Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

by Lewis Carroll

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Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:47 am

Let’s discuss the ending of the first book (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland).
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby gemini » Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:03 pm

Well If she wakes up that means it was a dream, or was it? Since Carroll wrote it then nothing is as it seems.
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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:21 pm

A dream was the only thing that made sense, all those disjointed weird little episodes that seemed unlinked and very very strange! Funny thing, I remember reading the story as a child but the ending was almost a surprise to me when I read it recently as an adult. :dunce: And then I thought "of course!" It reminded me a bit of the way I dream sometimes.

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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:45 pm

The ending of the last chapter is the waking up of a dream, perhaps to mirror their lazy day on the lake which Carroll used to invent the original story. The afterthought at the end of the chapter, as narrated by Alice's sister, strikes me as a personal comment by Carroll about the necessity of retuning to their reality but also his wish to keep those childhood memories dear knowing that they will fade as Alice grows up. He captures the memory of Alice as a child and how he incorporated the elements of the story based on their experiences on the lake that particular day. You can feel his sadness, wistfulness and at the same time hopefullness as the chapter comes to and end.

The long grass rustled at her feet as the White Rabbit hurried by--the frightened Mouse splashed his way through the neighbouring pool--she could hear the rattle of the teacups as the March Hare and his friends shared their never-ending meal, and the shrill voice of the Queen ordering off her unfortunate guests to execution--once more the pig-baby was sneezing on the Duchess's knee, while plates and dishes crashed around it--once more the shriek of the Gryphon, the squeaking of the Lizard's slate-pencil, and the choking of the suppressed guinea-pigs, filled the air, mixed up with the distant sobs of the miserable Mock Turtle.

So she sat on, with closed eyes, and half believed herself in Wonderland, though she knew she had but to open them again, and all would change to dull reality--the grass would be only rustling in the wind, and the pool rippling to the waving of the reeds--the rattling teacups would change to tinkling sheep- bells, and the Queen's shrill cries to the voice of the shepherd boy--and the sneeze of the baby, the shriek of the Gryphon, and all thy other queer noises, would change (she knew) to the confused clamour of the busy farm-yard--while the lowing of the cattle in the distance would take the place of the Mock Turtle's heavy sobs.

Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make THEIR eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.
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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby Liz » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:08 am

I definitely thought it was a dream. And it did read like the groggy thoughts of someone in the midst of awakening from a dream that it is pleasant.

I agree with DITHOT that it also reads as possible wistful thoughts coming from Carroll as opposed to the heroine of the story.

There is a tie in to the preface of Through the Looking Glass. I am curious if most of you were able to read that, because there appears to be connection to the ending of the first book. Did anyone else catch that?
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby deppaura » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:50 pm

Ah, the ending and what the heck did the whole thing mean, anyway?? I'll just share the thoughts of Tan Lin. "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ends with a sister's loving reminiscence, delivered in Wordsworthian fashion as a premature eulogy for a childhood not yet lost, a lost childhood whose losses were already being deferred, as it were by a familial caretaker. One of the ways to learn to give up an unbearable personal fantasy (and Alice can barely bear hers ) is to make it the subject of a story." It gets complicated for me. Lin explains the story(S) in deep psychological jargon. He stresses childhood desire,fantasy and complication while moving moving towards adulthood. He feels Alice's experiences are masks and represent that struggle/transition. Wow! Then there is the trade off what the child/adult loses or gains. O.K., I'll stop. Or would welcome other thoughts. For me, Alice in Wonderland reads like a board game!

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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby Liz » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:48 pm

Well, deppaura, Through the Looking Glass is definitely a board game. But I can see what you are saying. Alice is always asking where to go or trying to fit into the parameters of the doors that will lead her to the next “land” (or “level” if it were a video game).
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby Buster » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:13 pm

One of the ways to learn to give up an unbearable personal fantasy (and Alice can barely bear hers ) is to make it the subject of a story."

I'll have to disagree here. Although discomfited, Alice perseveres and actually meets each new entanglement with a great deal of composure. I saw the ending of the story as glib way out of a compelling fantasy that no one really wants to leave.

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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby deppaura » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:13 pm

I think the "personal fantasy" Lin refers to may be "growing pains". It's hard to quote something out of context. At some point it would be good to review his introduction. But, in the interest of time it obviously is a bit much. There's enough in the Alice stories for endless discussion and interpretation. Enough to make the heads of scholars spin! Lin did find her to be an adult before her time.

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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby deppaura » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:25 pm

"Another crucial feature to the tale is Alice herself, often considered the first realistic representation of a child in literature. She's curious, but sometimes a little shy. She's polite, but manners often give way to frustration and temper tantrums. She's intelligent, but not as intelligent as she would like to think she is (relying heavily on an education that often fails her). She often holds her own against the contradictory natures of the people she meets, but more often than not is baffled and belittled by them. She possesses some degree of common sense, but often does some remarkably stupid things. She's likeable, but she's also a bit of a show-off and a snob. In other words, she's the first (and perhaps the best) example of a three-dimensional child character in literature geared toward either children *or* adults. " This is another take on the stories. Endless, huh?? But, intriguing.

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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby Liz » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:07 pm

I need to mull this over a bit. :-)
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Alice Question #10 ~ The Ending of AIW

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:46 pm

deppaura, thanks for that analysis. The quote below is from my tidbit on children's literature. I think Alice was a bit of a game changer when it was published.

Because of the rigidly defined gender roles of the times, books tended often to be written for only one gender. Until around 1870, exemplary fictional female characters played little; remained in their station in life; were modest; chose to avoid fanciness or frivolity; and found their recreation in doing for others and their empowerment through suffering. Heroines to emulate tended to remain near home, and independence in thought or deed was discouraged. They learned in negatives what not to be. Their struggles were often solitary. Girls were considered to have reached their majority at age eighteen.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!


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