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Just a Girl With Her Toys?

November 18, 2009
This entry was inspired by a thought that occurred to me while commenting on Hersh’s post, Who Are We? Yes, mine is another entry about sizes. But instead of thinking about the significance of Alice’s sizes, what of the other characters’?

The King and Queen and all the members of the court are made up of a deck of cards. Generally, when thinking of a deck of playing cards, a small, rectangular image comes to mind. Playing cards are generally about 3.5 x 2.5 inches (the width, I think we can all agree, is insignificant for our purposes).

Besides the royal court, there are rabbits, cats, and even other humans (or what appear to be) in Wonderland. In comparison to a deck of cards, all of these are significantly larger. But in Wonderland, the way Carroll describes it (and Tenniel illustrates it), it appears as though the cards are on the same level as the cats, humans, and rabbits. It is possible that the cards have been transformed to a much larger size, however I think the better explanation is that the cats, humans, and rabbits are shrunk to the size of the cards. At the end of the story, Alice returns to her ‘normal’ size. This size is much larger than the other characters, including the cats, rabbits and humans. As a child, she would generally not be bigger than an adult (the Hatter) and yet in the story she is. Therefore, I think the logical conclusion is that the characters in Wonderland were all on about the same size scale as a normal deck of cards.

If this is true, then it is also possible to see the characters in Wonderland as minute play things, like a deck of cards. This leads me to believe that in reality, Alice was daydreaming while playing with dolls, cards, and other toys while she was in Wonderland. As a child, I often make-believed while playing with my toys. Is it possible, then, that Alice is just a normal young girl playing very imaginatively with her toys?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2009 11:11 am

    This blog has opened my eyes. I never realized the different sizes of all the characters. Like Jenna said, you never consider the sizes until you either see a picture or until the author points it out. And now that you do mention it, the entire story could be a dream. Like it said in the first chapter, “Alice was feeling sleepy and stupid”. If you apply what you said about the sizes and dreams, Alice probably fell asleep and dreamed she was playing with her toys. That is probably why her sister didn’t say anything when she followed White Rabbit down the rabbit hole.

  2. Jenna K. permalink
    November 21, 2009 5:08 pm

    I never considered the sizes of all of characters. I mean as you read it you picture what they look like but you don’t really picture how big they are in relation to one another, unless the author points out a major size difference. But when you apply logic you notice that it doesn’t all match up. I mean Carroll never said that the characters were smaller than normal sized animals and people. Maybe while he was telling the story to real Alice he didn’t consider all of this because he was wrapped up in describing every other detail of Wonderland. Now that I think about it, it seems like it should be one of those old, bad animations where everything is disproportional.

    • Kristen K permalink
      December 3, 2009 11:23 am

      Interesting idea about how the story “should be one of those old, bad animations where everything is disproportional.”

      It reminds me of Middle Age European art–how everything was disproportionate and unrealistic. Carroll was living in a time long ago; perhaps he wasn’t thinking too much about realistic proportions. However, I can’t really allow myself to believe that; he was a mathematician after all.

      All the same, good points.

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