Analytical or Arbitrary

Summary:  Analyzing the unique style of Lewis Carroll.

From my reading of the first chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I was struck by how very childlike the writing seems. One wonders if Carroll intentionally wrote from the rather capricious and distracted perspective of a child or if the story flowed into that format without his conscious decision because that truly is his mindset/writing style. All at once one can see the more adult humor and wit interwoven into the story as well a Alice’s simplistic and childish mindset.

He interjects his experience as a mathematician during Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole with his rather humorous twisting of the laws of physics. Other remarks can be clearly assigned to Carroll’s voice such as when Alice considers whether she, “shall fall through the earth.” The theory seems a rather adult issue one which most would not associate with the mind of innocent little Alice. I feel in a way it is these adult humor and themes that have allowed Alice to become the timeless classic it is today.

But on the other hand Carroll’s style of writing has a very scatterbrained format. The storyline runs as a child might think. With multiple seemingly random tangents and jumps from topic to topic Carroll has either created a very accurate replication of a child’s thoughts or he writes as he thinks, each idea cohesive yet unpredictable. The story written as it came to mind. Examples of this endless, ranging from Alice’s rather random remembrance of her cat Dinah to her wonderment as to what her current latitude and longitude is. I think that in some respects the seemingly scatterbrained references have a quaint charm about them. And as this story was originally intended to be read to a young child I feel that this style would appeal to them. It adds an element to this story that they can identify with completely.

I found this clash of styles both interesting and confounding. It will certainly prove for an interesting read.

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