Short essay – Lewis Carroll

I decided to publish my short essays on the readings from the Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World course syllabus. The course started on the 1st of June and finished on the 14th of August. The essays were supposed to be around 270-320 words a piece. Today, I publish the essay that I wrote after reading Lewis Carroll‘s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

* These are my views and interpretations only


I had never actually read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass before; the only experience I’d had with those stories was the 1951 Disney movie, which I enjoyed. But as I read through the books, I started getting more and more disturbed by what I was reading and after finishing them – and collecting my thoughts – I know what it was that bothered me so.

All is not well in the mind of Alice. There are hints throughout the books that Alice is a child that either loses herself completely in her imagination or is seriously disturbed and mentally ill. I picked up on this pretty fast, as Lewis Carroll left little clues. He mentioned several times that Alice likes to pretend to be two different people: she often talks to herself, not just in her fantasy worlds.

Alice also seems to be very curious about the creatures and people around her, but sees no problem in being rude to them, causing them bodily harm (at the Rabbit’s house where she not only nearly destroys all his windows but kicks Ben the lizard, just to see how he would react) and walking away when they are in danger (when the Cheshire Cat is in danger of being beheaded, Alice just walks away, deciding to check on the croquet game she’s been attempting to play).

So my theory is that Alice, a seven and a half year old girl whose parents are very well off (as they apparently have servants), is either a mentally unstable or neglected child with an older sister who gets all the attention. To escape the reality in which she lives, she created imaginary worlds to play in, but real world comments on her appearance, demeanour and intellect seep through via Wonderland’s inhabitants’ comments, which is why she never truly cares for them or makes any true friends.

It’s children’s literature featuring a mentally ill protagonist.


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