The "Alice Project"

A 10th Grade Honors English Tour of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

Day 8 Recommendations November 4, 2009

Filed under: Student Entries,Week 1 of the Project — Christian Long @ 12:24 am

The following are a few student posts that caught my eye on Day 6 of the 6-week “Alice Project” detailing the discoveries made by my 3 Honors English 10 classes.

Feel free to leave comments on any of of the students’ entries that catch your attention.

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Team #1:

  • Writing and Death “, Alex C. Excerpt:  “I say high school students last because most high school students would not read this story, unless they were required to do so. Adults read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland because they are required, by some supernatural force (as parents), to read the story to their kids. It’s interesting that not even a novelist, but a mathematician, has the imagination to create a story now worth millions.”
  • People Turning Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland “, Erin M. Excerpt:  “Like many authors, Lewis Carroll was fascinated with psychic phenomena and automatic writing. He was not trying to send a message about human nature or the structure of society. He did not intend for readers to glean a specific lesson from Alice and her story. On an individual basis, the story lends itself to many analytical interpretations, but these are the works of the reader.”
  • Alice vs. The Matrix “, Alex C. Excerpt:  “I was confused by Mr. Long’s comment and Carroll’s writing. If Mr. Long is correct about his comment then why does Carroll write about things that are not possible, such as falling down a hole and being able to grab objects while falling. Do you think that this book was written for children or adults, and do you think if  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is ruined if it is over-analyzed?”
  • The Mouse in the Water “, Hagen F. Excerpt:  “Just as in Alice’s case when she is ’swimming in her sadness’ and the little mouse falls in as well and her sad mood causes him trouble, in addition to the other animals that fall victim to her tears. Alice’s self-pity causes trouble not only for herself, but for the other animals that are now struggling in the water. The mouse, and other animals have trouble with the water and it is all because of Alice’s self-pity.”

Team #2

Team #3

  • Changing Sizes “, Colton C. Excerpt:  “I think Carroll is sending a message about a child’s innocence. She doesn’t instantly think about the bigger problem of her growing so big. She didn’t think that if she grew too big that she would die. Then she starts talking to herself about having the bigger shoes. I don’t really know what Carroll is doing with Alice’s conversation with herself. Is he telling us that children’s minds can wander off even when there are more pressing matters going on around them.”
  • Who Am I?“, Colton C. Excerpt:  “During Alice’s time in the tunnel, she could not remember who she was. She thought because she did not feel like herself, than she was somebody else. She thought to herself about all of the girls her age that she could have changed to. For some reason this is not unusual to Alice. Throughout most of the book, Alice has had a wild imagination. Almost nothing seems weird or unusual to her. And just because she did not feel the same, she immediately thought that she was somebody else.”
  • Alice’s Tumble “, Ryan S. Excerpt:  “The idea of the rabbit hole and Alice’s tumble down it, means very little to me, her transition through our realm to theirs, could have been just as simple as walking through a door. However, the metaphorical waiting room we find Alice and ourselves in next is far more interesting. Whether Alice is dreaming or not, we do not know, but for the sake of argument let’s say she isn’t. If she is sleeping than this is merely a step down her path to her dreams in wonderland. If she’s not sleeping and the happy world of wonderland is a world under the very feet of our own, then I submit to you, that this room with the golden key, is a gateway to many realms not just the wonderlandian’s.”
  • The Lord of the Flies “, Ryan S. Excerpt:  “Throughout history and pop culture, whenever there is a profit figure they use drugs to either get a spiritual “high”, or else to enter a dream or trance like state, that allows a better understanding. Examples, are everywhere from, Native American Indian warriors, to Kobala form “Battlestar Galactica”. One thing Alice is famous for is its political and spiritual humor through the use of wonderlandian characters. By accepting that the Caterpillar and its hookah are a part of that we get a better understanding of why Lewis Carroll would have this character, “under the influence””

