Novels for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & by Gale Group, Deborah Stanley

By Gale Group, Deborah Stanley

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On July 4, 1862, the four of them, in company with Reverend Robinson Duckworth, took a boat trip up the Thames River. As they traveled upstream, Dodgson told the story that would become Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Alice Liddell. She later recorded that she was so enchanted with the story that she demanded he write it down for her. He did so, and on November 26, 1864, he presented a handwritten and selfillustrated copy of the story to her, under the title Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.

The Cat reappears and provokes an argument between the executioner and The King of Hearts about whether one can decapitate a bodiless character. The Cheshire Cat’s grin is one of the most debated questions about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Why does the Cheshire Cat grin? There was a common phrase in Carroll’s time, “to grin like a Cheshire Cat,” but no one really knows how the phrase originated. One theory holds that the grin 2 3 A l i c e ’ s A d v e n t u r e s i n W o n d e r l a n d is based on pictures of grinning lions that a local painter used to paint on the signboards of inns.

Even the animals she encounters treat her as a Victorian adult might treat a small child. The White Rabbit and the Caterpillar order her about. They also break the rules of politeness that adults have drilled into Alice. The Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and (to a lesser extent) the Dormouse are all rude to her in various degrees. They also break the rules of logic that Alice has been taught to follow. It is not until Alice stops trying to understand the Wonderland residents logically and rejects their world that she “comes of age”—she takes responsibility for her own actions and breaks powerfully out of her dream world.

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