a typical childrens book. The character of Alice herself is a bit puzzling, even to the modern child, because it does not fit a stereotype.

How much more unusual she must have seemed to Victorian children, used to girl angels fated for death (in Dickens, Stowe, and others), or to impossibly virtuous little ladies, or to naughty girls who eventually reform in response to heavy adult pressure... But Alice is neither naughty nor overly nice. Her curiosity leads her into her initial adventure and most of the latter ones in the book... (Leach 119). As Alice makes her way through Wonderland, she is faced with many pompous personalities that have their own ways of thinking and do not understand why Alice does not agree with their views. Alice takes into consideration what each character says.

After becoming quite confused and disgruntled she learns that everyone in Wonderland is in fact mad. Once she has learned this she politely rejects all offers made by characters and tells them how things are in her mind. More often than not, she is chastised for her opinions, but soon learns to take the characters criticisms with stride. Likewise, a child tends to see adults in the same light.

The child know the way that things are in their own mind, but when they share their ideas with their parents or other adults they are often told that their ideas are childish and wrong just as Alice was. The reader can see that Alice understands that all of the creatures in Wonderland are wrong. Nevertheless there is in her world the underlying joyful certainty that they are incompetent, absurd, and only a pack of cards In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Carroll shows the ridiculous nature of adults through his extraordinary characters. The amiable Cheshire Cat is the only character to help Alice in her struggle through Wonderland and admit that he is mad.

Oh you cant help that, were all mad here. Im mad. Youre mad (Carroll). All other characters are pointlessly didactic and feel the need to constantly snap at her, preach to her, confuse her, or ignore her. The Duchess, for instance, is inconsistent, unpleasant, pointless, and is of no help to Alice in her predicament.

flamingos and mustard both bite. And the moral of that is Birds of a feather flock together (Carroll). Many children see adults, especially those that are of authority, as having the same nature as the Duchess. The arbitrary, bloody Queen of Hearts is an ineffective, abysmally stupid person... sentence first - verdict afterwards (Carroll).

The bustling, spruce, worried Rabbit is at heart a poor, foolish, timid creature. Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late (Carroll)! No matter how hard Alice tries to talk to the Rabbit he always ignores her. Children often feel as though the adults around them simply ignore them also.

Throughout the book Carroll sympathetically describes the childs feelings of frustration at the illogical way of the characters (adults)... she had quite a long argument with the Lory, who at last turned sulky, and would only say, 'I am older than you, and must know better'... (Carroll). Plain and simple the characters in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are not consistent and they are not fair, but they are in a word Dynamic: creatures not merely of the authors imagination, but a permanent stimulus to imagination Carroll shows Alice's frustration with the characters puzzling use of language. This is a heightening of the effect which an adult life must have on a child like Alice. And the moral of that is- 'Be what you would seem to be' - or if you would like to put it more simply- ' Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise (Carroll). As a typical rule, adults tend to speak in a fancy language all their own not only to impress their colleagues but also to inspire their children.

It comes off, in the eyes of a child, as useless babbling that should be cut out all together. Alice simply chooses to put up with all the commotion put on by the characters around her so that she can get out of Wonderland. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a parallel of a child lost in the confusing world of adults. Alice's dilemmas are the same as what most children go through each day. Each character in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland illustrates a diffrent characteristic of an adult and his or her life. It is hard to really criticize Carroll's work because of the world that it is supposed to portray.

There seems to be a feeling that real criticism would involve psychoanalysis, and that the results would be so improper as to destroy the atmosphere of the book altogether (Empson 112). Bibliography: Works Cited 1. Boas, Guy Alice Blackwoods Magazine (1937) 740 - 46. Rpt.

in Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticisms. Ed. Laurie Harris. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. 2: 114. 2. Carroll, Lewis Alice's Adventures in Wonderland London: J. M.

Dent & Sons LTD, 1865. 3. Empson, William Alice in Wonderland Some Versions of Pastoral (1974). 812 - 14 Rpt. in Nineteenth- Century Literature Criticisms. Ed. Laurie Harris. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. 2: 112 - 14. 4.

Harris, Laurie, ed. Nineteenth- Century Literature Criticisms. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. 76 vols. 5. Hubbell, George Shelton The Sanity of Wonderland The Sewanee Review (1927) 387 - 98. Rpt.

in Nineteenth- Century Literature Criticisms. Ed. Laurie Harris. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. 2: 109. 6. Leach, Elsie Alice in Wonderland The Victorian Newsletter (1964) Rpt.

in Nineteenth- Century Literature Criticisms. Ed. Laurie Harris. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. 2: 119. 7. Masslich, George B. A Book Within a Book The English Journal (1921) 119 - 29.

Rpt. in Nineteenth- Century Literature Criticisms. Ed. Laurie Harris.

Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. 2: 107.


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