Team #4

  • What Would Alice’s Feet Do? “, Angela W. Excerpt:  “When Alice is worried about her feet not going in the direction she desires, I find it interesting because how does Alice know where she wants to go? She is in a rabbit hole and has no idea what is going on or where to go. Carroll might be suggesting another ‘adult’ like trait, in which resembling a sense of direction and calmness. But the truth is, she is a young girl who has no idea where she is or where to go. Where would Alice’s feet go if she had no control?”
  • Analyzing Illustration “, Angela W. Excerpt:  “When we read the text and she is getting taller we would think her full body is getting bigger but in perspective of the rest of her body. When we look at this picture, only her neck is elongated while nothing else is proportionally correct. Why would this be? Carroll could be suggesting that Alice is loosing her sanity (mind)  because of her head being so far away from the rest of her body. Think about it, of course Alice is loosing her mind. She has seen a rabbit with a pocket watch talking, fallen down a rabbit hole, transformed sizes, and in this chapter, she talks to a mouse, first in english then in french. It would only make sense that Alice is loosing her sanity, but i find it interesting that this illustration is put into the book.”
  • “Of Mice and [Wo]men” “, Derek M. Excerpt:  “She is always trying to make everyone in this world happy, but one theme in the book is that no two things are alike. The theme translates  into the two separate worlds, showing the unrealistic as well as realistic views because in one place some things are strange, but in another they are common. This seems to be a theme that Carroll is playing around with in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Does Alice have to show her two different sides to fit in the fantastical and realistic world?”
  • Pool of Consequences “, Brittany M. Excerpt:  “When the cake  causes Alice to grow to a unhuman size, she begins to cry giant tears which she soon finds herself swimming in while hanging on for dear life. If she had investigated the liquid as well as the cake more thoroughly she may not have been in the situation of nearly drowning from her own tears. How many times in life do we simply accustom ourselves to our surroundings without stopping and thinking out what exactly we are doing or have gotten ourselves into?”

