The controversy of Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland, often rings a bell for most, if not all people. The book and movie has
struck the minds of many people with both fascination and criticism. The creation of Lewis
Carroll; “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and Disney’s recreation; “Alice in Wonderland”
are both popular and well known throughout the United States. Alice in wonderland is one of the
biggest movies in the Disney collection, everyone has heard of it. All people want to know the
“who, what, where, when, why” of the story. Also the things in the book and movie that people
criticized. Last but not least, the differences from the movie and book and why it’s a children’s
Alice in wonderland was created by Lewis Carroll, he was born 27 January 1832, he had a career
in education, but it was troubled by a bad stammer. In spite of his stammer, he spoke easily with
children, he was shy and he even hid his hands continually within a pair of gray-and-black
gloves. He wrote humorous verse, such as “The Hunting of the Snark” he was ambitious and
anxious to make his mark on the world as a writer or an artist. "I do not think I have yet written
anything worthy of real publication but I do not despair of doing so some day", he wrote in July
1855. During his life he experienced Migraines, Several people have suggested the odd
experiences Alice undergoes in the stories may have been inspired by migraine-like symptoms.
He also experienced micropsia and macropsia, it is a brain condition affecting the way objects
are perceived by the mind. For example, an afflicted person may look at a larger object, like a
basketball, and perceive it as if it were the size of a mouse. This is Lewis Carroll, but why did he
make Alice in Wonderland?
Lewis Carroll was very close with the Liddell family, one day Carroll started to tell a long story
to Alice Liddell, who was the daughter of Henry George Liddell, the head of his Oxford College.
The Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was born from these tales. Having told the story and been
begged by Alice Liddell to write it down, Carroll eventually presented her with a handwritten,
illustrated manuscript entitled “Alice's Adventures Under Ground” in November 1864. After
Lewis died his diaries were found, some pages were missing from the diaries. A popular
explanation for one particular missing page (27 June 1863) is that it might have been torn out to
conceal the belief that Carroll had proposed marriage on that day to the 11-year old Alice
Liddell. However, there has never been any evidence to suggest this was so,
So, what is Alice in Wonderland? Alice in wonderland is a story of a girl named Alice who falls
down a rabbit-hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar creatures she finds herself getting
bigger and smaller with the help of mushrooms and drinks. While she is in this fantasy world she
runs into some odd creatures such as the Caterpillar; the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the
Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit and, a whole lot more. Who exactly are these characters and
what are their roles?
Lets start off with the Caterpillar, in the story the Caterpillar is sitting on a mushroom while
smoking a hookah. He corrects Alice's recitation of a poem; he does help her by advising her to
eat from the mushroom if she wants to change her size. In the end, he crawls away. So what is
the role he portrays? Many people see it different ways, some see it as The Caterpillar actually
teaches Alice how to cope with the difficulties in Wonderland. He teaches her how to change
size by eating the mushroom and to adapt to her environment when needed. There are also the
people who see the caterpillar smoking his hookah, and his advice to Alice to eat from a
mushroom as a form a drug use. He is they main reasons why many people think that the story of
Alice in Wonderland contains hidden meanings to drug use, so which is the truth? If Lewis
Carroll were actually on drugs, the book would be a bunch of rambling nonsense, so I believe the
Caterpillars role was to help Alice.
Next we take a look at the infamous Cheshire Cat, Alice meets it when she leaves the Duchess
house, and finds it in a tree. It constantly grins and can disappear and reappear whenever it likes.
Sometimes it disappears and leaves its grin behind. The Cheshire Cat is the only character in
Wonderland who actually listens to Alice. With his remarks, he teaches Alice the ‘rules’ of
Wonderland. He teaches her how things work down there. The role of the Cheshire Cat isn’t
exactly clear, there are a lot of things that could have been Carroll’s inspiration. The one that
seems most logical with his background would be, 'Alice Window' in Christ Church, Oxford, you
can see 3 grinning animals at the top of the Liddell's family arms.
The next character is The Mad Hatter; the Mad Hatter is one of the members of the Mad Tea
Party. Later he also appears as a witness during the trial. He occasionally is very rude and
provokes Alice during the tea party. When he is called upon by the Queen, he is very nervous
and frightened. The phrase 'mad as a hatter' was common in Carroll's time. In fact most hatters
(person who makes hats) actually did go mad, because the mercury they used sometimes gave
them mercury poisoning. Carroll may have asked to draw the Mad Hatter to resemble Theophilus
Carter, a furniture dealer near Oxford. Carter was known in the area as the Mad Hatter, partly
because he always wore a top hat and because of his eccentric ideas. one of the biggest things
people criticize about the mad hatter is the label on his top hat 'ten and six' but it’s a price tag and
it means 10 shillings and 6 pennies.
