Posted by: Derek_M | November 8, 2009

“Of Mice and [Wo]men” part two

In Chapter three, the great story of the mouse is told. The animals, rather mutations of animals, speak with contempt in reference to the mouse’s story. Alice tries to be the medium, but she soon realizes that she is not in the right place to comment on this dissent. She even admits to her feelings of them at the beginning of the chapter. “after a few minutes it seemed quite natural to Alice to find herself talking familiarly with them, as if she had known them all her life.”

Alice soon finds herself to be frustrating the mouse when she is not ‘attending’ his conversation. There is also a lot of word play between the words ‘tail and tale’ and the words ‘not and knot.’ Alice seems to frustrate everyone in this fantastical world. She constantly frustrates them even while being polite, because this world is so much different than the ‘real’ world. A reference to chapter six the Chesire cat explains this world by stating “you see a dog growls when it is 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.” This quote provides the basis of the dichotomy to Alice’s wonderland and the real world. She continues to try to fit in and she seems to fit in well, until she mentions aspects of her world to this world. At the end of chapter three, Alice is left alone because she mentioned her cat Dinah. “On various pretexts they all moved off, and Alice was soon left alone.” It is shown that logical thought processes are illogical here, and rationalization is non-existent.

Dodo presenting thimble

Alice’s relationships with animals in this world may prove to be strong for a few short minutes, but they soon fade away. The mouse tried to give Alice the benefit of the doubt and tried to assert his authority, but due to the fact that Alice was not receptive to this, thus leaving Alice alone. Carroll uses Alice’s innocence and inability to rationalize because she is a child, to advance his story. He would not be able to make a story about any person older than Alice, because thought processes become more advanced with age. This idea of innocence allows Alice to explore the world without skepticism.

What would “Of mice and men be with a talking mouse? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland would be the basis and a perfect example of Carrol’s genius becoming more evident with every page. Every page read leads to a different road and unless you know where you want to go, you will always go somewhere. Going somewhere without any cause is one of the most prominent themes in the book, and it becomes more evident after the story of the mouse.

First image courtesy of: http://bugtown.com/alice/

Second image courtesy of: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/114/114-h/114-h.htm#alice09

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Great choice in a title, BTW. And I love the quote you grabbed fro the story: “after a few minutes it seemed quite natural to Alice to find herself talking familiarly with them, as if she had known them all her life.”” Always appreciated that sense of familiarity.

    Oh, and I am air-high-fiving you on this part of your own writing, too: “Carroll uses Alice’s innocence and inability to rationalize because she is a child, to advance his story. He would not be able to make a story about any person older than Alice, because thought processes become more advanced with age. This idea of innocence allows Alice to explore the world without skepticism.” Lovely expression and intellectual proposition.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: