Posted by: Angela W. | November 12, 2009

From Child to Pig

When Alice goes to the Duchess’s home and sees a poor little child being thrown up and down and being tortured, Alice takes the child thinking that it would be dead in the next few days if she did leave the child there. As she walks through the forest, she realizes that she is responsible for a child and doesn’t know what to do with it. She realizes that the baby is not very proper at expressing itself. She tells the child “Don’t grunt, that’s not at all a proper way of expressing yourself,” thinking the child will understand what she is saying. But don’t we all do that? We all talk to little children expecting them to understand us. Just like we talk to animals. As she walks further, the baby becomes more distorted and a snout where its nose use to be appears. Eventually, the baby turns into a whole pigs itslef. Alice says “If you turn into a pig, my dear, i’ll have nothing to do with you. Mind now!” All of the lines Alice says to the child are very motherly, just like Carroll wanted her to be. This is another example of Carroll giving Alice an adult like figure. Anyways, Alice desides to get rid of the child just because it is a pig now. Before it was a child that had charachtoristics of a pig and when it took phyisical characthoristics, Alice wanted it no more. Throughout Alice’s adventure in Wonderland, Alice is showing more signs of maturity.



  1. I was always quite mystified by this scene so your post intrigues me.

    I think I was slightly disturbed that Alice keeps trying to insist the baby be something other than what it is. In fact, it seems that throughout the book, she is insistent that creatures act like proper British citizens. She tries to reason with the pig/baby as though it can understand her. That always sort of frustrated me about Alice–why didn’t she get where she was and go along with it?

  2. YES! This is a great point and enlightened post, Angela. I agree that Carroll wanted Alice to be a “motherly figure” and find it highly interesting that after the transformation, she “gets rid” ,as you so carefully stated, of the now pig.

    What does this mean to you?! Is it safe to say that as a motherly figure, one would act accordingly if a child is not acting as a parent would want? They would make behaviorist themed statements to the child, like Alice did, and eventually disregard them altogether after nature took it’s course?

    Step further with me if you please…let’s get to the 30,000 ft. level of this matter. Now view Alice as the society and the child/pig as every young person. If the child does not act like society wants, then will he/she turn into a pig? Is that reality or wonderland? Why did Carroll pick a child and not a peer of Alice’s? Why was the transformation into a pig and not some other farm animal? Pigs are actually noted to be intelligent, but still have a public perception of being vile creatures. Is there something there?

    An even more elevated view would be viewing Alice as the World and the child/pig as our nation. Are we, as Americans, turning into pigs?

    I may be on a barren fishing voyage with those inquiries, but they are things that appear to me in my perspective. I enjoy reading your postings to gain a new perspective, too.

  3. Wow! This is a great post by Angela. I agree with her when she says that throughout the story, Alice continues to mature. When she cares for the child, when the Duchess was treating it poorly, she has gotten herself into another situation. She is now caring for a child that she has never seen, and something that she had never done before. She brings up a good point in how Alice is sort of acting “motherly” to the child. At the beginning of the story, Alice was acting rather unusual in a way that her “craziness” sort of stands out. When she is caring for the child, it brings out her adult-like qualities. I honestly think that Carroll wanted it to be this way because maybe it would get the reader more interested.

  4. As a father of 2 kiddos (one 3 and one only 8 mos), I am nodding up and down at this part of your post: “But don’t we all do that? We all talk to little children expecting them to understand us. Just like we talk to animals.” And I quite like this part, too: “All of the lines Alice says to the child are very motherly, just like Carroll wanted her to be.” The very idea of what Carroll wanted for Alice (real and fictitious) would be worth a dozen blog entries, one can imagine.

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