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Kell

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

How would you rate this book? (Dont forget to say why in the thread!)  

6 members have voted

  1. 1. How would you rate this book? (Dont forget to say why in the thread!)

    • 5/5 - Top-notch reading!
    • 4/5 - Excellent
    • 3/5 - Pretty good
    • 2/5 - OK, but nothing to write home about
    • 1/5 - Dull as ditchwater
    • 0/5 - Utter dross!
      0


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IT IS ASSUMED YOU HAVE READ THIS BOOK BEFORE READING THIS THREAD, THEREFORE SPOILER TAGS MAY NOT HAVE BEEN USED IN ORDER TO FASCILITATE EASIER AND MORE OPEN DISCUSSION

 

This book is available cheaply from Green Metropolis or through Amazon (please use the link at the top right of this web page)

 

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Bored on a hot afternoon, Alice follows a White Rabbit down a rabbit-hole

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I'm actually still reading this novel, so I'm a little behind for the discussion group (oops!). However, I did read it years ago, so I'm hoping that this will help me as I continue.

 

I hope you will all be joining me in reading and discussing this classic gem and that you will enjoy it as much as I remember enjoying it last time round!

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Well it was a pleasure to re-read this delightful - and bizarre - little book. I remember my Dad reading it to me when I was little and re-reading it brought back that memory with surprising vividity - not least because I can remember him enjpying it as much as I did, right down to the expression on his face as he read out specific lines. And I can appreciate now his enjoyment of the more 'grown up' humour in it.

 

6. Traditionally, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are both considered stories intended for children. If you were asked to support the contention that these are actually stories for adults, how would you defend this?
16. Since their publication, many readers have found material in Carroll's book unsuitable for children. Which parts of the Alice books, if any, do you think are unfit, or even harmful, to children today?
I wouldn't say I thought the stories were unfit or harmful, but they are very grotesque, and quite violent and unpleasant in parts. I certainly think there is more appeal in them to an adult than a child, although a child will appreciate them on the level that they can. I do remember thinking (as a child) that wonderland was a rather unpleasant and slightly scary place (especially the queen of hearts) and as a child it had quite a sinister air to it, whereas when I read it now, that sinister aspect of it is gone.

 

Another thing that struck me when I re-read this was how many bits I didn't remember. The famous bits - like the eat me cake and drink me bottle, the mad hatters tea party etc are very etched in my mind, probably as much from Hollywood as anything else, but other parts - the animals getting washed up on the beach after swimming in Alice's tears, the numerous appearances of the white rabbit and the sheer numner of times Alice shrinks and grows, I had quite forgotten.

 

And finally one of my favourite lines:

"None of the others took the least notice of her going, though she looked back once or twice, half hoping that they would call after her: the last time she saw them, they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapot"

Edited by ~Andrea~

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Like you, Andrea, I'm constantly surprised at all the little things I'd forgotten, like the pig baby and the Caucus Race (great fun, that Caucus Race!), and also at the level of violence (the pig baby gets thrown!), but more than anything, I don't remember it being so completely non-sensical. I always knew it was a complete fantasy full of impossible things (I try to believe in 6 impossible things before breakfast - LOL!), but most of the book makes absolutely no sense at all - and it still works! I think that's the most surprising thing about it - that a book that makes no sense, works and works very well!

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I was wondering how many folk think it's a simple nonsense tale concocted to entertain, or if anyone thinks there are "hidden" meanings/messages behind any of the characters/events? If the latter, can you please give me some examples, because I can't, for the life of me, think of any at the moment - LOL!

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Oooooh I have this book on my TBR!!

I've never participated in the reader's circle before. And neither have I read this book.

 

I'll start reading the book in between reading my current one. Should be done in about five or six days. I hope I'm not too late.

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I was wondering how many folk think it's a simple nonsense tale concocted to entertain, or if anyone thinks there are "hidden" meanings/messages behind any of the characters/events? If the latter, can you please give me some examples, because I can't, for the life of me, think of any at the moment - LOL!

 

Yes quite possibly! At a first reading I don't see any, but I read an interesting article in the new scientist earlier in the year about hidden maths in the story. Lewis Carrol was a mathematician and the article talked about him poking fun at some of the new maths that was coming out (imaginary numbers and martrix arithmetic). I will have to dig out the article; I know I still have the magazine.