The next and probably most vicious character is the Queen of Hearts; The Queen of Hearts is
violent, authoritative and dominant. She likes to play croquet with live flamingoes and
hedgehogs as mallets and balls! she constantly orders the beheading of people when something
isn't to her liking. She also has her own ideas about how trials should be conducted, and is feared
by all other Wonderland creatures because of her lack of patience and her infamous line "Off
with his head!" Lewis Carroll said "I pictured to myself the Queen of Hearts as a sort of
embodiment of ungovernable passion – a blind and aimless Fury."
Last but not least is the White Rabbit; White Rabbit is the first Wonderland character Alice
meets. She follows him when he hurries into his hole and enters Wonderland. He is late for his
job with the Duchess. While walking through Wonderland, Alice comes to his house where the
White Rabbit, mistakes her for his housemaid Mary Ann, and orders her to get his gloves and a
fan. She grows and gets stuck in his house and her orders her out. In the end Alice discovers that
the White Rabbit is a herald in the Queen of Heart's court. Dean Liddell, Alice's father, might
have been an inspiration for the White Rabbit. The Dean was always running late as well; there
was no west entrance to the Chrisht Church Cathedral and the Dean would normally have to
walk through the south door. Therefore he was known for being late for services.
These are the facts of the characters, but what do people think about them, what do people think
about the whole story in general? A survey of 7 people with the following questions
1. What do you think about Alice in Wonderland, the story in general?
2. How do you feel about the Caterpillar?
3. How do you feel about the Cheshire Cat?
4. How do you feel about the Mad Hatter?
5. How do you feel about the Queen of Hearts?
6. How do you feel about the White Rabbit?
6 out of the 7 people felt that the story is confusing and weird, 1 of the 7 felt it was a good story
until he found out “a guy on shrooms wrote it”
The Caterpillar had a lot of different feedback, 2 of the 7 felt that the Caterpillar promotes drug
use because of him smoking a hookah. Another 2 of the 7 felt that the Caterpillar was weird. 1 of
the 7 thought he was cool because of his line “whoo are you?” and the last 2 of the 7 thought he
was a “crack head” and a “pothead”
Like the Caterpillar the Cheshire Cat had a lot of feedback as well, 4 of the 7 felt that the cat was
weird. 1 of the 7 thought he was scary because he could disappear and was everywhere. 1 of the
7 thought that he was weird but cool and wishes he could disappear like him. The last of the 7
thought that he was trippy because he could disappear.
The Mad Hatter was not easily remembered by all the people but his feedback did too also range.
1 of the 7 though he was annoying because he was saying it was somebody’s birthday and it
wasn’t anyone’s birthday. Another of the 7 thought he was mean and rude. 3 of the seven felt
that he was crazy…hence the name “the MAD hatter” 1 of the 7 thought he was funny and
spastic and him having a British accent made things a whole lot funnier. The last of the seven
thought he was annoying as well.
Unlike the others, the Queen of Hearts got no friendly feedback. 3 of the 7 thought she was evil.
1 of the 7 says that she reminds her of an evil stepmother and felt that she was yelling at her
while she was watching the movie. Another of the 7 felt that she was controlling and powerful
but used her power for bad. Another thought that she was too bossy. And he last… well lets just
say she didn’t have kind words to say about her.
The White Rabbit seems to only be known for Alice following him into Wonderland, 1 of the 7
felt that he was a symbol for Alice to follow into Wonderland. Another found him to be her
favorite because it all started because of him. Another says that he reminds him of a grandpa. 2
of the 7 didn’t really have anything to say about him. Another thought that he would be a good
companion for Alice. And the last felt that…”he was in a hurry”
The answers as you can see for the questions range. Many of the people who were surveyed
didn’t really even remember the story and hadn’t seen it since they were little kids. But still they
can remember so much of it, its shocking to see how big of a movie Alice in wonderland really
"The Caterpillar." Lennys Alice in Wondderland Site. <http://www.alice-in-
"The Cheshire Cat." Lennys Alice in Wondderland Site. <http://www.alice-in-
"The Mad Hatter." Lennys Alice in Wondderland Site. <http://www.alice-in-
"The Queen of Hearts." Lennys Alice in Wondderland Site. <http://www.alice-in-
"The White Rabbit." Lennys Alice in Wondderland Site. <http://www.alice-in-
"Lewis Carroll." <http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/lcarroll.htm>.
"Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland." Wikipedia.