the following outline is the Table of Contents for the paper:
2 Childhood in the Victorian England of Lewis Carroll
2.1 Conceptions of Childhood
2.2 Childhood and Social Realities
3 Analysis of “Alice
3.1 From Child to Adult
as the Romantic Child
-> Should be about 1 page long and state the thesis and aim of the paper clearly, which is basically that in “Alice
represents the child’s
struggle to survive in the confusing world of the adults. She comes into the Wonderland
, which reflects the world of the adults and of Victorian England, meets there very different animals and other creatures, which in some way mirror the grown-up people, and throughout the book, Alice
is trying to become aware of the things happening around, learning to react appropriately in the situations nad takes an important step on her way to becoming an adult.
This should be the general consensus of the paper! Please formulate a clear thesis and draw upon it in the chapters of the paper.
2 The Victorian England of Lewis Carroll
2.1 Conceptions of Childhood
-> Describe the conception of childhood, mainly the notion of the Romantic Child, and what it entailed. State that this was the view of childhood that Carroll shared and that influenced him in his writing of Alice
. I have provided 1-2 texts in the additional resources that deal with this notion of the Romantic Child, especially: “Introducing Children's
Literature ??" From Romanticism to Postmodernism”
2.2 Childhood and Social Realities
-> Despite the notions of the idealized romantic child and the "cult of childhood" that was entertained by many writers and novelists, the realities of childhood were different for most children in Victorian England.
In this part, describe the conditions that most children were living in in the 19th century: child labor, strict discipline and morals that was demanded by parents as well as tutors and nannies, children were educated and taught with the aim to turn them into adults. They had to behave like the adults did, follow all rules, had to be seen but not heard.
I have included a few sources on Life and Childhood in the Victorian Era, but if you can find any other sources that are useful in order to portray these aspects of the childhood life and education in the Victorian Era would be useful. But please use only academic sources and no online sources if possible! Thanks!
Also mention under this aspect how Victorian society was concerned with things such morality, orderliness, concern for little things, self-denial, self-control, initiative, constructive use of leisure (see additional sources: Daily Life in Victorian England p. 260-66) and their children were raised under those aspects and morals as well.
Also mention that the progress of education was an important matter in the 19th century in England, and children were educated and schooled in a variety of subjects, theoretical and practical, which must have been overwhelming for many children.
3 Analysis of “Alice
-> So, as will have been stated in the previous paragraphs, the child in 19th century England was regarded as an adult by most of society. They had to behave like the adults did, follow all rules, they had to be seen but not heard. As for a child that should be quite difficult to do. A child is always interested in things that are going on and asking the questions all the time “why this happens so?” Why, why and why ??' A child is very curious. Childhood is a period when a child aquires all the things that are happening in the world, why these things are as they are and is learning to understand the rules of the world and to adopt to these roles step by step and Alice
and the experiences she makes, help her to take an important step on the way from child to adult:
3.1 From Child to Adult
represents the child trying to grow up through her own experiences. Outline Alice
growth and her journey from child to adult or adolescent throughout the book!
Find at least 5-6 examples for this in the book (and use as many quotations as possible)!
“Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! ‘I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?’ she said aloud. ‘I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think??"‘ (for, you see, Alice
had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) ‘--yes, that’s
about the right distance--but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I’ve got to?’ (Alice
had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say).”
-> refers to Alice
lessons and her education. Sometimes all these knowledge is useless at the moment when she is using them or even wrong as Alice
mistakenly believes that when she falls through the earth everything will be upside down. This shows that education was very important at the Victorian times and children were taught morals, rules and warnings on how to behave and what to do in which situation but in real life this was not always applicable and even useless, and Alice
rather grows up through experience than through schoolbook knowledge.
“It was all very well to say ‘Drink me,’ but the wise little Alice
was not going to do THAT in a hurry. ‘No, I’ll look first,’ she said, ‘and see whether it’s
marked “poison” or not’; for she had read several nice little histories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts and other unpleasant things, all because they WOULD not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them: such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if your hold it too long; and that if you cut your finger VERY deeply with a knife, it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked “poison,” it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later”.
-> this shows Alice
cleverness / her ability to use learned knowledge. Alice
knows that she can die if she drinks the poison but it is her childish curiosity that makes her try the content of the bottle. After has tried the liquid in the bottle Alice
grows in size. At the beginning of the story she can not control this process and grows so big that she even can not see her feet but throughout the book Alice
will learn to control this process, which can be seen as a sign of her growing up.
At this moment, and in lot of other moments in the story, appears Alice
imagination combined with a (later growing) ability to take care of new situations. (see in my additional sources “Alice
in Perspective: “Her curiosity leads her into the initial adventure
and most of the later ones of the book, yet she is not punished for it, nor does she regret what she has done.”)
