Theme Of Satire In Alice In Wonderland

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In his 1865 novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll introduced a world where madness, silliness, and idiosyncrasies trumped logic and rational thought. In constructing such a world, it comes as no surprise that the author chose to parody real life works of art to further reinforce this idea of madness. However, Carroll’s use of parody is more than just a clever way to humor the reader. Lewis Carroll frequently utilizes parody in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in the form of spoofed children’s poetry as a way to promote his own ideas regarding childhood which differ from previous Puritanical and Romantic schools of thought. In addition, these spoofs take jabs at the original works of art through Carroll’s clever twisting of …show more content…
If the title alone does not make it clear, the original version tries to instill children with core values that promote industry and hard work. The first stanza states:
How doth the busy little bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every open flower! (Watts)

This didactic poems makes this message abundantly clear to the young reader and Watts certainly hopes that children will learn from it. However, Lewis Carroll twists the poem in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in a way where it is completely different and yet still easily recognizable. The two stanzas of Carroll’s version states:
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to
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Florence Milner also observes this and notes that “The Duchess’s song to the pig baby is an absurdity in itself, but a much greater one when contrasted with its serious parallel.” (14). There is no doubt that this parody serves to question Romanticism in the same way that his parody of Watts served to question Puritanism. In this instance, Carroll again introduces violence to what was once a peaceful work, thus mirroring the violence and chaos of the events unfolding around the Duchess and the baby. In addition, the subversion of the original themes of gentleness and caring aims to make a mockery of Romantic ideals. Carroll’s spoof of this poem offers an equal but opposite extreme to the Romantic idea of unconditional love and caring for a child, thus highlighting the extreme nature of the original work which may have gone unnoticed by readers beforehand. By showing his obvious disagreement with both extremes, it is safe to say that Carroll’s beliefs on the treatment of children lie somewhere in the middle. Regardless of the specifics of Carroll’s beliefs, his parody of Bates’s work shows his disagreement with the coddling and glorification of childhood that he believes Romanticism

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