Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Review: Alice in Wonderland

ALICE IN WONDERLAND: a children’s book that is not so

We have all been familiar with the story of Alice and her adventures down the rabbit hole because of Disney’s storylines. But did we give a chance to read the source material, the original book by Lewis Carroll? I did. And all I could say is, you should as well.

Even though the story doesn’t follow a concrete storyline -- with a major conflict and resolution -- and Alice is just wandering aimlessly in Wonderland, it still remains interesting, quite surprisingly. This is because of Lewis Carroll’s prose. His writing style leaves such a beautiful ringing in the ears that even an absurd story sequence becomes interesting. Aside from that, the words and sentences are weaved very smoothly that I just can’t put the book down. I must admit that the author’s voice possesses a certain magic that drives me forward. In a very enchanting manner, it features the childish nature of how Alice reacts to the absurdity that is happening before her.

            Lewis Carroll is an excellent logician, so it isn’t very surprising that he would exploit his skills in the field to his writing. In Alice in Wonderland, he creates many hilarious logical fallacies that would get the reader thinking and brilliant wordplays and puns that come out to be very amusing. Most of these are too deep for the children’s vocabulary. In fact, due to the nonsensical nature of the book, it seems to me that Lewis Carroll’s purpose of writing Alice in Wonderland is for these plays in logic; and that he is just sugarcoating the book as an absurd children’s story. What makes my assumption more logical is the fact that some of the characters of the book hide dark themes behind their humour, like how the caterpillar blatantly suggests substance abuse and how the queen is obsessed with cutting off the heads of his men. There are just too many things between the lines that are beyond the children’s understanding. These are disguised in comical connotations, which make them even more hilarious when spotted.

In the eyes of children, it is an adventure of a little girl in a mysterious land. But for the adults, it is an entirely different story told using wordplays and puns. Perhaps this is why Alice in Wonderland is a timeless tale. It features childish characters and language, which children find easy to read; and logical fallacies and wordplays, which adults find really amusing. It means that the book is readable for any age group.

In the end, we really couldn’t tell if this is Lewis Carroll’s motive. (There have been different rumours for the purpose of his writing this book. Some say that it has been written for a little girl named Alice, while others say that the book is about the mathematical dilemmas of the time). But it in the end, we really wouldn’t know for sure, for even those could just be an excuse. Did he write Alice in Wonderland for children, adults, or both? Whatever the case may be, it does not change the fact that it continues to fascinate both.

            Related posts:
            Book Review: The Happy Prince and Other Tales

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