Author Archive

Mocking Morals

Posted in Gabriella B.'s Entries on December 3, 2009 by G.A. Buba

Now that we are nearing the end of the Alice Project, I feel like we have come full circle: from remembering Alice as an innocently inane movie form our youth to becoming immersed in Wonderland.

As we emerge from the sticky quagmire that is Wonderland we have to readjust our mindsets. After digging through the hopelessly whimsical insanity for meaning I have come to the conclusion that there comes a point when you have stretched your brain to the limit and can find no more.

With this in mind I reread Alice’s conversation with the Duchess. My eyes were drawn to the many mismatched and seemingly misplaced morals. Very few of them seem to apply to the conversation at all and to be completely truthful the farther you read the less sense they seem to make. And I realized then what an irony the situation presented. If the point of a moral is to help illuminate the deeper meaning of a story, give meaning to an innocent tale or make a lesson clearer then truly this passage turns all of those intents inside-out. If the moral which is supposed to explain a story only confuses you more than has it not failed its purpose? Take the last moral the Duchess provides:

“Never imagine yourself 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.”

After multiple readings and various musings I still stand by my initial observation… that this is complete nonsense.  I feel that I must keep in mind that this line may have been meant only as comic relief and have no deeper meaning but perhaps with this passage Carroll is insinuating the very opposite of what he says.

“Everything’s got a moral if only you can find it.”

Sometimes by looking harder you only muddy the water with possibilities. Perhaps Carroll really means in some upside down and backward way that morals are not really needed, that they oversimplify a deeper meaning.

So perhaps to mock morals is the only way to eliminate the preconceived notion that without one a story is meaningless.

Hypocritical Views

Posted in Gabriella B.'s Entries, Impact on Society on December 3, 2009 by G.A. Buba

While reading Alice, I was struck by how insane, strange and just plain weird Wonderland truly is. There are strange talking creatures and odd nonsensical characters, quite outlandish in my opinion. I was quite sure that Alice was simply a whimsical and generally indecipherable depiction of childhood and the inanity of youth.

Then I realized how very hypocritical I was being.

I myself love the genre of fantasy/supernatural in general and often buy into the magical worlds authors create with their words. So I asked myself, what is so different about Alice? Why can’t I appreciate the magic and ignore the inconsistencies like I can with so many other books and novels?

I think my aversion to Alice can partially be associated with my childhood dislike for the Disney movie. I remember getting very frightened by the movie as a child so perhaps I am over analyzing to avoid what disturbed me as a child and am therefore missing the magic. Or perhaps I am falling prey to the awful trap of cultural difference and the fact that I am an outsider looking in? I can understand novels because I can identify with the character. Can such a thing be said of Alice?

It is possible that I am misunderstanding Alice just as some would misunderstand so many of the worlds more different and intriguing cultures? It is accepted that we find the ancient practice of foot binding in China harsh abusive and strange. But if we could go back to a time when that was acceptable I doubt we would ever find a noble woman who would choose the painless option. To do so would mean they would not marry well and would be considered a commoner, a peasant. Ostracized from society and the culture they were raised in.

So it is with Alice. Would any of the Wonderland characters criticize their strange customs and ways? No, how can one find strange the only thing you have ever known. Just as there must be knowledge of heat for us to understand cold, we must have an experience with something better to say that what we have currently is bad.

So in truth aren’t we all a bit hypocritical?

I Think. But Do I Know Who I Am?

Posted in Gabriella B.'s Entries, Philosophy / Big Picture on November 30, 2009 by G.A. Buba

” cogito ergo sum“-René Descartes-

I think therefore I am. This statement began and summarizes the most basic and simplistic roots of western philosophy. I feel that this is something that Alice has missed her encounter with the caterpillar summarizes her feelings very well.

“I ca’n’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir,” said Alice, “Because I’m not myself, you see.”

This inner battle that Alice fights is not so different from the thought process that brings to mind the ever important question we will all inevitably ask ourselves sometime late at night.

Do I exist?

This is very closely linked to Alice’s search for identity. She is thinking therefore she knows she exists, but how can she truly know who or what she is? Is it even possible for her to know?

In the magical realm that is Wonderland do the same principles that guide our perception of self still apply or has all reason gone out the window?

Let us look at this from Alice’s perspective for a moment. In her mind everything about her has changed, so therefore she must not be the same person. But in reality are we not all constantly changing from the time of our birth until we die we are changing; mentally physically, emotionally. From the moment we begin life we can never truly return to what we once were.

I think therefore I am. No other elements fit into that equation. If nothing else exists then at the very least I do for the sole reason that I can think. Perhaps this most vividly applies to Alice because in reality Wonderland is a dreamscape.

In a world where nothing is real then truly only the act of your own thought can justify your existence.

To Question Authority

Posted in Gabriella B.'s Entries on November 23, 2009 by G.A. Buba

On the croquet ground with the queen Alice’s friend the Cheshire Cat once again makes his appearance.  After hearing her rather lengthy rant he makes a very interesting query,

“How do you like the Queen?” said the Cat in a low voice.

Now, I would first like to analyze this line from a singularly plot and story based perspective. The Cat is speaking softly, now whether this is so that he himself doesn’t incur the Queens wrath (in my opinion the cat has little to fear from her), or to spare Alice the Queen’s anger is debatable. From the first the cat seems to be a far more rational (if such a thing exists in wonderland) and thoughtful character than others in wonderland. He has not yet, like the others tried to burn her (white rabbit), accuse her of being vile (pigeon) or other wildly unimaginable actions. He seems to, if only in a passive sense, want her to succeed, nor does he seem to fear her. This alone would set him apart from others.

Further more the Cat is in essence questioning the main authority figure in Wonderland. While this seems to follow with his rather contrary and questioning personality the fact that he specifically questions Alice is interesting. Is he testing the waters for further questions? Or does he wish to subliminally warn her of the danger of the Queen?

On a more meaning based query, what if the cat is questioning authority. To what end does he wish the line of questioning to come to? For arguments sake let us use the generic coming of age theory. As we grow up we are forced to find our own opinions and perceptions in life. Will we follow what our parents believe in? Or will we make a new path? Follow our friends or charter a course on our own?

Perhaps the Cat guiding Alice so that she will learn to question authority and popular belief., if so I feel this becomes a question on whether or not we as thinking rational humans should question all we believe in to find our perception of truth. Or follow what we have been raised and conditioned to believe as true. Does our environment or our mind shape our perceptions?

If this post interests you, check out part 1 or part 4 of my post series on the Chehsire Cat

The Evolution of the Cheshire-Cat

Posted in Gabriella B.'s Entries on November 19, 2009 by G.A. Buba

Due to my fascination with the Cheshire-cat I was curious as to what comes to mind when we think of this cat. As we all know the moment an author creates a character, that character is up for the interpretation of the reader or in the Alice in wonderland movies the viewer.  So for your viewing pleasure I created a Prezi presentation (slide show with the amazing ability to make you motion sick) which shows a small collection of the varied metamorphosis our beloved cat has undergone.

I feel that there are many sides to this complex character. And each side has been given a new and clearer definition by subsequent artists. I was especially taken with the darker side of our cat. Not the questionable but still sweet character from our favorite child-hood movie but the darker representation we see in our own imaginings. This is an investigation into that side of the Cheshire-cat. That more cunning, feisty and dangerous creature of our nightmares.

Cheshire-Cat presentation

P.S. For those who are having navigation issues with Prezi (sadly it’s not very user friendly)  navigate the show by clicking the gray arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.