Beneath the Surface of the Looking Glass

After reading Hersh T.’s post Double Meaning?, I felt I had to agree that sometimes we have to analyze a story in order to better understand the meaning behind the words.  This is especially true with a work like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland because it is in on the surface a beautifully whimsical and happily meaningless tale. Without looking beyond the fairytale surface we might read through the story and be left with a vague wonderment and confusion, such as when as an adult you attempt to read Dr. Seuss.

You reminisce and think fondly on the quaintness of it all but setting the book down walk away without a backward glance. But this is not true with Alice. Upon deeper reading how can any even begin to consider it a sweet but meaningless children’s story. So many darker references that easily overlooked by a child are noticed by an adult mind, make this story into an immortal piece of literature.

Where for the sake of contrast, the work of Dr. Seuss, contains a world with no boundaries, wildly unimaginable creatures, and a wholly light-hearted theme. While for Alice, Wonderland is in truth a world without boundaries.  On the other hand all of the creatures hold a twisted familiarity and darker meaning. So many of the subtle references within Alice turn the adult mind to themes which one would never inflict upon an innocent mind such as drug use, death, the inherent darkness that seems to perpetually inhabit Wonderland, and the strange sense that the paranormal is stalking Alice as she wanders the doorway lined hall.

One Response to “Beneath the Surface of the Looking Glass”

  1. Very nice 🙂 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland can be seen as having a very dark underlying theme, especially with the Queen of Heart’s constant orders of “Off with his head!”. The drug references too make the book seem much too mature for a children’s story; but they are so cleverly hidden that there’s next to no hope of a child finding them on their own. The story can be looked at, from a child’s point of view, as an innocent little tale with funny characters and some confusing bits. But as an adult, you can see a psychological thriller tucked away under the layer of innocence and play. I like how you added the bit on how one couldn’t see Alice as the same story after looking deeper 🙂

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