 

First and foremost I think it's a it's a simple nonsense tale concocted to entertain, but that this provides Carrol a great platform to poke fun at his fellow academics, and well, at any idea he sees fit really.

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The edition I am reading has a very long introduction by Hugh Haughton in which he quotes Carroll giving his own account of how he came up with the story in Alice on the Stage:

 

"And so, to please a child I loved (I don't remember any other motive), I printed in manuscript ... the book which I have just had published in facsimile. In writing it out, I added many fresh ideas which seemed to grow of themselves upon the original stock; and many more added themselves when, years afterwards, I wrote it all over again for publication: but (this may interest some readers of 'Alice' to know) every such idea and nearly every word of the dialogue, came of itself."

 

To me, this indicates that although his own world/education/way of thinking was the basis on which the stories were constructed, the stories themselves weren't intended to be seen as having deep and hidden meanings. In addition, the introduction points out that most of the stories in the books were told spontaneously on boat trips etc to amuse the young Alice, which makes it maybe less likely that any deeper meanings seen are deliberate.

 

On the other hand, the introduction also points out that the author of The Annotated Alice (Martin Gardner) was also a mathematician and logician like Carroll, and "explains the Alice books with reference to the whole intellectual universe before and since - and the whole intellectual universe by reference to the Alice books"!

 

That thought makes my brain start to overheat, though, so to me they are just very imaginative stories, albeit written by a logical and highly intelligent man!

Edited by Ooshie

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I read both these books many years ago and was not very keen on it but I read the books like a good little girl as my mum had got me the books. I also watched the films and was not impressed just confirmed what I thought about the books. Hard going and a load of rubbish.

 

Do you consider these books to be an adult's view of childhood, or a child's view of adulthood?

 

In the era that these books were written Alice was brought up in a well money background so she would think both of these ways.

 

If the Caterpillar from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland were to give advice to Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Through the Looking-Glass on how to solve their differences without having "a bit of a fight," what might the Caterpillar advise?

 

Lose weight :blush: if they were busy concertrating on losing weight they wouldn't have time for "a bit of a fight," as they say.

 

When I read a book it is for the author and story along with the charecters not if there are any hidden meanings or messages.

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Heather, I agree with you - I read books for an enjoyable story; I never look for a meaning in them, and as I have said in another thread, I just don't notice messages that are widely recognised to be there! (Loved your comment about the Tweedles :blush:)

 

 

1. Who was your favourite character and why?

2. Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

 

I have had a hard time thinking of my favourite character. I really quite disliked Alice, and found most of the other characters unpleasant in various ways too. I probably liked the King the most, as he went around undoing the Queen's harsh commands behind her back! Although, for comedic value, I liked the flamingo and the hedgehog which made Alice's game of croquet so impossible; they gave me probably my only genuine smile of the book, and so that also counts as my favourite part of the book.

 

3. Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

4. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

5. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

I haven't read anything else by Lewis Carroll, and would think twice about trying anything by him again - the version I have has Through the Looking-Glass as well as the original Alice's Adventures Under Ground and I had intended carrying on to read them, but certainly won't any time soon. I enjoyed the book at the beginning, but very soon began to dislike Alice and be irritated by the book in general and really did not enjoy it. I couldn't say I struggled with it, though, because it was an easy enough read and was short.

 

Edit: On thinking about it, I feel that the book suffered by my reading it all the way through like a novel. Looking at the stories contained in the book separately, as nonsense tales told to entertain a young child on outings, would probably be more entertaining.

Edited by Ooshie

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7. Alice Liddell, the model for Carroll's fairy tale heroine, was a young child when these stories were first told. Although a child in the story, Alice often exhibits mature characteristics; and the adult characters often exhibit childish behavior. Do you consider these books to be an adult's view of childhood, or a child's view of adulthood?

 

Carroll spent a considerable amount of time in the company of young girls and corresponding with them. I wonder whether he also spent time thinking of how young girls perceived things? To me, Alice seemed like an adult's view of a child's view of adulthood.

