03
Dec
09

Welcome to the Real World

In Chapter 11, Alice notices the jurors writing on slates. The Gryphon tells her that they are putting their names down in case they forget them by the end of the trial. Alice replies:

“Stupid things!”

Now that the book is starting to reach a close, the denizens of Wonderland seem to start getting closer to their real life counterparts. The animals are starting to reach normal levels of intelligence (for animals, at least), and the cards are getting stupider as well. For instance, when Alice steals a pencil from Bill the lizard to stop the obnoxious squeaking of the pencil, Bill absent-mindedly hunts for it, gives up, and then attempts to write with his finger.

Does he not realize that fingers do not write on slate? Apparently not.  Earlier in the story, when the animals seemed considerably more intelligent, they would not have made such a silly mistake. And the King is spouting nonsense throughout the chapter with his misinterpretations of how law works.

You can see this again in the illustration where Tenniel draws a pack of cards flying towards Alice.

If you look at it closely, a few of the cards still have some human characteristics (noses, to be exact), but otherwise they are plain olf cards that are starting to get closer and closer to the correct size (using Alice as a basis for a correct size). If you look again, the White Rabbit has also lost a bit of clothing and runs around like a normal animal just like all of the others. Tenniel and Carroll work together to subtly transition the book from dream world to the real world by slightly changing the behavior of the Wonderland inhabitants. It’s remarkable how the illustrator managed to catch these little details of Carroll and managed to fit them in.

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1 Response to “Welcome to the Real World”


  1. 1 Kari Augustine
    December 18, 2009 at 3:25 am

    The changes are subtle — you’ve made some good observations.


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