A Hundred Different Roads and No Destination

I find Alice’s conversations with the Cheshire-Cat to be endlessly interesting. I was particularly intrigued by Alice’s crash course in specific questions. She merely wishes to get somewhere. As many of us realize there is Something everywhere. The line,

“‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.'”

begs notice, it screams to be seen and like any child who sees a shiny object I feel I must investigate. On a very basic level it is true. The only problem is most people have a specific destination in mind. Alice, who lost in Wonderland, has no destination falls prey to this lovely lie through omission. It is interesting that when lost in a magical land Alice’s first instinct is to wander; to get, as she says ‘somewhere’.

One point to make is that in the act of wandering Alice is only traveling deeper and becoming more lost in wonderland. What happened to the age old adage, if you don’t know where you are, don’t leave the place you’re at? It seems so simple, doesn’t it? But how many of us who have actually been lost follow this advice? I personally have never ‘not wandered’ when I become lost. At first it is merely an,
“Oh, I know how to get back the path was just past that clump of trees…”
but then of course it wasn’t that clump of trees it was that pile of rocks… and so on and so forth until you are so turned about, and confused that when you finally stumble upon the path by chance you barely know which direction to walk in. will this fate befall Alice, for originally her destination was a garden but as time goes on her objectives become more and more vague, until she only wants to see or do some thing different; to change size or location or company.

So in truth for Alice it matter’s not which way she goes for she has no objective toward which she wishes to move towards. I feel that Alice only questions the Cheshire-Cat out of ingrained habit. As children we assume that if we are unsure or befuddled someone older, bigger, or more experienced obviously knows better than us and will tell us what we aught to do. And this assumption is generally correct in the real world, however in wonderland, where each person seems to follow a path unto themselves. It must seem strange to wonderland-folk that Alice would ask which ‘way to go’ if she knows not where she wants to get, nor what she wants to do.

If questions with the Cheshire-Cat intrest you you may find part 1 of this blog Sanity is Relative a worthwhile read.

2 Responses to “A Hundred Different Roads and No Destination”

  1. Meighan A. Says:

    Splendid analysis! I wonder at the implications fo wonder-folk seeing things as very obvious and Alice not. your lines: “It must seem strange to wonderland-folk that Alice would ask which ‘way to go’ if she knows not where she wants to get, nor what she wants to do.” imply that Alice is the irrational one. I like that. It is silly to ask how to get somewhere if you know not what somewhere is. The Cheshire Cat is patient in his rationalization of irrational little Alice.

  2. How interesting, I was just pondering similar questions when I stumbled upon your post. I am inclined to say that you have added new perspective to my thoughts. Relating Alice’s habit back to the real world was something unexpected for me. It does seem true that in wonderland each person follows a path themselves, almost like an adult in our terms. I was also contemplating the question of how Alice could get to where she wanted to be, if the destination is unknown to her. Perhaps a bit of madness, under these circumstances would help? I also read your other post on Sanity is Worthwhile, and I quite enjoyed the points you mentioned. I love the question you posed of “what is not mad” for we have no means to compare madness to, in fact our madness may be quite ordinary in the eyes of another.

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