“Alice in the Wonderland” is a short story by Lewis Carroll. Alice is the main character in the story who is trying to find her way out a strange adventure. In the adventure, Alice understands what to do at every bit of her encounter with help of different characters such as the caterpillar. Alice falls into a deep hole after she saw a rabbit wandering the land. She finds it so interesting that she follows the rabbit into the hole not knowing how deep it was. After getting in, she discovers that she is already falling into a deep hole and she cannot get back because it happens abruptly. Alice says “would the fall come to an end? I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time” (Carroll, 1998). As she falls, she gets to see some books hang with pegs and jars on the shelves. She manages to snatch one jar as she fall thinking that it is full of orange marmalade only to realize that it is empty. She refuses to release the jar after realizing that she might hurt someone at the bottom of the hole. This instance portrays her as a considerate and thoughtful young girl. She manages to put back the jar in one of the shelves.
The first character Alice encounters in the hole is White Rabbit who guides her at different instances of the adventure. She then meets the Caterpillar who is very wise sitting on a mushroom. Caterpillar gives Alice some remedy to control her growth at will. Carroll (1998) asserts that “and so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her face brightened up at the thought that she was now the right size for going through the little door into that lovely garden.” This incident happened after Alice to the prescription given to her by the Caterpillar. However, Caterpillar is not very friendly, but teaches Alice on how to eat the mushroom when she wants to be bigger or smaller. The caterpillar also helps Alice to put up with the problems she undergoes in Wonderland. Alice develops the ability to fit into her environment whenever such as a situation became a necessity. The other character that Alice meets is the Cat who has magical powers to either disappear or reappear at will. Funny enough, the Cat can disappear, but his big smile remains. This Cat symbolically represents the transition between infancy and adulthood where in some instances, a person engages in the things he or she did during infancy to put a smile on the face. The Cat explains to the young Alice that although rules are made to be followed, sometimes they are broken to achieve a particular end result. This instance reveals the fading away of innocence of a person as he or she grows from childhood to adulthood. When young, one is taught to follow rules, but when one grows up the innocence fades away and one does not follow the rules always as shown by the Smiling Cat.
Alice proceeds with her adventure and encounters The Queen of hearts together with Hatter. The two are the antagonists in the short story. The Queen of hearts is the tyrant ruler of Wonderland and Hatter leads the continuous tea time. The Queen is symbolic of an elderly person who has become intolerant and tyrannical. Alice continues to grow intellectually and becomes a reasonable person whereas the Queen grows old, but overly unreasonable. This instance is symbolic of the irony of growing up. When one is growing from childhood to adulthood, he or she becomes reasonable. However, when one grows senile, he or she loses the full touch of life and becomes unreasonable slowly. Alice then wakes up only to realize that she has been dreaming of the Wonderland.
Alice is the protagonist of this short story. The start of her adventure commences after she jumps into a rabbit hole going after the White Rabbit only to discover that the hole was bigger than she expected. Before she could react and retract, she realizes that she already started to fall. The hole is too deep that it takes her time to reach the ground, but she does not hurt after falling. Actually, she stands up in a moment after landing. The hole is symbolic of her journey from childhood to adulthood and the different characters and problems she encounters are symbolic of the things she will encounter as she grows up. When falling, she manages to take a jar labeled “Orange Marmalade” thinking that she might find something to eat when she reaches the bottom. However, she learns that the jar is empty. This frustration moment is symbolic of so many other moments that Alice will become frustrated in life when expecting something and not get it at the expected time.
Alice is considerate, thoughtful, and reasonable evident from the many instances in the short story where she makes reasonable decisions. For instance, when she takes the jar from a shelve and finds it empty she reasonably decides not to drop it even if she is falling on the thought that it might hurt someone at the bottom of the hole. Another instance where she acts reasonably is evident when she takes the prescription given by the Caterpillar to adjust to different environments by changing her size. Similarly, she reasonably refuses to conform to Caterpillar’s smoking lifestyle and becomes focused toward getting through her adventure. Alice shows an unusual poise for a young child, she is bright, and grows confident as the adventure progresses.
The White Rabbit is the first character that Alice meets before her adventure. She becomes curious and follows him into the hole and the adventure begins. Afterwards Alice learns that he works for Queen of hearts as a messenger in the Court. Alice comes across the mouse when she swims in the pool. This is when she knows that the pool is made of tears. Alice hates him especially when he tells her about being tried at the Court of King and Queen of hearts. The mouse is presented as being an overly sensitive character. Alice also encounters Bill, a lizard whose master is White Rabbit. After Alice takes the prescription given by Caterpillar, she becomes a giant and gets stuck in the house of the White Rabbit. At this instance, Alice gives a hard kick to Bill that sends him out through the chimney. Later, we learn that Bill is a member of the jury at the Court of King and Queen of hearts.
Caterpillar is presented as a very wise and enigmatic character who acts steadfastly all through the shot story. He offers some valuable advice to Alice on how to maneuver her way through the Wonderland. He also gives Alice a mushroom prescription that either makes her bigger or smaller at will when need arises. Alice encounters a Pigeon that safeguards her eggs fiercely from Alice thinking that she is a serpent who have come to steal her eggs. Alice convinces the Pigeon of her good intentions, but the Pigeon sends her away. The other character is Duchess. When Alice encounters Duchess, she is nursing an infant and she is presented as a highly offensive woman who endlessly quarrels with the cook. However, Duchess is sentenced to death. The cook is argumentative and has a notion that pepper should be applied as an ingredient to all types of food.
Alice gets concerned that the baby Duchess is nursing will be brought up in a brutal environment. She takes the child with her, but he becomes a pig. Cheshire cat is the other character that Alice encounters. He possesses both sharp claws and teeth. However, he is very helpful to Alice in spite of his fierce appearance. The Queen of Hearts is the other character in the short story presented as nasty and very brutal. All the people in Wonderland including Alice are frighten of her. The Queen overshadows the King because of her loudness. However, he is presented as stupid especially after Alice outshines him during the trial.
In conclusion, “Alice in the Wonderland” is a short story by Lewis Carroll. Alice is the main character who embarks in an adventure after falling in a deep hole when following the White Rabbit. Through Alice’s adventure, we come to meet different characters that she encounters and even understand their traits better. Throughout the book, Alice undergoes a series of development both intellectually and physically. This development is symbolic of the journey of life that an individual undergoes and the different characters she meets are symbolic of the challenges that one encounters.
Carroll, L. (1998). Alice’s adventures in wonderland (1st ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: BiblioBytes.