We’ve All Got a Little of our Parents in Us.

While re-reading the story of Alice, and reading my fellow peers’ entries, I noticed that some people talked about the issue of  adulthood v.s. childhood.

I found it quite interesting when I read the notes about Alice’s size transformations. According to Gardner, when Alice is small, that is the small child that Carroll is in love with, and the larger Alice represents the young woman she would become. Well, I also thought it was interesting that Alice was scolding herself when she was crying. She is telling herself that she shouldn’t be crying and almost being the parent to herself.

Is Carroll trying to embody an adult in this young girl to make him seem less like a pedophile? Maybe he’s trying to make her seem older to evade the criticism of his obsession?

This one is for you to decide.

4 Responses to “We’ve All Got a Little of our Parents in Us.”

  1. Christian Long Says:

    Appreciating Hersh’s recent comment and the work he does to clarify a few points.

    I doubt — on many levels — that any “pedophile” would have been considered “good” or “acceptable” at any point in history. That being said, the issue isn’t if it is a good or neutral term, but whether or not we’re being too casual, too reactive, too 2009 in terms of our trigger-finger use of the phrase in the first place.

    The question of the author’s ‘feelings’ for a young girl named Alice has been investigated over and over long before any of us opened the book in the first place. Luckily, the introduction of The Annotated Alice does very strong work in putting his relationship in context…and doing away with our modern use of “pedophile” (et al).

    This does not erase the right of any of us from being uncomfortable with the idea of an non-parent adult being “in love” with a child, but I think we are better served if we avoid superficial/over-reactive/modern language like “pedophile” without really thinking about what it implies and its current social/language context.

    Beyond that, I’m impressed with the way in which everyone is exploring a very complicated issue: how does an author’s biography affect our read of a text, classic or otherwise?

  2. During this time the idea of a “pepdophile” was not really a bad thing. Young girls were lauded and elevated because of the idea of virginity and purity. If we take these factors into consideration then the idea that Carroll is trying to protect his pride doesn’t make sense. Also the idea that he could possibly know that his book would become incredibly famous and people would over-analyze and study him and his life probably never occured to him. He probably was just trying to, as you said, distinguish between the Alice he was in love with, and the Alice he was afraid she was going to grow into.

  3. Angela W. Says:

    I believe that Carroll is trying to embed an adult in young Alice when he is making her go through the transformations of big to small. I never thought of him also doing this while she was trying to calm herself from crying. In the annotated Alice, it says Carroll did enjoy photograping pictures of young girls. This does come off as sort of a creeper and Carroll making Alice seem older to hide his affection for young Alice does make sense. Carroll could not publish a book that lets people know he was in love in this young girl, therefore he makes her have adult like traits, even if it is just being taller. In Chapter One, when Alice looks at the bottle that says drink me, she first inspects it to see if there is a label saying: poison. This could also be a trait of being an adult becasue usually a child would go ahead and drink the bottle without suspecting it to be poison.

  4. Brendon O-L. Says:

    Carroll is comparing childhood (small Alice) to adulthood (big Alice). When one closely analyzes the two Alices, they notice that they are strikingly similar. Both of them experience, at one time or another, sadness, loss of identity, and loneliness. This means that adults are really just larger versions of children.

    One would then ask why are adults not as imaginative as children? We, as humans, have learned to adapt to our environments. To accomplish this, we have developed ‘tricks’ to get through our hectic and problematic lives, one which is our ability to notice patterns. As children notice these patterns and begin to grow into adults, they begin to assume these patterns are always true. They no longer consider the exceptions. They become ignorant. Most importantly, they lose their ability to dream and think outside the realm possibility.

    Adults are really just children, whose imaginations have been hindered by life’s experiences.

    Note: If you like to know more about this topic, then see my post “Adults Are Really Just Big Kids.”

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