Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Alice, by Mª José Gasch. Advanced Level, Year 2

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is an enchanting Victorian oddity, a book whose remarkable dream world has captured the imaginations of diverse writers and film-makers since it was published in 1865.
This book broke from traditional children’s literature, which was expected to be realistic, educational and moral. Instead of that Carroll encourages imagination and his book doesn’t have a moral purpose.
The story involves a dive into the subconscious littered with nonsensical rhymes and literally crazy characters.
The novel opens with a bored and sleepy little girl, called Alice, sitting with her elder sister outside, until she sees a White Rabbit looking at his watch and talking to himself. Then Alice decides to follow him down a very deep rabbit hole. Thereafter Alice, who is curious, intelligent and ready to accept the impossible, moves from dreamy encounter into dreamy encounter in a wonderful underground world, watching nursery rhymes coming to life and fighting bloodthirsty monarchs made of cards. To overcome the obstacles she finds along the day, Alice uses magic potions, cakes and mushrooms to change her size. Finally Alice realizes that she has been asleep for a long time on her sister’s lap.
References to identity, knowledge and puns are recurrent subjects throughout the book. So, many times Alice’s identity is mistaken by other characters and she herself thinks that the reason of the bizarre situations she’s experiencing is that she has been changed into a different person. Again and again throughout the story Alice repeats the lessons she has learned at school, either because she feels the need to test herself, or because someone she meets wants to hear them. And the characters often get involved in long absurd discussions about the meaning of certain words causing crazy situations.
It was absolutely delicious to experience all these surreal adventures with Alice. I really enjoyed her tendency to take herself seriously and her poignant comments as much as her rather quick temper. I only found the parodies of popular poems from Carroll’s time a bit boring because they meant nothing to me.
I recommend this book to lovers of nonsense literature because it’s easy to read and although you have already watched many films about this story, reading the original book will make you enjoy amazing nonsensical dialogues and situations.

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