Team #5

  • Merely Innocent? “, Katherine H. Excerpt:  “Lewis Carroll had a specific love for little girls, only little girls. His story includes a statement in which he avoided little boys as much as possible. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland thus far has not emphasized anything much inappropriate towards little girls. Though it seems an innocent parental-like action, Carroll had a set of safety pins for little girls to pin their skirts up to play in the waves. If it had been a mother or father to do this, it would not be so strange.”
  • The Pioneer of the “Dream Sequence” ‘”, Sylvia A. Excerpt:  “This book was written with such vivid imagination and intricate riddles, that as people we accept it and even enjoy the ending. After the crazy journey Alice goes through, the reader wants an ending that can peacefully end the book with out more perplexing ideas. Most of them are still trying to figure out The White Rabbit. The ending also gives us time to wonder what path the story would have taken if all of Alice’s encounters were real and this was just another facet of Alice’s reality.”
  • It Could Be Real “,  Rivu D. Excerpt:  “Probably the most interesting concept is the idea of two different and distinct worlds. Many books have played around with a magical land before Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but why is Alice so special? Perhaps because the idea of both a wonderland and a real world is a perfectly real possibilty. Right now, there could be a rabbit hole somewhere near you that leads to a magical place that completely defies all logic. Perhaps some people realized this, and fell in love with the idea of there being a world with different rules, a world where things didnt have to make sense. The statement may seem a bit ludacris, but you could be sitting above a wonderland right this second, and you wouldnt know it. At the time this was probably a breakthrough concept, and perhaps it still is.”
  • Following Her Own Footsteps “, Sylvia A. Excerpt: “Are her feet controlling her? Or is it the fact that she gets “curiouser and curiouser” that propels Alice further into the heart of Wonderland? Her feet could be either hindering her journey, by not taking the right path, or they could be the catalysts of her adventure by helping her advance through this new world. What do you think?”
  • A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words “, Sylvia A. Excerpt: “This strange picture shows Alice after she is “shutting up like a telescope” (page 17). Alice is only elongated from the neck up. Is this supposed to mean Alice is losing her head (as in mind, sense of reality, and focus…and maybe literally too!)? While this is happening she is also loosing sight of her feet which, for me, symbolize her path* and the force enabling her to move through Wonderland. This makes it almost seem like Alice is loosing her way, but how can she loose her way when there is no destination in the first place? The Cheshire cat will give us more to chew on on the that subject soon enough.”
  • Going Once, Going Twice, Going Twelve Times“, Rivu D. Excerpt:  “My personal interpretation deals with the idea that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a full fledged coming of age story, with Alice growing not only physically, represented by the frequent changes in size, but also mentally. Perhaps the size changes also represent how Alice’s mind is growing and accepting new ideas, ideas that would be considered crazy in the world away from her wonderland.”
  • Step 2: Refusal Of The Call “, Melissa H. Excerpt:  “While I’ve been reading I haven’t found the ‘refusal of the call.’ This may be because it’s too early in the story or it may be that it will never happen. Alice seems to be up for anything. She goes into the rabbit hole (not knowing where it leads), she drinks the bottle that states “drink me“, and the once again she eats the cake. So, step two wasn’t fulfilled by Alice. Alice isn’t on the path to becoming much of a hero to me anymore. She now just seems like an average girl whose looking for something fun and interesting to do!”
  • Two People and Four Personalities “, Rivu D. Excerpt:  “When one looks at Lewis Carroll and his character Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one can begin to see that each of them has two distinct personalities, perhaps conflicting. Lewis Carroll’s personality  can be divided into two basic groups. One of them being that of an author of fictional children’s books and a lover of children, and one being the sickly Oxford mathematician. Why does this matter? Because Alice seems to have two personalities as well, the little girl who uses reason and logic and the little girl who believes in and follows the rules of a  magical wonderland. But why does this all matter?”
  • “Banned Book?“, Melissa H. Excerpt:  “In 1931, China decided that it wasn’t appropriate to place animals on the same level as humans. The book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was forbidden. The governor didn’t like the story because it demonstrated that animals were using human language. In my personal opinion, I don’t see anything wrong with this. It’s a story meant to keep kids wondering, laughing, and keep them wanted to explore. Putting animals in stories that talk doesn’t seem offense at all. Now my question to you is what is your opinion about this situation? Do you think it was right to ban the book for putting animals on the same level as humans?”
  • Hookah For Everyone “, Melissa H. Excerpt:  “rroll makes a statement in the book, “Alice felt a little irritated at the Caterpillar’s making such very short remarks…” This could definitely be a side effect of him smoking this hookah. He doesn’t seem like he is all there and into the conversation. He has to repeat himself very many times and kept asking Alice.. “Who are you?” Although smoking hookah may not be nearly as bad as smoking a cigarette, I think it was wrong of Carroll to put this is a children’s book. It could put parents in awkward situation if a young one asks what hookah is.”

Team #6

  • “Unanswered Questions”, Caroline M. Excerpt: “We may never know the purpose behind Carrol’s writing style that seems aimed at adult and children as said in Kristen’s blog entry, “Adult Lessons Laced With Whimsy”. The mysteries behind the authors, and why their brains work the way they do, and why they wrote what they wrote is, for me, one of the most interesting parts of a book. The thought of not knowing the whys is far more intriguing than comprehending it all. As annoying as it is to not know everything, it’s fun and more open-ended, to believe what you want and have your own wonderland.”

