Essay, Research Paper: Alice Adventures In Wonderland


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As we read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Island of Dr. Moreau, we
enter into two unique worlds of imagination. Both Lewis Carroll and H.G. Wells
describe lands of intrigue and mystery. We follow Alice and Pren*censored* into
two different worlds where animals speak, evolution is tested, and reality is
bent until it nearly breaks. It is the masterminds of Lewis Carroll and H.G.
Wells that take these worlds of fantasy and make them realistic. How do these
two great authors make the unbelievable believable? Both Alice’s Adventures in
Wonderland and The Island of Dr. Moreau float in between a dream world and
reality, which makes the real seem unbelievable and the unbelievable seem real.
In H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau, we see right from the beginning that
imagination and reality are blended together to create an air of confusion. In
the introduction we are told that Pren*censored* disappeared for eleven months.
When he was found, he told a story that no one would believe. “He gave such a
strange account of himself that he was supposed demented (pg. 1).” So right
from the beginning we do not know what to believe. Later in the story, Pren*censored*
is picked up by the Ipecacuanha. On this ship there are deformed and strange men
riding with Montgomery. “He was, I could see, a misshappen man, short, broad
and clumsy, with a crooked back, a hairy neck and a head sunk between his
shoulders (pg. 10).” This is the first picture we get of the deformities from
the island. During this time on the Ipecacuanha, Pren*censored* is weak from
exhaustion and in a state of confusion, which adds to our confusion. It is later
in the story, where reality really becomes deformed. First, Pren*censored* is
locked out of the inner rooms of the enclosure, because of their “little
secrets.” Second, Pren*censored* walks out into the woods to get away from the
puma’s crying. It is hear that he gets a good look at one of the deformities
for the first time. “Then I saw it was a man, going on all fours like a beast!
(pg. 38).” It is this sight that sends Pren*censored*”s imagination wild.
“The thicket about me became altered to my imagination. Every shadow became
something more than a shadow, became an ambush, every rustle became a threat.
Invisible things seemed watching me (pg. 39).” It is these emotions of Pren*censored*’s
that make the unbelievable seem real. He has gone from a sane man with some
studies in science to a man who fears the shadows and sees men walk on all
fours. The dream state of everything at this time keeps us believing that
anything is possible. This is the same technique that Lewis Carroll uses in
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The story begins with Alice getting tired,
which implies that she is falling asleep and going to enter the fantastic world
of dreams. Immediately, she sees a white rabbit in a waistcoat. This puts the
reader directly into the world of fantasy and imagination. It is Carroll’s use
of explanations that makes this unbelievable world seem real. No matter how
strange something appears it has a meaning and a reason. When the Mock Turtle is
telling his story of school, he says, “‘the master was an old Turtle—we
used to call him Tortoise--.’ ‘Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t
one?’ asked Alice. ‘We called him Tortoise because he taught us,’ said the
Mock Turtle angrily. ‘Really you are very dull.’ (pg. 91).” It is this
type of explanation that helps the reader to believe the story. Alice is
referred to as dull for not understanding, so the reader accepts the explanation
in order not to be dull. Another example of this is when Alice meets the
Cheshire-Cat. The cat tells her the way to the Hatter and the March Hare, but
adds that “they’re both mad.” Alice replies that “I don’t want to go
among mad people.” The Cat then gives the explanation. “‘Oh, you can’t
help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’
‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice. ‘You must be,’ said the Cat,
‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’ (pg. 65)” The Cat then goes on to
explain why he is mad. “‘To begin with,’ said the Cat, ‘a dog’s not
mad. You grant that?’ ‘I suppose so,’ said Alice. ‘Well, then,’ the
Cat went on, ‘you see a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags its tail when
it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m
angry. Therefore I’m mad.’ (pg. 65-66)” This explanation shows how this
unbelievable world can seem real. Everything has a reason. Everything has a
purpose. These two books make the real seem unreal and the unreal seem real
simply by blending the two worlds of reality and imagination. It is this fuzzy
line between the believable and the unbelievable that Lewis Carroll and H.G.
Wells exploit to create their unique fantasy worlds.
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