Why We Love Alice in Wonderland
I sometimes wonder what Lewis Carroll would think if he could come to our time and see how popular his books have become. Would he be surprised or pleased? Perhaps both.
The nonsense story that he told to three little girls while on a boat ride on a fine summer day has become one of the best loved classics of all time. The simple tale of a child falling into a world where nothing makes sense and logic is turned upside down and sent spinning sideways still resonates with children of all ages all over the world.
The characters remain a source of delight and fascination. What is perhaps more remarkable is the depth that each character is imbued with. With the exception of Alice herself, the characters do not appear in the books for any great length of time. Yet Carroll manages to make them just as fully fleshed out and interesting as though he had dedicated an entire chapter to each and every character. The Mad Hatter, March Hare, Red Queen, Alice, The Cheshire Cat and all the other wonderfully fantastic characters that occupy the worlds of Wonderland and Looking Glass Land have earned a permanent place in the hearts and minds of both adults and children, and Carroll's clever use of wordplay, symbolism, and logic has kept adults reading them for years. Yet at their core, the books still manage to retain that sense of child like wonder you felt when you were first introduced to these fantastic worlds.
Over the years many misguided souls have attempted to analyze the hidden meanings in the books-meanings beyond those that Carroll intended. These range from the mildly annoying-"The books contain drug references, Carroll was a drug addict/high when he wrote the book" to the absolutely infuriating-"Carroll was a pedophile and the books contain sexual overtones". But the truth is that the books cannot-and should not-be analyzed. They should just be.
So why do we love Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass? Because they allow us to hold on to that part of us that still has the ability to dream and to imagine. We can fall down the Rabbit Hole or walk through the Mirror to worlds of wonder and magic.