Lewis Carroll's Brainchild


When a person thinks of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
they immediately think of Cheshire cats, queens, kings,
white rabbits, tea parties and many other wonderful
childhood fantasies. Lewis Carroll was an amazing writer
who brought them back to their own tea parties with their
stuffed animals and their dreams of being a princess. He
had a knack for being able to make the oldest person feel
as if he/she was seven and a half, and following a rabbit,
or any other animal that people have such a good time
chasing, when they were young. That is what most people
think of when they see, or hear the words "Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland". What they don't think of are the
oddities Lewis Carroll put so much thought into while
writing the book. 

Lewis Carroll was not his real name. Carroll's real name
was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Lewis Carroll is a mixed up
version of Charles and Lutwidge he thought up.(Cyclopedia
325) He was born and raised as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson,
and he just used Lewis Carroll as his pseudonym for his
later writings. He was born on January 27, 1832 as the
eldest of eleven children of Rev. Charles Dodgson and Mary
Lutwidge. He grew up with great love and affection for his
mother, and some critics believe that relationship is the
reason for his not being capable of having mature feelings
for any grown woman.(Kelly 2) He had influences of nonsense
writing from the time he was eight. His father wrote him
letters describing things that would make no sense to
anyone, but Carroll and his father. Many of these writings
influenced some of the scenes from Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass.(Kelly 2) As a
child Carroll always had a lack self confidence, and many
think was this brought about because of his stammering, and
his parents trying to correct his left- handedness. In his
later years he was greatly disturbed by his lack self
confidence and tried to get help from a professional. This
did not help him, and he had to live with his stammer for
the rest of his life. During his later years he became a
teacher at Oxford. He spent many years here, but never
thought of it like he did of his house when he was growing
up. There are many known experiences when he was younger
where he and his sisters and brothers would play train, and
he would make up many nonsense rules like those when Alice
is in the train and trying to get to the eighth square. He
also wrote many mathematical books. These books were always
signed Charles Lutwidge Dodgson because these books were
very boring and not at all like his other writings. He
never signed these Lewis Carroll. This is how Lewis Carroll
grew up and started his life. 

When an adult thinks of children's stories, Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass may
be two of the books that they would read to their children
at night before bed, or just to read a book to get their
concept of reading across. It was written like this for a
purpose, to prove that children have thought as complicated
and even more so than adults. This book was written for,
about, and in the minds of children. He had a special
affection for children and many of his best friends were
children, and that is who Lewis Carroll wrote for. He
thought about children all the time and since he had none
of his own he became very attached to three young girls;
Lorina, Edith, and Alice Liddell. Alice Liddell was the
namesake for the book. He first wrote this book for them
and they were the first to hear it. He read it to them on a
boat ride around a small lake and this was the first
reading of The Adventures of Alice Underground. While
writing these books he put himself in the place of a seven
year old girl. The little girl in the book is said to be
Alice Liddell because Carroll had a great affection for
her. He loved her dearly so he wrote about her, and this
was not the only time that he wrote about her. He also
wrote about her in his other works. By putting himself in
the place of Alice he thought he knew what to write so that
the book would be adored by children everywhere, especially
the Liddell sisters.
Even though he was writing these books for children they
were so complicated that many children did not understand
them. Critics believe that there is a lot of hidden meaning
in these books, and what Carroll is saying is not exactly
what he means. This is why many critics say that Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are
not necessarily children books. Many critics feel that if
children read these books they may get trapped in the story
and never realize love, relations, space, time and
words(Krutch NP). As noted by one critic, "The books are
not books for children, but books where we become
children"(Rackin 266). Critics feel that as an analytic
interpretation is developed in Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland the question of Carroll's values for the mental
health or education of children is meaningless(Grotjahn
41). Many people do not agree with this statement and think
that what Carroll was writing for was to give children the
rights and the attention that they believe. During these
times children were thought of as mostly decoration to show
off their parents' wealth. They were also being forgot
about with all the use a opium and the effects that the
drug had on the children of the time. 

