Jan 25, 2018 in Literature

Alice in Wonderland Literature Essay Example


For many people around the globe Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is simply a childhood dreamland filled with fairy tales and games without any rules. Nevertheless, in fact, it is not so. From the trained psychoanalytic point of view, Alice’s globe interprets into something more than a child’s bedtime account. There are lots of indisputable models and ties seen throughout his narrative, which are merely too radical to be just a coincidence. Alice in Wonderland is a great combination of opposing models and a metaphor for growing up. It is obvious that with the trained eye and a little imagination this otherwise simple fairy-tale becomes a key to author’s deeper ideas. By analyzing a young girl’s dream depicted in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland utilizing Freudian psychoanalysis, the booklover obtains a profound understanding of the protagonist, her emotional and physical idea towards adult life and the suffering created by the resulting alterations. That is why the present paper is meant to analyze the book from the psychoanalytic point of view.

Oneiric Story

Throughout the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, young girl goes through lots of ridiculous physical alterations. The discomfort girl experiences at never being the correct size acts as a representation for the changes that take place in a period of puberty. Alice discovers these modifications to be distressing, and experiences discomfort, disturbance, and unhappiness when she faces them. Generally speaking, she fights to maintain a comfortable physical size. These steady physical changes symbolize the manner a youngster may feel when a young is growing (SparkNote on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 2005).

It is believed that Lewis Carroll’s book Alice in Wonderland is mostly a story of a dream. Maturing Alice sees a truly fantastic dream. This is a dreamlike globe which is the product of a young girl’s imagination. Thus, it is inclined of interpretation along the lines of psychological opinions. Meanwhile, according to the psychoanalytical approaches of the famous neurologist Sigmund Freud, the brain of any dreamer creates an alternate globe in order to fulfill desires, which cannot actually be obtained in other ways. That is why there are so many interpretations of Alice’s character and her desires.


The story that is created as an extremely complex dream was evolved by the mathematician Lewis Carroll to comprise lots of crucial details. One of the things that instantly calls the attention of any attentive psychoanalytic reader is the usage of substances to enlarge or lessen Alice’s body. In some places of the book “she was the appropriate size for passing through the tiny door into a lovely garden,” and in the other parts “she was more than 9 feet high” (Carroll, 2000). Readers should not believe that it is a coincidence that drinking that doesn’t result in physical development is associated with shrinking and eating, which characteristically is the nurture of the organism, with augment height.

Additionally, it is obvious that the young girl’s issue towards the labels of the bottles she discovers in Wonderland with the marks “eat me” or “drink me” is crucial (Carroll, 2000). Alice appears to follow adult rules but it could also express girl’s desire of being constant with her actions outside of the dream globe. Nevertheless, she thinks that the absence of label presupposes that the substances are healthy.

Alice’s Alterations During Puberty

The alterations in sizes are very interesting as well. The changes remind the stages of a young girl who is growing up. Several times Alice asserts she does not realize who she is as a result of all these changes. Ultimately, she starts feeling comfortable in her new body, representing the adaptation and mature state. Attentive booklover will also notice that Alice, on one hand, does not like animals in Wonderland who treat her as a kid. But on the other hand, it may be seen that her new duties as an individual, which are approaching maturity scare her a lot.

In addition, the initial scene when a girl falls down the hole follows the same dream-like patterns in which scientific and logical ideas are forgotten. The rational categories are eliminated and time becomes totally relative in particular while a girl falls down. At the same time, gravity does not influence Alice as it would in the real life. Young girl’s priorities seem inverted: she is not afraid of falling. In fact, she fears that she might spoil her books. This situation is so unreal that attentive readers may say that bookshelves on the sides of a hole represent Alice’s desire to escape reality with the help of literature.

It is important to regard other Freud’s theories to get a better picture. So, one more theory of Sigmund Freud is hallucinations. All these situations comprising different extraordinary animals remind hallucinations. Several examples are a white rabbit with a nice clock, a hookah smoking caterpillar, another creature - mad hatter, a Cheshire cat and a dormouse that drinks tea. Freud believed that many ideas were symbolically translated in images and words in the dreams.

It should be added that Freud also asserted it was the answer of the organism to reduce the thoughts caused by nervousness that would not let the human being sleep. So, dreams hide these thoughts. According to Goldschmidt, the amazing garden in Wonderland into which the young girl desires to gain access may be a representation of the Garden of Eden. A maturing child who read a religious story could include these images in a dream (Goldschmidt, 1933).

Anyway, if a booklover wishes to learn more about Alice’s character, then it is very useful to pay attention to the scene where the Mad Hatter and the March Hare are drinking tea. Upon reading it may seem that their responses towards Alice could be a remainder of certain experience of the young lady in her house. The subconscious comprised the detail in a dream to express girl’s desire to be accepted and to get rid of the anxiety caused by the regular residue. Ultimately, the Mad Cat may be a product of girl’s mind and a parallel of Dinah, the pet she has and always mentions (SparkNote on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 2005). The constant repetition of the pet may be unconscious attempt to obtain more attention.

It is interesting, when the Cheshire Cat declared, “everyone here is crazy, otherwise they would not be here”, a profound existential meaning is suggested (Carroll, 2000). Goldschmidt asserts it could be acknowledged that everyone is crazy since they are attempting to run away from reality, merely because they are living creatures or as they dreamt about a cat, meaning that it was a hallucination (Goldschmidt, 1933).

Based on the dream, it is also possible to make a supposition that time is extremely significant for a young girl. Alice is becoming aware of time since she grows up and has to expect with her sister whilst bored. Meanwhile, in fact, the run away from reality begins when she notices a rabbit with a watch whilst standing at a bank. Later, the Hatter’s watch demonstrates just days since “it’s always six o’clock and tea-time” (Carroll, 2000).

Generally speaking, it is obvious that almost each object in the story works as an important symbol, but in fact, nothing represents one exact thing. We can see that sometimes several symbols function together to express a certain meaning. For instance, a garden may represent the Garden of Eden, a peaceful space of innocence and beauty, which a girl is not allowed to access. However, on far more abstract degree, the garden may merely represent the experience of desire, in that a girl concentrates her energy and emotion on attempting to obtain it. What is more, the two meanings unite together to underline Alice’s wish to hold onto her feelings of childish innocence, which she must surrender as she grows up.


It is obvious that Alice in Wonderland is not only a childhood dreamland, which is filled with many fairy tales and a number of games that do not feature any rules. In fact, it is something more than a child’s bedtime account. It may be concluded that Alice in Wonderland is a perfect combination of opposing models and a metaphor for growing up.

Alice’s adventures take place in a dream. It is obvious that the personalities and phenomena of the genuine globe mix with parts of Alice’s unconscious mind. The dream motif clarifies the huge variety of ridiculous and unrelated events in the account. As in the usual dream, the narrative follows a dreamer as Alice experiences dissimilar episodes in which she tries to translate her experiences in relations to herself and her inner globe. Although young girl’s experiences lend themselves to significant explanation, they oppose a remarkable and logical understanding.


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