Identity Crisis

As Alice is talking to the caterpillar he asks her who she is:

“I – I hardly know, Sir, just at present – at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must hae been changed several times since then.”

Usually when someone asks me who I am, I am able to tell them just who I am. Alice seems to have a bit of trouble with this. She feels that after growing and shrinking so much that she no longer has a true identity, and she doesn’t really “know” who she is. A similar situation is like in the song “Horse With No Name.” He says,

“I’m walking in the desert with a horse with no name. In the desert you can’t remember your name, because there ain’t no one for to give you no name.”

This can also be seen in Lord of the Flies as the boys are on the island longer and longer. One of the younger boys, Percival, starts off being able to tell the other boys his full name, address, and telephone number. Toward the end of the story he slowly forgets some of the details until he can no longer even remember his own name.

No to play a different card of this situation is to say that Alice’s journey in Wonderland actually shows her who she really is, instead of who she acts like. She just thinks she doesn’t know who she is, because she doesn’t recognize this person that is coming out during this adventure.


5 Responses to “Identity Crisis”

  1. December 18, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    What great insights in this post. I love how you tied in other literary works that raise the same questions too.

    There are times in life when people lose their way, and the things they thought defined them don’t anymore–(like being a parent, or a child, or an employee, etc.) The examples you gave captured this perfectly.

    What does define us? Is it our names? Is it those around us? Is it our jobs, our roles?

    Excellent job of drawing our attention to this theme in the book–loved it!

  2. 2 Katherine H.
    December 2, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Of course you don’t need someone else to tell you who you are. You are who you are and that’s that. If you change into a different person, you actually aren’t a different person, you’re still you.

    Confusing isn’t it?

    Well it doesn’t have to be. How can Alice even compirle the thoughts and words to express who she is in Wonderland? After a mad queen, a frightened rabbit, and talking cards how can she even know what is down and who is up?

  3. 3 Abbie P.
    December 2, 2009 at 5:00 am

    I really liked your last sentece, to be honest. Well, I liked the idea of the entire thing, but the last sentence really caught my eye. Isn’t that true of all of us when we change? When we do realize that we’ve changed, we no longer feel as though we know ourselves. One of the hardest things in the world to do is write about yourself, because you don’t exactly know who you are. Do you go based off what other people see, or what you see? Those could be two completely different people.

    Also, in that chapter, I thought it was really cute how she said that once they told her who she was, she wouldn’t come up until it was someone she liked being! That really made me happy, because well, we all want to love who we are. It’s just hard sometimes.

  4. December 1, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I do not think that you need someone else to tell you who you are. Who cares if someone else thinks you are something if you know you are something else? You do need anyone else to define you as a person. You can act like one thing, but that may not be who you actually are. You see that all the time, people trying to change the way they act and dress just be seen differently by someone to be accepted by another group. Just because you change what other people see and think about you, that does not change who you are. But the story does not really do a very good job of showing who Alice really is. All it shows is how she acts. Or maybe that is who she is, an innocent little girl who just wants to play and explore a fantasy land.

  5. 5 Melissa H.
    November 20, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Good point made. I love how you pointed out that Alice actually shows her who she really is instead of who she acts like. I think it is kind of weird that she loses her identity. I understand it more on the Lord of the Flies subject since the boys are literally changing into bad kids. Alice is changing sizes. Wouldn’t that kind of be like people changing their hair color? Or something similar to that? I wouldn’t think that most people forget who they are just because they changed one thing about themselves. The boys on the island have been completely transformed and have been disturbed by what they have been through. Alice is just experiencing a dream… but I guess that can be confusing because you can’t necessarily control it right?

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