Posted by: Angela W. | November 3, 2009

Analyzing Illustration

This illustration is at the beginning of chapter two when Alice begins to grow again. When we read the text and she is getting taller we would think her full body is getting bigger but in perspective of the rest of her body. When we look at this picture, only her neck is elongated while nothing else is proportionally correct. Why would this be? Carroll could be suggesting that Alice is loosing her sanity (mind)  because of her head being so far away from the rest of her body. Think about it, of course Alice is loosing her mind. She has seen a rabbit with a pocket watch talking, fallen down a rabbit hole, transformed sizes, and in this chapter, she talks to a mouse, first in english then in french. It would only make sense that Alice is loosing her sanity, but i find it interesting that this illustration is put into the book.

I was doing some research and came to find out that Carroll and Alice were on a long boat trip on the river Isis from Oxford to Gostow when she asked him to write her a book “with a bunch of nonsense in it.”

The picture of the fireplace in the Hall in Oxford might be the other reason this illustration was in the book: look at the fire dogs.

you can look at this picture and find more explanations of the story at:



  1. “Carroll could be suggesting that Alice is loosing her sanity (mind) because of her head being so far away from the rest of her body.”

    I honestly would have never made that connection. I am absolutely in awe of your teams’ analysis of this book.

  2. Such a fun post in terms of a) finding a topic that many would overlook (or not ‘stretch’ enough to notice) and b) the fireplace connection. Well played!

  3. Angela, you are right to wonder about this. Seems as if the visual rhetoric is certainly at odds with the written word. Accidental? Deliberate? Or perhaps simply in keeping with that overall sense of vertigo that _Alice_ elicits?

    • You have no idea how much I love that point you made, Liz, in posing “visual rhetoric” “at odds with the written word”. Fantastic!

  4. I believe that this illustration is in the book only for the purpose of showing growth. If Alice was shown proportionately, it would just look like she was zoomed in on. But this way you can actually see true growth in her body. But this does bring up an interesting point. Alice has obviously lost her mind for many reasons, those in your post included. I never thought about this drawing that way before but she is actually losing her mind the farther away it gets from her body. Pretty soon, her head will be up in the clouds, or maybe even gone from her body.

    • Excellent point re: “showing growth” in a flat, unmoving image. Nice.

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