Example 3: When in the first paragraphs of the story it occurs quite often that Alice
bursts into tears just because she can not manage to control the situation. One can assume that adults in Victorian times the situation taught children to behave and not cry over silly matters This is also proved by Alice
: “’Come, there’s
no use in crying like that!’ said Alice
to herself, rather sharply; ‘I advise you to leave off this minute!’”
??' Here she is speaking and behaving like an adult, she is ordering herself to behave properly because she would have probably been reprimanded by an adult not to cry.
makes such “mistakes” several times by saying things that she shouldn't for exmplae when Alice
wants to tell a mouse about her cat. Of course the mouse doesn't like to hear about things like that and is not willing to communicate with Alice
. Another time Alice
again mentions her cat speaking with birds, who fly away immediately, saying that they are very busy. Both times Alice
stays alone, she regrets her behavior and starts to understand why it happened, why the animals left her ??' She learns her lesson through experience, that before saying something, she should think carefully if this what she is going to say will not offend anybody. Step by step, situation after situation, Alice
is learning the rules of the Wonderland
She also learns how to control her size, her emotions and her tongue. These are all things Alice
learns from her EXPERIENCES and through interacting with the creatures of Wonderland
, rather than listening to dry morals or moral tales.
Another problem that Alice
as a child confronts in the Wonderland
is her struggle about her her identity. After falling through the Rabbit hole, Alice
tests her knowledge in literature to determine whether she has become another girl. She can not answer to herself who she is, thus it is implied that books or simple education in school can not help you in determining “who you are” or in finding your place in the world. Several times in the book, she is ordered to identify herself by the creatures of the Wonderland
but is unable to answer, as she feels that she has changed several times since that morning. Alice
doubt about the identity mostly is influenced by her physical appearance, because she grows and shrinks several times, which she finds „very confusing”. The White Rabbit mistakes her for his maid, Pidgeon calls her for a serpent, the Cheshire Cat declares „’We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’” ??' the characters of Wonderland
try to tell her what or, rather, who she is and Alice
, of course, is confused but finally she understands that she must control the objects around her, rather than be controlled by them, and “grow up on her own terms”.
In the end of the story, Alice
has learned to cope with the crazy Wonderland
rules, and during the story she gets better in managing the situation. She tells the Queen of Hearts that her order is ‘nonsense’ and prevents her own beheading. Alice
has adapted, grown up and she has matured too much to stay in Wonderland
, the world of the children, and wakes up into the ‘real’ world, the world of adults where now she can use all acquired knowledge and experience.
as the Romantic Child
??' But despite Alice
having matured and grown through her adventures
, it was only possible for her to do so through her imagination, since she dreamed it all, and as her sister says in the last few lines: “Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood and how she would gather about her other children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even the dream of Wonderland
of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrow, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days”. Carroll here implies that Alice
will be able to retain her childlike nature throughout her adult life as well and pass it on to her posterity, whose imagination might be sparked through her stories (just as her sisters was after Alice
told her the story) which might in turn help them as well on their journey of growing up. (see my additional sources “Introducing Children's
Literature ??" From Romanticism to Postmodernism” on p. 43: “...concern for the preservation of childhood in the face of Victorian realities.”)
, despite having grown up through her Wonderland
experiences, will not lose her childlike memories and thus embodies notions of the Romantic Child. ??'find 1-2 more parallels between Alice
and the notion of the Romantic Child as described in “ Introducing Children's
Literature ??" From Romanticism to Postmodernism”.
Should be at least half a page, preferably a bit more!
-> Victorian time people showed a child as grown-up, they referred to it as to an adult, and saw education and molding the child into an adult as their task and duty. But Lewis Carroll in his novel “Alice
” was one of the first who looked inside the child. He showed the child’s
real nature, his emotions and attitude to the grown-up’s
world rules. The Victorian child should understand that s
/he her/himself should think about all what is happening around, s
/he should understand the rules in the adults’ world by learning them through life’s
/he should manage to do the best and the right for her/his own life, and Carroll's
intention in writing this story was to show that it is important to learn but more importantly to experience, and that imagination and dreams can help children to achieve this (meaning to grow up). (see my additional sources “Introducing Children's
Literature ??" From Romanticism to Postmodernism” on p. 19: “...a revolutionary, but simple, view that celebrated the natural tendencies of childhood and
demanded that they be celebrated and nurtured, rather then directed toward adult values and
I know I have already provided many examples and written a lot, but please try to rewrite and order everything, to find more additional examples of Alice
growing up and maturing through quotes and examples in the books! Also, try to use as many of my additional sources as that is highly important to my professor!!
I hope I have made clear what the intention of this paper is, if you have any questions or ideas of improvements (!!!) on the outline or thesis, please feel free to contact me and ask questions! Thank you very much in advance! I will provide journal articles and chapters from books I have compiled and please draw upon them as much as possible!
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