Archive for the Carroll's writing Category

Imperfect Paper

Posted in Benedikt K.'s Entries, Carroll's writing, Impact on Society, Philosophy / Big Picture on December 3, 2009 by Benedikt K

Why does Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland have no simple meaning, no one path to follow through? Can he not express what he wanted to say within it? It is already written full of social criticism, and yet it seems incomplete, from the abrupt, rushed, ending to the hints at things not developed in the novel. But why could he not finish it?

Carroll was a mathematician, but he was much more than that, he was a human being and as such a born philosopher. Humans have always asked questions about the why and the how. Our very existence has prompted more questions than any discovery we have ever made, be it something as small as a quark, something as vital as a red blood cell, or something as vast as the universe. No practical question has been holding us off for as long as the mystery to our own existence. We fly throughout the sky, have seen the depths of the sea and mapped the entire earth. The challenges that present themselves to us seem to get greater every time we pass one of them. From how to farm over how to make a robot work to how to create a commercially efficient supersonic plane, they evolve, yet that question remains.

While we have trifled for so long with practical problems, our essence remains unresolved. We are, as Carroll knew, way too complex to ever explain. So Carroll tries to fit as much as he can into a single book. Not only does he attempt to cram a lifetime of social criticism and philosophy into his book, he tries to do it all while making it fun for little Alice to read. All philosophers have many, many works, none of them explaining everything. So while most try to fit a single, well developed point into their works, Carroll attempts to put it all into one epic, not epic by length, but by meaning.

Paper in itself, words themselves are useless when it comes to conveying a point, but they are all our primitive existence has come up with. Yes, language is complex and seems extremely daunting, especially when reading great novels. But our thoughts are much more complex than we have words for. So when we bring something to paper, have to actually formulate it, we are restricted by the words given to us, and can only hope that they make the reader think what we think.

Alice, this post, the internet itself is imperfect by its own definition. But this imperfection does not mean that we write in vain, there is beauty within this imperfection, and the meaning of any text is created by the beholder. Why I am writing this post may seem evident to you or not, but either way what you think of it is entirely different than what I think of it, or what the next person thinks of it. The imperfection of Language gives us more room to interpret, more room to seek and explore, to develop thoughts.

Back In Ye Olde Days…

Posted in Carroll's writing, Deron M.'s Entries, Impact on Society on December 2, 2009 by Deron Molen

Today I was commenting on Hagen F.’s post when I came to the conclusion that many of my fellow students and numerous others all over the world are unable to understand many parts of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

How many times have we heard our parents or grandparents talk about how hard life was way back when?

“Back in ye olde days…blah, blah, blah”.

Way too many if you ask me. They always say they had to walk uphill both ways to school in a foot of snow with wooden shoes. Why do we resent their commentary on how “easy” we have it? The answer is simple:

We just can’t connect.

The reason for this is because of the major time gap between Carroll writing the story and us having to analyze it today. The story was published 144 years ago. That is a very long time my friend. So much has changed from then to now. The trouble comes from Carroll trying to make jokes and comment on parts of society that have long since been forgotten. Thankfully, our version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland comes with annotations. They can seem obvious and boring at times, but the do help us pick up on some of the jokes that Carroll threw into his novel.

Carroll’s jokes and hidden messages lead us to another problem. Even if we are given the context of the joke, we still don’t understand it that well. What was funny hundreds of years ago isn’t necessarily funny now. Take the Mock Turtle for example. The Mock Turtle was meant to be a joke about turtle and mock turtle (which is made from veal) soup. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it probably has been a long time since any of us have had mock turtle soup. Carroll is slowly losing his connections with his audience as society keeps moving into the future. What are high school students 100 years from now going to think about Alice? Will they have the same opinions as us or those of students past? Of course not! It is the sad truth. The more time passes, the less of a connection Carroll is going to maintain with his audience.

Game Over Alice

Posted in Carroll's writing, Deron M.'s Entries on December 1, 2009 by Deron Molen

I have noticed an interesting trend among my fellow classmates in regard to the ending of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From Hersh’s blog post to individual conversations I have had with other students the response has been almost exactly the same. Most of them absolutely hate how the story ended. Honestly, I have to agree with them.

Carroll took all of us on an unbelievable ride for eleven and a half chapters then it just ended. It was like we were all kicked off the roller coaster by some pushy amusement park attendant. The cards fly up at Alice and that’s it? I was flipping back through the final chapter to make sure my book wasn’t missing a page or two. The ending left me wanting much more. Imagine yourself watching one of your favorite movies and half way through the final action scene…BOOM…credits pop up. That is what happened for me at the end of this story.

In Carroll’s defense, he had an impossible task. When you create a fantasy dreamland separate from the real world, you are going to have problems tying the two together. He did a great job getting Alice to Wonderland. The White Rabbit and Alice falling down the hole did a good job of moving Alice from reality to fantasy but the return trip was not nearly as smooth. In my opinion, Carroll needed to expand the courtroom scene a little more or have Alice continue on her journey until she finds her way out of Wonderland in a chapter or two. Either way would expand the story and hopefully allow a smoother transition to the ending. Alice’s adventures end with the all too disappointing “Game Over” ending. If Carroll hadn’t have picked this way to end the story who knows what could have happened.

What do you think?

Were you satisfied with how the story ended? Why or why not?

If you weren’t satisfied with it, how would you have ended the story?

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

Posted in Beth A.'s Entries, Carroll's writing on October 31, 2009 by Elizabeth A.

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.

The Sleeping Beauty

Posted in Benedikt K.'s Entries, Carroll's writing on October 30, 2009 by Benedikt K

This post is a response to Brendon Lynch’s blog post entitled “In Her Dreams” that talks about Carroll’s two distinct writing styles within the novel, and asks us whether Alice is dreaming or is truly awake.

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Carroll’s styles of writing are representative of his childish, irrational side and the hard mathematician that he is. Alice is awake, she notices physics, and yet she sleeps and is not hurt upon landing.

Carroll uses these styles of writing to further lure us into the world he is creating. By subtly introducing the irrational, he can later go into more unrealistic actions without the reader having a repulsive reaction to the writing.

When we recall his audience, young alice, we should also remember that she is most likely not fully aware of the laws of physics. This then prompts Carroll to sway further into the unreal, the impossible. It will entertain the young Alice, and yet appeal to the adults that read it to her, even if only to make them smile at the utter ridiculousness of the story.

We have already noticed that Alice seems to be getting more and more removed from reality, as if she were slowly drowsing away. The first chapter already tells us that the novel is destined to be unrealistic, to be wonder and beautiful.

In conclusion, my response would be that Alice is currently drowsy, neither asleep yet nor awake, but is destined to sleep very soon.