Team #7

  • Is It Really That Big a Deal?“, Alex D. Excerpt:  “Many book critics and avid readers have taken Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and made such a big deal about it, which is what puzzles me. Although being in Mr. Long’s class has forever taught me to look past the words written, I can’t help but feel that many people are over-analyzing this book. There is no way I can unlearn my new desire to try to connect everything I read with a bigger picture, but what if there is no bigger picture in this story.
  • “Misadventure(s) in the Hall: Analysis of Chapter Two (1 of 2)“, Connor M. Excerpt:  “As I have proposed in my analysis of Chapter One entry, the hall could have been a sort of security system. Clearly this world and its inhabitants are irrational and illogical compared to the “real world,” so maybe anyone of the regular world would be shut out from the startling puzzle of the key and the door. All others would easily enter their world, for they did not use rational thinking, and were, in a way, “mad.” It would be an ingenious system.”
  • “Intruders will Be Overwhelmingly Confused”, Connor M. Excerpt:  “Alice begins talking to herself all over again, proposing that maybe she has become someone else, this place is so queer. Who is she now? She is certainly the same person, we say, but a change has certainly begun. This “world” is opening her up to new and very strange things. There is no way to return the same, as symbolized from the long fall through the rabbit-hole. Also, as she says, she’ll “stay down here till (she’s) somebody else.” (page 24 of Annotated Alice)”
  • “Cats, Dogs, and a Talking Mouse: Analysis of Chapter 2 (Part 2 of 2)“, Lindsay R. Excerpt:  “This seems like a reoccuring theme in the book and I think this has to do with some type of symbolism that we will find out later in the book. Alice keeps referring to the mouse as “O mouse” as she talks to it. Referring to the mouse like this shows that again she was trying to sound smart, like in Chapter One, by using it from Latin Grammar. It is also present that Alice is not very good at history because she possibly thought the mouse was French and came over with William the Conquerer. Thoroughout this book Lewis Carroll shows many spots where Alice is not very smart and says the wrong things.”
  • A Staged Arrival to Wonderland?” Keith C. Excerpt: “In my opinion the bottle did not even have to say, drink me on  it, and  she still would have drank it. To me it is like someone is watching Alice through her trials and setting her up for the next round and giving her options for her obstacles.”

Team #8

  • Journey or Destination?“, Hersh T. Excerpt:  “As this is a child’s book it seems as though it is very desultory and just jumbled around. However, it also gives us the feeling that Carroll knows where he is going. He distracts us with the rabbit hole, the drink, the cake etc. and leaves us to find our own path. But, if we know where we are going and where he is leading us, then do you think it changes our path and vision?”
  • Is It Necessary?“, Daniel L. Excerpt:  “The one thing that I have noticed about many children’s story today is that there is alot of adult humor in them. The reason this happens is because the movie director’s think that they have to have the adults involved in the movie in order for them to go see it. Now as a kid, you don’t realize the adult humor because you don’t understand it.”
  • Curiosity as Protection?“, Hersh T. Excerpt:  “Would she not be completely scared and running for her life? As I read this story the feelings of shock and fear pervaded my mind yet this little girl is completely calm and even wanting to know more?! When we are curious are we able to do more than we normally can do?”
  • We Are Wrong, and We Like It“, Hersh T. Excerpt:  “However, the thrill of discovering something new or intriguing, and the ability to be able to draw conclusions that make sense is something that we all wish to achieve. Matin Gardner, the annotater, does not know everything. His actions and annotations are solely based on an assumption that was based on an assumption that was based on an assumption and this continues on until we reach a final fact. This means that if one assumption was wrong then this overall equation is wrong. However, the knowledge and excitement we gain from making these educated guesses provides us with an invaluable skill. When we realize that what we are analyzing could truly be just a wild goose chase that makes absolutely no sense, it frees us.”

