For generations gone by, Lewis Carroll has been a name for most to reckon with. This is perhaps his most famous work, most debated about work, and his finest as well. An example of classic literature that holds children and adults riveted with equal ease, this book has all the ingredients of a delightful and unforgettable read.
Alice, the little girl, has a dream in which she falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world (Wonderland) populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. There are rabbits, lizards, hookah-smoking caterpillars, and cats; all of whom can talk. There is the Queen and King of hearts, fish, frog, and a Duchess… yes, absolute literary nonsense.
A number of theories as to how the author was stoned have done the rounds ever since the book was published; they make for just those, good theories. Yes, it is true that the little girl eats mushrooms and the world around her alters, it is also true that she sees herself and her surroundings in various forms. However, the elements of logic, the play on words and meanings are so intensely intelligent and satirical that many argue that Carroll wasn’t stoned; he was just genius (http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/alice11.html)!
Anyway, I’ve always liked how Jefferson Airplane beautifully synopsized the story in ‘White Rabbit’:
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
To call Alice, when she was just small…
Listen to the song, read the book, watch the movie. Do it.
Quote: Be what you would seem to be — or, if you’d like it put more simply — Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.
PS: I shall suffix the rest of the song when I write about the second half of the book ‘Through The Looking Glass’.