Posted by: Derek_M | November 12, 2009

A Very Merry Unbirthday to You! (yes, you)

When I read chapter seven, I was very disappointed to not see the Unbirthday Song in the book. I assume that the song was a Disney alteration to reach out towards the kids, but I believe that is one, if not the most, influential and memorable scenes in the entire movie of Alice in Wonderland.

The Unbirthday song has an obvious significance to the visual innuendos of the story. Although the song seems to be Disney’s interpretation, The Unbirthday Song ties into the theme of the dichotomy between the real world and the fantastical wonderland. As Alice approaches the tea party, she is stunned by the idiocy of the Mad Hatter and the March hare, both known for being mad. They have had an unfortunate confrontation with Time which leads to their daily parties. The divergence of what is ‘normal’ in the real world becomes very evident here, without the grim, underfacing tones previously analyzed in other chapters.

To me personally, the Unbirthday Song really shows the craziness of the characters in Wonderland, as well as the skepticism of the ‘rational’ world. The dissection of the song shows the characters interacting with the audience, allowing the children’s minds inside the walls of Wonderland. This song is definitely relevant to the story of Alice because in the end it breaks her skepticism of Wonderland itself, revealing her childhood innocence. This innocence can only be molded by the constantly entertaining world in which she is in. It is best described by the Cheshire Cat when he said “We’re all mad here.”

Are we all mad?

…..And the moral to that is: when we’re mad we are really normal, but when we’re normal we really are not mad.

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Responses

  1. I ADORE the Unbirthday Song, and I shame spell-check for not accepting that word. I think that the Unbirthday Song was put in there for two reasons. One, to put something familiar into the story. I mean let’s face it, if we didn’t have anything recognizable in the story we’d be just a little weirded out. But with little hints of familiarity here and there, we can relate just enough to get it, without taking the magic out of Wonderland. Two, because it’s a good concept! Why not celebrate the day you WEREN’T born? Why not just go ahead and celebrate every day? It’s like an ego boost within the story 🙂

    Either way, I love how you brought up the Unbrithday Song!

  2. I really missed that scene too. When we first started reading Alice, I skipped to chapter seven to read about the tea party. I loved the Hatter’s Riddle, but I missed the Unbirthday scene. It had been my favorite part of the Disney movie when I was little.

    I agree with you that it shows the craziness of the characters in Wonderland. I believe that Disney chose to replace the Hatter’s Riddle with his Unbirthday song to better illustrate the nonsense of Wonderland to children. However, I noticed Disney did keep Carroll’s version of “The Star”, having the Dormouse sing, “Twinkle, twinkle little bat! How I wonder what you’re at!” That song also demonstrates the madness and nonsense of Wonderland, and Carroll included many other changed songs and poems in his Alice.

  3. So very well said: “Although the song seems to be Disney’s interpretation, The Unbirthday Song ties into the theme of the dichotomy between the real world and the fantastical wonderland.”

    Also liked this bit of your post, too: “To me personally, the Unbirthday Song really shows the craziness of the characters in Wonderland, as well as the skepticism of the ‘rational’ world. The dissection of the song shows the characters interacting with the audience, allowing the children’s minds inside the walls of Wonderland.”

    And I, like you, “like you? Yes, you,” also missed that song…although I intellectually understand that Disney added this rather than Carroll forgot it.

  4. Yay! I’m not the only one who missed this! I have to agree the Unbirthday Song is very relevant to the story. Now, you say that it shows the craziness of the characters and skepticism of the ‘rational’ world. This is true, but you could even take it a step further and say that it represents all that the Mad Hatter and March Hare stand for. Throughout the whole chapter the two are constantly bringing up things that are true, just never thought of. An unbirthday could be one of those things. It is true that everyday that is not your birthday is your unbirthday, but nobody ever thinks about it that way. Kudos to Disney for thinking of that 🙂

    • I do as well love the concept of the unbirthday party. It’s a paradox though. A birthday party is a “party” in a sense that it is removed from all other days and made special. If it happens every day, than it is not special and therefore not a “party” because there is no emotional lability from one day to the next. It’s still my favorite thing to cheers to when my friends want to drink every day of the week….I don’t think they get what they’re cheersing to, ie to their detraction of special occasions.


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