Team #9

  • Age is but a Number“, Beth A. Excerpt: “Whoever said that adults know more? Yes, they are wiser as their years go on, but kids have something that many adults often forget about as they get older-how to live a little. Yes, there are many that have fun with their children, and kudos to them.  However, that tight rope that adults have to balance on is a tricky one.”
  • A Race of Life and Politics“, Benedikt K. Excerpt:  “But I like to think of the Caucus race as something different, yet related. Just like politicians when they run for office, we oftentimes run in circles in our daily lives. Life itself, so it seems, is a constant struggle that cannot be won and is as repetitive as running in a circle. We oftentimes ask ourselves why we even keep on going, when we think we never can win. But after some time we realize that we do win. We do get our own piece of Comfit, made up of the toiling and the perils of life. It is the experience that makes us win, it is the action that emerges victorious.”
  • Alice’s Own Pandora’s Box“, Beth A. Excerpt:  “Pandora is told not to open the box or jar (Alice is probably told not to wander off, considering she is a child) but temptation lures her to open it (Alice follows the white rabbit), and all of the world’s evils come out (Alice is lost and confused and scared) yet, at the very bottom of the box laid Hope. Now, Alice’s ‘hope’ is the hope to get home and out of this strange world. All she wants is to see her cat, Dinah, and be home before supper.”
  • We Are the Difference“, Benedikt K. Excerpt: “And here we come to my final, oh so wonderfully biased conclusion. The youth is the answer. We are the ones to be molded, or rather to be prevented from molding. Control the youth and you shall conquer the world. Let them control themselves and humanity is better off than you could ever imagine. Give the youth the ability to think for themselves and you have created an avalanche of thought prone to destroy whatever may come into its way. Any problem could be solved by this generation of thinkers. Just make sure that it’s not you.”
  • Lost in a Haze“, Gabriella B. Excerpt:  “If looked at from the perspective of a dreamer perhaps Alice is experiencing bouts of near wakefulness and is therefore able to dredge up these twisted connections to reality. Or perhaps the more likely scenario is that these common place items are only thrown in to keep the reader from being drawn to deeply into the strange world of wonderland. So in the end has Wonderland become a hodgepodge of whimsical acts through which Alice wonders or is there some underlying factor which governs this alternate reality?”

Team #10

  • Who’s the Dealer?“, Shannon L. Excerpt:  “I immediately thought of the song “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane. That song made me think the rabbit represents a drug dealer and the watch represents the drugs, while Alice represents the addict. In the song “White Rabbit“, she describes Alice being addicted to the rabbit. Carroll maybe using the rabbit hole as a symbol for Alice’s first instance of drug use. Her fall indicates her immediate addiction. When Alice is falling down the rabbit hole, she is in an almost “dreamlike” and relaxed state.”

Team #11

  • The Real Alice“, Scott M. Excerpt:  “The real Alice Lidell seems just like any other normal little girl in the fact that she is rambunctious and careless, but she is more mature in how she has feelings for others. If Lewis Carroll really did use Alice Lidell as the base for his story’s character, then he executed it perfectly, as she has the perfect children’s story personality, as well as the average little girl’s personality.”
  • Where Would We Be…“, team in general. Excerpt:  “I have a question for my fellow classmates: Do you honestly think we could be analyzing Alice’s adventures without first deciphering Lord of the Flies? Yes, we were intelligent before tenth grade English (if I may toot our horns), but do you all think that Lord of the Flies helped substantially towards our ability to really understand what Carroll wrote?”

Team #12

  • Dig Deeper?“, Vivian H. Excerpt:  “However even with the interest of the children taking first priority, we must not forget the nature of the author. Carroll was a mathematician who loved to create puzzles for the mind. His writing seem to provoke thought, allowing any person to notice a few coincidences. It may be that Carroll could not completely cut off his own voice and instead hid it in the double meanings of his words. There are times when speculation seems apparent, and times when all the events seem random. This may have been intentional, a simple puzzling tale given to deeper thought, if pursued.”

Team #13

  • Alice’s Right Foot“, Susan C. Excerpt: “Is all of this ridiculous pondering an attempt by Alice to deal with her situation? Perhaps, but I find it much more likely that he added this whole discussion to make the Liddell girls laugh at Alice’s silliness. But hey, it worked didn’t it. I don’t know about you, but that passage made me chuckle. It is definitely worth reading again for a good laugh, just as I’m sure Carroll intended it to be.”
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