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No “Right Answer”?

November 19, 2009

I do not think that Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with a goal to send a specific message or make the story mean one specific thing. I think Carroll merely hinted at, either accidentally or on purpose, at certain subjects using Alice, Wonderland, and the various characters and situations within the story. There is no single “the meaning of this story is this” moments. You have to figure it out for yourself. Carroll and the story are not going to come out and tell you exactly what each event, each character, the story as a whole, means, because it is all how you, the reader interpret it. It would not mean anything to you if I told you what I think Alice represents. It is up to each individual to determine what it means to you, based on your unique perspective and attitude. Everyone needs to find their own meaning.

I do not believe that there is ever a “right answer” or a meaning that is better then all others for any kind of story. Books are not math problems, there is not a wrong answer, and not a right one. Or maybe Carroll did not even hint at anything, maybe we are just jumping at any chance to call anything symbolism or more then what it appears. Why is it that we seem to think that there is a solution to everything, that there is always an answer? Why can’t we let people think what they want to think about the story instead of telling everyone that what we think is right and nothing is going to change that? After all, you can show them what you think, but in the end, it is up to each and every person to determine for themselves.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susie C. permalink
    December 1, 2009 10:20 pm

    I absolutely agree! Last year, when we were analyzing poems, we read this one poem about someone pausing to look at the snow covered forest. I thought it was a beautiful poem about someone taking the time to stop their busy life and look at the beauty around them. However, our teacher told us that a common interpretation of this poem is a contemplation of suicide. I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was a great, cheerful poem and here was someone telling me it is about suicide. This just goes to show that everyone interprets things differently.

    Carroll could simply be letting his thoughts roam as he writes Alice. Perhaps he writes what he feels he should, not what he thinks he should. Deep down, his subconscious could have been telling him to write about this or that, but I don’t think he consciously meant to put any hidden meaning into Alice beyond some inside jokes with his friends.

    However, this does not mean we shouldn’t analysis it. As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

  2. Katie R permalink
    November 19, 2009 11:41 am

    I believe that what Michael said about no “meaning of the story…” moments is true. I didn’t see anywhere in this story about Carroll trying to get a point across. Just by reading the story can you find the meaning. When I was reading this story, I thought the story to be rather confusing. There were so many side notes in the book, but they were good to know. To read the book, you really kind of have to have an open mind and a good imagination. All in all, I though of it to be a good story.

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