Childhood 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…
Firstly, the film uses visual euphemism to make things less threatening. The “Eat Me” cakes and the liquid in the “Drink Me” bottle are all pastel colors, and do not have any of the visual cues the viewer might associate with poison, despite this association in the novel. The “Drink Me” bottle has a translucent liquid in it, and the font “Drink Me” is written in is a simple script font, again, not something the viewer would associate with danger. The “Eat Me” cakes are in a gold box, reminiscent of a treasure box, even less likely to be associated with danger than the script font on the bottle. Additionally, Alice’s dress (forever associated with her after the release of this film) is a stereotypical young girl’s dress. The tea length was very common for children, as was the simple fabric and design. Visually, Alice appears to be a very childlike character, which makes it much harder for viewers to read anything she does as adult-like. Moreover, Alice has a very childish voice. Simply put, she sounds like a child. High-pitched and girlish, it makes it difficult for viewers to see Alice as an adult, or even a character that might be trying to act more grown up. All of these visual cues make viewers less likely to believe that Alice is trying to behave in a more adult-like manner, simply because she, as a character, appears so …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

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