A First Address

In chapter 11 of Alice in Wonderland, Alice is called on trial, by name. Now, it might seem strange that I would make a big deal about this fact, but it is the first time Alice is actually addressed by name. It is even at in an interesting position in the chapter. The very last line.

“Imagine her surprise, when the White Rabbit read out, at the top of his shrill little voice, the name ‘Alice!'”

Alice goes along through Wonderland, and the book is written in 3rd person. You never really notice that no one ever addresses her as her name. Why? Because she doesn’t ever tell anyone her name. If you think about it, only one character asks who she is, the caterpillar, and she can’t answer him because she does not know.

The fact that only the caterpillar asks for her name shows you what the other creatures in Wonderland thought of her. They never really bothered to know her. They just called her “little girl” or never addressed her at all. It is quite understandable since they probably didn’t care about some newcomer to their world.

Also, the fact that Alice can’t even say who she is makes me think that she didn’t care that much about her own identity. Now, I’m not meaning to contradict myself from my other blog Identity Crisis. I am just putting more to it. I think that as she travels through Wonderland she realizes just how important her identity is, and she really discovers herself.

Now, there are many reasons as to why Carroll would only address his main character, in dialogue, only once. First off, it could be just to see if anyone was paying attention. Also, he was trying to send a message to young Alice Liddell. He wanted to show her, through Alice, just how important it was to know who you are.


1 Response to “A First Address”

  1. December 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Interesting point–hadn’t really noticed that!

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