Identity In Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland

1280 Words 5 Pages
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” Alice asks herself this shortly after entering Wonderland, although this line would not be at all out of place in any adolescent’s head (Carroll 15). Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is a novel that deals heavily with many aspects of identity, including finding and growing an identity as a child. Alice goes through many trials in the novel, and readers watch her change and adapt to get through all of these. Disney’s 1951 adaptation Alice in Wonderland has Alice go through many of these same challenges. Yet as a children’s film, some of the depth of these challenges is taken away. Alice in Wonderland showcases the ways childhood identity changes through internal conflict, contradictory …show more content…
Trying to appear older, while still making childish decisions is something that has been well documented in adolescence. In an article by G. J. Lough, the changes in this scene “forces her to adapt, just as the child growing into adolescence must adapt to the new realities of changing biological, social, and psychological situations,” (Lough 306). In both the film and the novel, Alice does not know how to react to her strange new surroundings. So she goes along as best as she can. In the novel, this manifests as rapid shifts between adult logic and childlike behavior, while in the film she simply behaves like a child. This makes a larger statement about what the audience should expect from the character Alice in each work. The film uses this scene to set the tone that Alice is a child, and will make decisions and behave as such. Alternately, the novel uses it to showcase the inner struggle Alice has, that continues throughout the plot. These differences result in different audience expectations, as well as differences between the two pieces further into the …show more content…
Alice struggles with her child-like expectations and the adult behaviors of the other partygoers, as well as their expectations that she will behave like an adult. Very much like a child, Alice sees no reason why she would not be invited to the tea party, as “there’s plenty of room!” (Carroll 52). When Alice makes a remark criticizing the manners of the partygoers (saying it was not civil of them to offer wine when there was none), she struggles with them behaving as though she was also an adult. Alice calls the partygoers rude when they criticize her manners, despite her having done the same thing just moments earlier (Carroll 53). Gerald Mulderig points to Alice’s “self-centered independence and aggressiveness,” as the main motive behind this behavior (Mulderig 232). By engaging in these behaviors, Alice establishes herself as a child. Yet she sees herself as an adult, and is very affronted when others do not. Throughout the entire party, Alice demonstrates that she wants to behave like an adult, but be treated with the compassion that would be shown a

Related Documents