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PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is a novel that appeals not only to children but also to the adult. It is not a fairy tale in the traditional sense of the term. It is an experience of the mind in its process of maturing from childhood to adulthood.
During the years when human beings travel through from their childhood to adulthood through adolescence, they are hardly aware of what exactly happened during the process of change. What were the factors that went into making them what they are? Does everything around us exert their influence on us? These are some of the questions that Lewis Carroll tries to answer. He makes an attempt to portray to the readers a picture of how an individual ‘changes’ and what happens in the process of ‘change’.
A psychological maturing occurs when Alice finds herself alone and, at times, neglected in the Wonderland. She learns to fend for herself and realizes the need to maintain her identity at all costs. More than once, she is misunderstood by the creatures in Wonderland. It is through her eyes that the author comments on various diverse issues, like hypocrisy, greed, power, and even sexuality.
Although the animals in Wonderland are recognizable cartoon figures, due to the changes in size that Alice undergoes, she reacts in fear at times when the normal human reaction would be affection. Children generally like animals. However, here, each animal signifies a human trait. Thus, Alice’s observations enable her to understand certain facts of life, like death and growth.
Carroll has much to convey to his readers regarding language. While some of the "nonsense" in Alice is merely for satirical effect, certain pointed statements are really insights into human personality. Besides, since the novel is an outcome of a dream, one cannot tie up the loose ends. This is a deliberate device on the part of Carroll, for this way, the reader is free to evolve her/his own understanding of the text.
The edict uttered by the Queen of Hearts "Off with their heads!", summarizes the state of justice in the land, where the monarch’s word is law. Anything/ anyone that displeases the monarch is liable for punishment.
Carroll’s concept of time is worthy of taking note. In Wonderland the normal conception of time is reversed. Each person’s understanding of time differs, depending upon her/his experiences of the past and present.
Also, though this is a fairy tale, like most fairy tales, the novel does not commence with the proverbial
Once upon a time---
and does not conclude with the cliché
---and they lived happily ever after.
It is this sense of merging the land of ‘wonder’, the empirical reality of Alice and that of the reader that lends to the novel its credibility. It is this that makes it a novel which has stood the test of time.