Archive for the Deron M.'s Entries Category

Goin’ Out With a BANG

Posted in Deron M.'s Entries on December 3, 2009 by Deron Molen

Well, I’m sorry to say that this project is almost over.

In less than twenty four hours, these sites will be finished for the time being. I have to say it has been an incredible ride.

Really, if we look at the project and ourselves hard enough, we can see how close our journey has been to that of Alice’s. We were thrust into a whole new world in a matter of days and were expected to be able to find our way around. For me personally, I felt almost as lost as Alice did the first few days with all of the new technology I was expected to use. But slowly and surely all of us began to find our way around our new “Wonderland”.

Mr. Long, like the characters in Wonderland, helped indirectly guide us throughout our journey. He played the rabbit and got us down the hole to start us on our journey. He was the caterpillar and gave us indirect intellectual advice. He was the Duchess and gave us many morals and life lessons to ponder. He even played the part of the Queen and occasionally nudged us to give us a little more momentum coming into this finally week.

All of us students were Alice in more ways than one.

We were dropped into a new world of technology and blogging within a days notice. We stumbled our way through the first few weeks looking ahead to the “beautiful garden” that would await us as we finished. We accepted (although not always understanding 100% of) the advice of Mr. Long and our other teachers along the way of this project. We had to sit through some mad tea party discussion with our groups, occasionally endure the Queen’s (or in our case the King’s) wrath over not procrastinating, and await the verdict from the court’s jury. Just like Alice was thrown back into the real world, we will be thrown out back into book discussions and frequent in-class essays just as quickly as we were thrown into this new world of English class.

With the deadline for this project at 5:00 pm tomorrow (Thursday Dec. 3rd, 2009) quickly approaching, I can’t help but think how much this project has changed me intellectually.

Being one of “the quiet ones” in class, I rarely share my ideas and opinions. It’s not that I’m not thinking or that I didn’t read, it’s that I always have to think through my ideas again and again. I double, triple, and sometimes even quadruple check my arguments to make sure that they don’t have any major holes in them. This blog really has helped me express my ideas in a creative way and allowed me to have time to think everything through. This project has also helped me be able to make connections and understanding hidden messages in stories a lot better. Before, I just looked at the story as is and didn’t even spend too much time hunting for a moral or message. This project has helped me search the text and annotations for clues as to what Carroll might be hinting at in certain situations.

Like Alice, I’ve changed a great deal through my experiences in this virtual Wonderland we have here on the Alice Project.

Goodbye Wonderland and Hello Reality

Posted in Deron M.'s Entries on December 2, 2009 by Deron Molen

While I was typing my last two posts (Game Over Alice and Alice For Heisman), a new thought dawned on me:

Alice’s quick exit from her fantasy world reminds me a lot of how many athletes have had their dreams disappear in an instant. One example would be Sandy Koufax. He was one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers during the 1960’s. Then his arm began to give out and he was forced to retire. Sandy is just one of many athletes’ whose dreams have turned to thin air as quickly as the formed.

Our dreams and escapes from reality are all just as fragile as we are. If we are not careful, they can disappear just as quickly as they came to be. That goes for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, you need to enjoy and savor you dreams while you can.

I found it interesting that Carroll just ended the story. He didn’t have Alice escape from Wonderland; he just had her dream end. I wonder if he was trying to comment on how fragile our dreams are. Then again, Alice’s dream and our dreams are two completely different things. One is a fantasy world and the other is our hopes and aspirations. Although they have two different meanings, Carroll could be using Alice’s dream to symbolize our dreams.

Is Carroll hinting at how fragile our hopes and dreams are by ending Alice’s so abruptly?

There’s your pitch. Let’s see where you go with it.

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.

Alice For Heisman

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

It is that time of the year again. All of the college football fans once again begin the debate of who should win the Heisman Trophy and be crowned college football’s best player. Most are arguing for Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, Toby Gerhart, or Mark Ingram, but I have a write-in candidate. Standing 4′ 4″, weighing in at 61 lbs., and playing every position at the University of Wonderland, it’s Alice Liddell.

Athletes and Alice are not that different. Both have a real world life and a life where they can escape reality for a period of time. For Alice, it is Wonderland. For an athlete, it is the playing field. Both places allow a break from reality and the impossible to become possible. Talking rabbits are not nearly as crazy as Boise State running a trick play on the two point conversion to beat Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl (Sorry OU fans). As an athlete, I relish the time I spend on the playing field. It allows me to escape for a few hours from issues in school, with friends, or at home. The same goes for Alice. She is able to escape to Wonderland and leave her troubles behind for a little while.

Everyone has their own Wonderland. For some, it is going out and playing football or baseball. For others, it may be playing video games or reading a good book. Really, it doesn’t matter what we do as long as it lets us escape from our lives for any length of time. Having a Wonderland for ourselves is a good thing too. Life can be so stressful that we need to find an escape from the monotonous routine that we go through every day. The Heisman debate continues even as you read this post. The fact of the matter is that whether you’re debating about the Heisman or reading this post, you are escaping, for a few moments anyway, from reality.

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?