Puberty in Alice and Wonderland

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One of the most prominent themes in children’s literature is maturation and grasping with adulthood. In keeping with this tradition, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland presents a girl who transforms immensely from the bored little girl who can’t imagine reading a book without pictures to the mature adult described at the end of the novel. Throughout much of the novel, the reader witnesses Alice struggling with frequent, rapid changes in her body. While the repeated size changes in the book serve to illustrate the difficulties of children in grasping the changes of puberty, the changes in Alice’s personality and state of mind that come with each fluctuation in size hint at the greater rewards of knowledge and certainty that…show more content…
So flustered by these constant changes, Alice’s memory and knowledge have suffered, as she is unable to recall basic facts. This, accompanied by the realization that her voice has become hoarse and strange, once again moves “poor Alice” to tears. Finding both her body and mind to be completely altered, Alice hints towards not liking who she has become, resolving to stay in Wonderland and only come out if she is somebody else. Just as soon as this stream of thoughts leaves her, though, Alice realizes that she has shrunk once again, and rather than being comforted, Alice is “frightened at the sudden change” (29), saying that she is now “worse than ever” and that she “never was so small as this before.” She finds herself confronted by a pool of tears that had once seemed so inconsequential, frustrated once again by her uncontrollable emotions: “I wish I hadn’t cried so much!” (30). Once again, she realizes somewhat bitterly that “everything is queer to-day.” Alice’s size continues to come into play through her interactions with the mouse. Not used to seeing things from small eyes, Alice’s etiquette is brought into question as she offends the mouse with her talk of cats (31). Despite being the same size as the normally-small animals she now interacts with, Alice is viewed as foolish for not utilizing the same logic as her counterparts. In essence, while she is physically small, her mind has not adapted to this new size and she does not fit in among
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