Carroll’s Writing Style: Interesting?

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has a fairly unique style. The author tells a main guideline of a story, but makes seemingly unimportant comments in parentheses, as well as uses capitalized words to stress his points, and he does it VERY often. His writing style also reflects Alice’s mind, as the trains of thought are quickly interrupted by other trains of thought and so on, just like the mind of a child around Alice’s age.

For example, you can see that Alice is easily distracted see right before she imbibes* in the bottle labeled ‘DRINK ME’ when she begins to recount stories about things that happened to other children, and the writing style feels as random as this.

The book seems to be written from the point of view of Alice, and this obscures the philosophy and references to the real world in the book (I’ll go more into detail on that later). Children look at everything with a sense of innocence, just like the children in Lord of the Flies do. Third person limited has a profound effect when being done from a child’s point of view, as it forces the reader to have to work to understand parts of the story, as they aren’t as easy to identify from a child’s perspective.

But, does Carroll want us to try to analyze and interpret these hidden meanings in his writing style?

He warns the readers of his fears of over analyzation in the introduction.

Given that, what is Carroll’s true goal?

* Note:

Our teacher has asked us, the students, to consider using our 10 SAT words this week. “Imbibe” is one of these words. For the rest of the week, 9 other words in my posts will be italicized for this reason.

Still curious about Carroll’s writing style? Check Benedikt’s (a blogger at one of our sister blogs) post, The Regained Innocence.


4 Responses to “Carroll’s Writing Style: Interesting?”

  1. December 18, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    I like that you included a vocabulary word! It would be interesting to focus on just those words that are capitalized and put them into a wordle of their own, and see what “comes out!”

  2. 2 Christian Long
    November 7, 2009 at 4:47 am

    BTW, I’m confused (or intrigued, perhaps) by one thing in your post.

    You suggest that “[Carroll] warns the readers of his fears of over analyzation in the introduction.”

    Are you sure it is Carroll? If it is, can you quote it so I can shake the cobwebs from my own memory? If it isn’t, who did warn the reader about this tendency?

  3. 3 Alex D.
    November 6, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Yea, I know what you mean – I kept wondering why “very” was italicized throughout the book. It seemed like it was an unnecessary word in all instances it was used, you know? Reading your comment about the point of view, I’m a bit uncertain about the way Carroll used it… It is third person limited, so we see the world as if hovering above Alice, looking at Wonderland, but I doubt it is necessary. It might as well be first person since Alice says all her thoughts aloud.

  4. October 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I think that Carroll never wanted anyone to analyze Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He wrote it out of his love for Alice Liddell, not so his precious childhood fairytale could be ripped to shreads by the analytical minds. In the Introduction, Gardner refers to Gilbert K. Chesterton’s opinion of Alice, basically saying how once you analyze the story, you kill the entirety of the story itself. The whole childhood innocence and playfulness implodes once you start to take it apart.

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