The Coming of Age Theme in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

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Many have compared life to a journey over the course of which, one experiences many tumultuous changes and transitions. On this journey, the human body continually undergoes a developmental pattern of physical, mental, and social modifications. Even in the realm of literature, fictional characters inevitably follow this fate. In literature, the stage between childhood innocence and adulthood transforms characters, this is frequently referred to as "coming of age". Because all humans experience this transition, it establishes "coming of age" as a timeless universal literary theme. Among such "coming of age" novels is Lewis Carroll’s tale about a seven-year-old Victorian girl named Alice. In the novel, "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland", …show more content…
Issues concerning her size, identity, and her social exchanges with both Wonderland and its creatures spur and characterize Alice’s development towards becoming a young woman.

In particular, Alice’s fluctuating size and “opening out like” (Carroll 11) a telescope parallel with a child’s seemingly spontaneous growth spurts, which occur frequently and most noticeably during pre-adolescent and adolescent years. In fact, Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the original tale, was ten when Lewis Carroll (the pen name of Charles Dodgson) first told the tale (Vallone 245). In addition, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland began as tale about the adventures of seven year-old Alice Liddell (Vallone 245). In reality, most children like Alice Liddell grow, but in Wonderland, Alice changed drastically and symbolically. Physically Alice’s growth correlates in many instances with her behavior. For instance, prior to drinking the mysterious liquid, Alice ponders on the substance’s toxicity, however, she fails to consider possible outcomes while forgetting the golden key. Consequently, Alice grew smaller as her behavior was incongruous to a practical and experienced adult. In contrast prior to consuming the cookie, Alice muses “‘if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door so either way I’ll get into the garden’” (Carroll 9). Hence, Alice exemplifies problem
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