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Do We Have to Learn?

December 2, 2009

Do we have to learn from all books? I do not think so. If Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a story intended to teach, it would be a textbook. But it is not a textbook. It is a fun book for children, not my history book. But we seem to think that it is a requirement for all books that we read in an academic way to be educational.

It makes no sense that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is intended for an educational audience.

Why would Carroll write a serious, educational book filled with talking animals? He would be laughed out of any academic institution if he did so. The story is far too childish for any adult to take seriously. And all that is ignoring the fact that there is very little actual evidence of anything remotely educational. Where is there any hard evidence? If you are going to tell me that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is intended to teach, show me evidence. Everything that people cite as “evidence” that the story teaches something is completely open to interpretation.

Carroll even says that he knows that people will ruin his story by forcing their adult ideas on it! How can a book mean something if the author comes out and says that there is no educational intent in it? In the end, it is up to you and your interpretation, but in reality, there is very little reason to call Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland educational.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brendon O-L. permalink
    December 3, 2009 1:02 am

    Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, like all books, is a textbook. All books, no matter how outrageous or fictitious they are, teach something. I feel that you are defining educational as academic. As Gabriella pointed out in one of her blogs, all fairytales were meant to teach some lesson that does not necessarily mean they were academic. People, kids or adults, can learn morals or acquire a new appreciation for something from books based in imaginary places. We can learn something from Wonderland. We can learn to appreciate childish fantasies and the joys they bring. We can learn lessons from Alice’s mistakes. There is something to learn, it just isn’t academic.

  2. December 2, 2009 12:53 pm

    When I first read this I didn’t think I would agree with it but, when I finished it I completly agree. So often we try to ruin perfectly good stories or thoughs by forcing our selves to find bigger meaning in everything. I think the only reason we do this is because that is what we are taught to do. A great example of this is when Alice is falling down the hole and is trying to remeber all her studies and be very logical because that is what she is taught to do but, in the end she is able to move past that and think out side of the box. I think our reading of Alice is simmalar to what Alice is going through. At first we try to over analyze and over think just like we are taught and just like Alice does then as we read on we, like Alice come to realize that not every thing makes scence and not everything has meaning. Carroll knew how people would react and wanted them to go on a jerney of their own just like Alice. The world would become very different place if we stoped trying to make every thing have meaning.

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