The second of today’s guest entries from Rebekah Fitzsimmons’s “Golden Age of Children’s Literature” course comes from Sarah Roddenberry, who discusses one classic’s impressive longevity.
By Sarah Roddenberry
Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is most definitely a classic novel of children’s literature. Some may even argue that it is the epitome of the Golden Age. Not only did it receive huge popularity shortly after its publication over 100 years ago, the book has remained successful and continues to be read by children of today. So the question that arises is – why. Why has Alice experienced so much fame and recognition?
For one, this novel is so different than other children’s books of the era. Carroll’s style of nonsense is very innovative and ingenious. He combines reality, fantasy, and nonsense in a manner that brings the reader into a whole new world. Wonderland, although extremely bizarre and random, somehow makes sense. There are rules and explanations to all the weirdness which readers are amused and entertained by.
Another factor that has made Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a classic is the fact that it is adored by both children and adults alike. The style and tone of the text is very reminiscent of a child’s imagination. For children, they are mesmerized and enthralled by the mysteries of Wonderland and the magical creatures. As a little girl, I was personally captivated by the Cheshire cat. In fact, I distinctly remember playing Alice with my stuffed animal cat, Fluffy. This personal memory takes me to my next point that adults love the novel, too. For grown-ups, rereading Alice brings back sentimental memories and feeling of nostalgia. They are transported back to their childhoods and to a world full of creativity, dreams, and imagination. As a results of this popularity by both children and adults, Alice has continued to survive through many generations of readers and remain a classic.
Another reason why Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is classified as a classic is the unique manner in which Carroll plays with the text along with the illustrations. Never before, have we seen the actual physical words of a novel intertwine with pictures or incorporate playful pieces. For example, the poem of the mouse’s tail is actually written in a spiral pattern, like that of a tail. I have to admit, I actually had fun turning my book around and around in order to read the poem. There are also multiple pages with lines of asterisks, almost resembling twinkling stars. These examples are fun, playful ways in which Carroll captivates his audience.
In conclusion, Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland remains a sentimental piece of children’s literature. As a classic, it has remained successful among multiple generations and is adored by both children and adults. Moreover, Carroll introduced readers with a brand new style of writing that had never before existed. He created Wonderland – a land of nonsense, dreams, imagination, and nostalgia.
Just an indication of how popular Alice remains today – here is a blog that is completely devoted to the novel.
Sarah is an undergraduate at the University of Florida.