 

8. Alice rarely speaks nonsense and rarely enjoys it when it is spoken to her. In fact, her speech and manners are as proper as those of any Jane Austen heroine. How is Alice's perception of the world changed when confronted with the world and characters of nonsense?

It didn't really seem to me that Alice's perception of the world did change when she was confronted with nonsense; while she accepted that she could cause herself to shrink and grow by the things she chose to eat and drink, I felt that she continued to think that what she saw and heard was nonsense and to behave in the manner which she would have been likely to behave in the real world.

Edited by Michelle

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1. Who was your favourite character and why?

I didn't have a favourite character I don't think. I found Alice a bit irritating - I thought she was a bit pompous. I found the Queen funny, with her continual "off with their head!" She was just amusing. I was surprised by the fact I quite liked the Cheshire Cat. In the Disney film it freaked me out, but he was quite pleasant in the book.

 

 

2. Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

 

I liked the tea party. It is one of the parts that has stayed with me. I was entertained by the idea of the game of crotchet, with live animals. The thought of them escaping did have me chuckling. I didn't like the swimming in the pool of tears though. I found that depressing to read.

 

 

3. Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

I love children's classics and am hoping to read through the Wordsworth list. Although I only found this book "OK" it hasn't put me off. I prefer the books by Francis Hodgson Bennett to Carroll however I just love this genre. I don't think you can ever be too old for children's books.

 

 

4. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

 

Again it is the idea of the pool of tears. That is something not in the film so it took me by surprise and I just didn't like it. Why was it there? It was so odd. And the animals all running away from her...I just found it a bit strange.

 

 

5. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

 

It was an OK read. I would give it 3/5 I think. I won't be rushing to read it again. It wasn't as eccentric as I was expecting, and like I've said, I had no real favourites but it was a pleasant read, and not very long.

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1. Who was your favourite character and why?

Probably the CHeshire Cat. I actually find him slightly sinister, but always wished he got more page time as he's such a fun character with his appearing and disappearing.

 

2. Was there a particular part you enjoyed/disliked more than the rest?

When the Queen of Hearts tries to have the Cheshire Cat's head cut off, but can't because his body has vanished, leaving them with nothing from which to sever his head - LOL! I also always loved the Caucus Race with all the animals running round to dry off and then expecting Alice to provide everyone with a prize each at the end.

 

3. Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

I've read both the Alice books numerous times over the years and enjoyed them every time, but have never felt any particular pull to read any of his other novels.

 

4. Were there any parts/ideas you struggled with?

Nope. I rather enjoyed that there was nonesense on every page because it was fun nonsense that made a kind of narrative sense, rather than not connecting at all. Each of the stories could be taken as individual stories in Alice's adventures or read as a whole with equal enjoyment.

 

5. Overall, was reading the book an enjoyable experience?

Yes - it's a fun little book that doesn't take very long to read. It's the kind of thing I expect to be reading a chapter each night to Xan whenhe's just a little older. I hope he'll enjoy it as much as I did.

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I had found the Cheshire Cat very creepy in the Disney film, but thought he seemed quite benign in the book, so I enjoyed him much more! I agree, Kell, it would have been fun to have had more of him in the book.

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The Guardian today (Saturday) has a free CD with it of Alan Bennett reading 'Alice In Wonderland'. :)

 

It's a bit late in the day I know, but I have only just noticed (and bought it).

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I was wondering how many folk think it's a simple nonsense tale concocted to entertain, or if anyone thinks there are "hidden" meanings/messages behind any of the characters/events? If the latter, can you please give me some examples, because I can't, for the life of me, think of any at the moment - LOL!

 

I might be completely over thinking this but while reading David Copperfield recently, a quote brought Alice in Wonderland to mind, which was 'she could not relent towards the London smoke, which, she said, "peppered everything"'. This reminded me of the pig and pepper chapter in Alice in Wonderland, where the Duchess sings "I speak severely to my boy, / I beat him when he sneezes; / for he can thoroughly enjoy / the pepper when he pleases!". In relation to London smoke, I thought there was a chance this particular chapter was referring to the child labour and industrial revolution which was so big an issue in Victorian England. I don't know if anybody else can see the link here but I'd be interested to see if you do :)

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I only read it recently and wasnt impressed. it just seemed to be Alice meeting one wierd person after another

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