Drug use is prevalent in the different scenes of the book.
The caterpillar smoking the hook, and the baby turning into
a pig and running away is one example of drug use in the
books. In Carroll's time five out of six families used
opium as a mind altering drug, and many experiences in
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland could have resulted from
opium use. It has been proven opium would cause babies to
shrivel up like old men, and is shown when Alice and the
baby are walking through the woods, and the baby turns into
a pig(Connell www). It has also been said Carroll might
have used other examples of drug use in the book . When
Alice eats and drinks all the different substances, and she
doesn't know what they are, and they don't make her feel
very well, these may also represent mind altering
experiences. Some people also feel, if Carroll did use
opium use in the book, then he was just using it to show
the effects it had on children. They say he was trying to
help the children. It might have affected the way people
thought about opium and may have helped with its decline in
popularity(Connel www).
As if the book was not already confusing enough Lewis
Carroll put in many odd reversals, puns, and mirror
writings. These were his favorite ways to get the attention
of readers. Many critics have said since Carroll was
backwards he liked to get revenge by doing some reversals
of his own(Kelly 2). The idea of Through the Looking Glass
might have come from his fascination of the reversals and
such. The puns show how the conversations were set up, and
the nonsense thought that went into the books. He also
liked mirror writings [evil:live]. They are very prevalent
in his writings. He had many different puns such as when
the flowers are talking about the bark on a dog and trees.
They say something like "bow-wow", "bough-wough" and "Jam
every other day means no jam today for, today isn't any
other day". Puns were used to confuse the readers, and many
critics feel that this is one reason Alice's Adventures
Underground is not really a book for children.
One of the biggest questions that children are forever
asking parents are also the hardest for parents to come up
with answers to. Such questions are where do babies come
from and why are my sister and I different from each other.
Part of the answers to those questions might be helpfully
answered in Alice's Adventures Underground and Through the
Looking Glass. This is why many critics say that these
children books are not really for children, because of the
prevalence of the sexually symbolism. Many feel the books
represent a trip back into the mother's womb. An example of
this is found when the White Rabbit leads Alice down the
rabbit hole, and the descent is very slow. Also many of the
characters represent the sexual feelings of Charles
Lutwidge Dodgson. The Queen of Hearts is seen as
"uncontrolled animal passion seen through the clear but
blank eyes of sexlessness."(Rakin 241) The writing of Otto
Fenichel said Alice can be compared to a phallus. He said
the equation "Girl-Phallus" represents what Carroll
fantasized about. To fully understand what Carroll talks
about in the book the reader must be aware the phallus can
only be represented by a young sexually undifferentiated
girl, not a boy(Grotjahn 36). There are many places in the
book where Alice gets upset and angers very easily. There
is then a sudden deflation that has "good, physical erotic,
climatic patterns"(Rakin 320) After these explosions by
Alice many of the characters are for some reason afraid of
Alice as if she were destructive in some way. When Alice
first grows to be ten feet tall in the beginning of the of
her journey, when she is trapped in the little room with
all the doors, she says that she wants to "shut up like a
telescope: and with the help of some magic fluid she is
only ten inches"(Grotjahn 38). Because of her ever changing
body size she became overly frustrated with herself, and
she never ate a whole magic cake, or drank a whole bottle
of the magic fluids. This made her orally frustrated, and
more excitable and nervous. All this sexual symbolism can
make one wonder what the book is really about and if it is
really for children or not. Some people may think that it
is not, and others think that this symbolism is all just to
put one other great children's author to shame. 

This research paper showed that there are some doctors, and
critics who read way too far into pieces of literature that
are for children and aren't supposed to have all this
double meanings. When Lewis Carroll wrote this book he
wrote it to entertain the three Liddell sisters. That was
his main purpose, and he did accomplish that while he also
accomplished making many other children happy and making
them have an imagination during a time when imagination was
something that was looked down upon. Carroll's brothers and
sisters were taken aback by all the talk of the double
meaning and they said that Carroll would be taken aback
also. This is nonsense and that these critics should look
at some of the real garbage that is written in toady's
society. That is what really needs to be criticized and not
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. That is a harmless
children's book that is beautifully written, illustrated,
and the language makes it that more mysterious in the
meaning. Many beliefs on the book is that it does have some
sort of double meaning, but none that the critics are
discussing in the different books today. It has some other
meaning which would only be understood by a child , and not
an adult. It is one of the greatest books of all times and
I think that is what people should think of when they read
this book, and not sex, and drugs. This book is obviously a
daydream of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and as many other
people would like to he wrote about it, and made his dreams
a reality

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