Schema Disruption And Identity In Alice's Adventures In Wonderland?
No matter what individual schemas readers bring to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, there will be at least a few times in which those schemas are subverted, simply because so much that happens in the book is nonsense and, to us, impossible. Furthermore, it’s true that disrupted schemas, both in and out of the book, often create humor or at the very least amusement. The example used by Abbas and Rahman that stands out the most here is Carroll’s use of homonymy and homophony. They use the mouse’s speech to the wet characters as an example, writing, “The play upon the word ‘dry’ in this context creates humour through its contextual misinterpretation” (Abbas 6). Oftentimes Carroll will use a pun to confuse a character, add more nonsense to the novel, or just evoke a laugh. Because of our various forms of context, which Abbas and Rahman describe in detail, we are able to understand and therefore appreciate these jokes. They state, “Without the background knowledge of the real world, a reader would not have been able to consider the world of Alice as ‘Wonderful’” (Abbas 9). Without our existing schemas, Wonderland could be any ordinary place. Additionally, Abbas and Rahman’s article elicits reflection on the way readers of Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland think about, or, rather, do not think about, the practices and habits of our society. The actions and statements of the characters that seem to completely disregard what readers associate with normality …show more content…
If not, why do things have names at all?” (Carroll 142)
Our schema of insects, and of most objects and concepts, often starts by or with their name, and it certainly doesn’t include the insects answering to these names. However, this exchange of dialogue raises questions that break this mold. How much of what humans do is for them only? Are we too obsessed as a society with names and labels? Do these names and labels ever hurt what they’re naming more than help it? Of course, this is a deep hole to dig from only a few lines, but once schemas are disrupted this line of questioning can follow easily.
The ideas in this article can also be applied to discuss how these novels demonstrate that schema disruption is easier for children to cope with than for adults. Children are still learning so much about the world around them that their schemas are consequently challenged far more frequently than adults. The result, then, is that it’s easier for them to accept these disruptions. Carroll uses a child protagonist for his novels and writes for a child audience, and his nonsense novels reflect this schema pattern. Though Alice’s previous schema of food did not include its ability to make a person grow larger or shrink, her schema is challenged and eventually changed quite quickly once