September 30, 1999
Take a deep
breath and enter the world of Wonderland, the only place where one can find a
lizard shoot out of someone’s chimney, a year-round tea party, hookah-smoking
caterpillars, and a whole lot more. Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland,
which first appeared in 1865, was a smashing success from the start. Carroll
tells the story of a girl named Alice, who becomes bored one sunny afternoon and
winds up taking an unexpected detour through the Land of Nod... and down a
rabbit hole. Her vivid imagination transports her to the dream world of
Wonderland, but she is mostly unaware that she is dreaming. Alice experiences
mixed feelings about her new surroundings... on one hand, she is intrigued,
fascinated, and bewildered by the many landscapes and peculiar characters.
Despite the carefree feeling that the mysterious realm brings to her, however,
the lack of a logical explanation for anything in Wonderland brings Alice
uneasiness. Though the place is but a pipe dream of sorts, Alice remains
relatively unaware of this fact and believes that everything is really
happening. The characters act either childish, unkind, or downright senseless,
and are of no help to her whatsoever.
It has been said that Lewis Carroll wrote the story to describe the confusion and insanity of a world that is not governed by logic, and where people do not think rationally. Though Wonderland is a beautiful chimera, in a mystical sort of way, it is ultimately a world of nightmares. Nothing can be explained, such as the vanishing Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter buttering his pocket-watch, the height-altering magic cake, or the little dormouse who has made a makeshift bed out of a teapot. Carroll was a professor of mathematics, and considering that the only sort of logic which exists in his make-believe world is a very abstract and intangible one, it is safe to say that his world without wisdom makes for a stark contrast when compared to the real world, which is (usually) ruled by sense.