LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Classic

on February 21, 2013 12:05pm

Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is most definitely a classic novel of children’s literature. Some may even argue that it is the epitome of the Golden Age. Not only did it receive huge popularity shortly after its publication over 100 years ago, the book has remained successful and continues to be read by children of today. So the question that arises is – why. Why has Alice experienced so much fame and recognition?

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For one, this novel is so different than the other books that we have read. Carroll’s style of nonsense is very innovative and ingenious. He combines reality, fantasy, and nonsense in a manner that brings the reader into a whole new world. Wonderland, although extremely bizarre and random, somehow makes sense. There are rules and explanations to all the weirdness which readers are amused and entertained by.

Another factor that has made Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a classic is the fact that it is adored by both children and adults alike. The style and tone of the text is very reminiscent of a child’s imagination. For children, they are mesmerized and enthralled by the mysteries of Wonderland and the magical creatures. As a little girl, I was personally captivated by the Cheshire cat. In fact, I distinctly remember playing Alice with my stuffed animal cat, Fluffy. This personal memory takes me to my next point that adults love the novel, too. For grown-ups, rereading Alice brings back sentimental memories and feeling of nostalgia. They are transported back to their childhoods and to a world full of creativity, dreams, and imagination. As a results of this popularity by both children and adults, Alice has continued to survive through many generations of readers and remain a classic.

Another reason why Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is classified as a classic is the unique manner in which Carroll plays with the text along with the illustrations. Never before, have we seen the actual physical words of a novel intertwine with pictures or incorporate playful pieces. For example, the poem of the mouse’s tail is actually written in a spiral pattern, like that of a tail. I have to admit, I actually had fun turning my book around and around in order to read the poem. There are also multiple pages with lines of asterisks, almost resembling twinkling stars. These examples are fun, playful ways in which Carroll captivates his audience.

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In conclusion, Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland remains a sentimental piece of children’s literature. As a classic, it has remained successful among multiple generations and is adored by both children and adults. Moreover, Carroll introduced readers with a brand new style of writing that had never before existed. He created Wonderland – a land of nonsense, dreams, imagination, and nostalgia.

Just an indication of how popular Alice remains today – here is a blog that is completely devoted to the novel.

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One response to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Classic

  1. bgugliemino says:

    I think you raise some excellent points about why the Alice books became classics and why they remain so popular today. As you point out, Carroll’s novels are vastly different from the other novels we have read so far. I think one thing that makes Alice so different is that it is meant to entertain children first and instruct them second. In the other books we have read so far, the morals taught by the stories are their main reason for existing. This is most obvious in The Water Babies, but even in novels like The Princess and the Goblin, where more attention is given to the characters and creating an enjoyable story, the stories and the characters still exist to provide children with a model of how to behave. Alice, on the other hand, is meant to be enjoyed. Carroll creates a world that children can relate to, where the “bizarre and random” make sense because they mimic the way that children think and see the world. Even though there are some lessons hidden within the work, as we have discussed in class and as others have brought up in their blogs, they are presented subtly and without detracting from the story itself. The second point you bring up is that Alice has such an enduring popularity because both children and adults can enjoy the story, and you link the love adults have for it to a sense of nostalgia and a reminder of “a world full of creativity, dreams, and imagination.” I agree with this point as well, and I would argue that not only does Alice remind adults of their childhood, but that reading it actually allows adults to re-enter a childish state of mind and to think like a child again as they enjoy the nonsensical rules and wordplay of the creatures in Wonderland and Looking-Glass Land.

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