William Jordan says, “Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.” His quote reflects the wisdom and growth that Alice goes through in wonderland. The novel follows the story about a seven-year-old who is bored by her sister’s constant reading of childish stories. Alice is in search of adventure, and one of her exploits leads her to Wonderland, where the adventure begins. The story is about maturity in a world where reasoning does not apply. In wonderland, as it will be discussed, Alice is seen to grow in terms of her thinking about the world. There are specific events that contribute to this maturity when she stumbles into Wonderland. Many characters in the book, such as Alice’s sister, and readers perceive Alice as a little girl. She undergoes tremendous changes in the Wonderland.
The rabbit hall and the fall is one of the events that affect the growth of Alice in a positive way. From the hole, Alice is still a child who is scared of heights and stairs. However, as she falls into the well, she says, “After such a fall as this, I shall think of nothing tumbling down the stairs(Senna, Carl, 3).” From what Alice says, her childlike fear of falling down the steps of her home has been conquered. The aspect of falling down the well from the rabbit hole proves to be turning point for her fear of heights. Even Alice herself notices her growth when she says,” How brave they will think of me at home.” Through what she says, it is obvious that she is happy about conquering one aspect of being a child. Brevity can be recognized as a step toward maturity on her part since she had been frightened by simple heights such as the staircase in her home. One of the critics of the novel says, “Alice in Wonderland, a novel that recounts the development of an individual from childhood to maturity(McIntire, Sarah, 1).”
The battle about reaching the key and her size when she finds herself in the house that leads to the garden showcases her physical growth. Alice is devastated and confused at the growth in her. She says, “now am opening up like the largest telescope that ever was. Goodbye feet.” In addition, Alice says, “oh my poor little feet. I wonder who will wear your shoes and stockings.” Critics of the book have highlighted this part as showcasing the confusion that Alice experiences when she is getting into puberty. A critic says, “The underlying story, the one about a girl maturing away from home(Maata, Jerry, 2).” The growth in Alice adjusts until she is the right size that with which she is satisfied. She stops crying and lamenting when she can fit through the door that leads to the garden. The scene showcased how she accepts her maturity and her lack of lamenting depict her leaving her childish ways behind and embracing the aspect of growth. The adolescence comes abruptly to her and she is not prepared for the changes that her body is taken through when she eats the cake. However, the way she fits into her new role after the initial struggle is a good sign of maturity. The maturity is not just depicted in her size, but her mannerisms as well. She is able to realize that she has offended the frog and the rats, something that shows growth in her school of thought.
The scene in the Caucus race is also a depiction of the maturity that Alice undergoes. The bird says, “Everybody has won, and you must have prizes.” Alice finds this strange because games to her only have one winner, who gets the price. Her initial thought showcases her childlike mind of how the winner should be only one person. However, she quickly transcends into a mature thinking person when she realizes that games can be played solely for the purpose of the fun that they b ring. She then takes the prizes and gives each of the birds. She says, “There you are, exactly one piece each.” Her maturity in taking the leadership role in a game that she previously thought of as being unfairly won is depicted when she equally shares the prize among the birds. It does not matter when she is the only one that is left without a prize. A critic establishes this by saying, “A game without clearly bound rules is bound to cause a child frustration(Gardiner, Philip, and Brian, 23).” However, Alice matures when she learns that games can serve the purpose of fun and that rules should not always apply.
Additionally, the maturity in Alice is highlighted when she challenges the douches. She exhibits a maturity in thinking that surpasses that of the duchess. The duchess says, “If everybody mined their own business, the world would go round a deal faster.” Alice replies, “but that wouldn’t be a good thing necessarily.” She then goes ahead to reason with the duchess and offers knowledge on the world. She says that the world goes round on its axis, which means that there would be more work. The reasoning of Alice in this scene is more mature that that of the grown-up before whom she stands. A critic emphasizes this by saying,” Through her experiences in wonderland, Alice gradually gains empowering and self-understanding in order to embrace her identity(Maata, Jerry, 2).”
In the same scene, she exhibits maturity when she takes the duchess’s child with her. she says,” If I don’t take this child away with me, they are sure going to kill it someday.” To her thoughts, Alice replies, “wouldn’t it be murder to live it behind?” Her maturity is shown by her advanced reasoning and care towards another. She is portrayed as being more responsible than the Duchess who leaves the child to go dine with the queen. The maturity in Alice tells her to care for the child because it would be murderous to live it behind, however challenging the experience may be. A critic offers, “The girl often reflects on her actions and decorum.” Another critic suggests, “She strives to ascertain facts and comes to general conclusions(Miller, Anne-Marie, 13).” The extent to which Alice talks and reasons with herself when she picks up the child is beyond any reasoning that a child may have. She ascertains her position of maturity when she assumes responsibility over a creature that is obviously devoid of love. She pets him, and assures him that he makes a handsome baby pig. Alice certainly awes the audience who thought of her as being a child who was lost in a world that was beyond her capacity.
The tea party is also a depiction of how mature Alice has become. Her timid behavior has vanished and she is able to carry herself in a dignified way. She no longer feels lost in the world of the animals and she has accepted her fate in the strangeness of wonderland. When she invites herself at the tea party, the animals tell her that there is no room. However, Alice seats herself down on an armchair and says, “There is plenty of room(Caroll, Lewis, 93).” Additionally, the hare offers her wine that is not available. Alice is angry and provoked by this offer, and retorts, “It wasn’t very civil of you to offer It.” through such sentiments, we can see Alice taking control of her emotions. She has realized that she has the right to be in wonderland, just like the creatures she encounters. She has also appreciated her presence there, probably because of the fact that she stumbled into the place. She recognizes that she did not choose to invade their space. Therefore, she finds herself becoming more assertive about her presence in Wonderland even as the animals remain cruel. In this scene with the Hare, Alice is able to successful force herself to fit in, which is a sign of maturity. The other creatures are left without the choice of denying her a place. A critic attests to this by saying, “An armchair is usually associated with adults.” When Alice chooses to sit there, she assumes a role of adulthood and authority. The self-assertiveness she portrays is fundamental in her growth process.
The scene with the mock-turtle is also a symbol of her maturity. When the turtle relates to his sad story, Alice is touched by how unfortunate he was. However, the main part in this story is the carefulness in which Alice has learned to speak. When she first stumbles into wonderland, Alice speaks her mind like a child would. She is raw in her speech and often ends up offending the creatures. As time progresses, much to the surprise of the reader, Alice masters the art of civilized speech. She has leant to filter her words and make them less offending to the animals. The story of the turtle is evidence of these sentiments. The turtle says,” you may have lived much under the sea.” Alice then replies, “I haven’tI once tested(Caroll, Lewis, 115).” she stops at midsentence when she realizes that she was about to say that she has tasted lobster in the past. She reasoned that such sentiments would have offended the turtle and she did not want to make him sadder than he already was. The mastering of speech that is depicted in this area is a great show of maturity and growth. It is a tremendous improvement from the first time she comes to Wonderland. A critic of the book has agreed with the growth shown in the story by the turtle scene. She says,” from this point on, her exclamations reduce and her comments become more elaborate (Karlson, Jenny, 12).” Part of growing up is depicted in children through their speeches, as various psychologists have observed. Children have unfiltered speeches because of their inability to reason effectively and relate their speech to the circumstances. Therefore, to this extent, it can be inferred that Alice has stepped out of her childlike thinking zone and stepped into the adulthood realm.
The story about Alice is an interesting way to showcase the process of the growth in children. It exists in a state of fantasy but amazingly shows the realities that happen when children grow.The story is not just for kids and is a good read for adults too. Terry Pratchett says, “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
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