I wrote a post a few months ago now, and even though I looked, I can’t for the life of me find it to link to it. But, in it I described my plans to stop reading whatever I feel like and take some time going through the unread things I already own on my bookshelf.
I started with Tolkien, and The Children of Húrin. I’m working through The Silmarillion, but it’s slow going. Not that it isn’t interesting, but, like its predecessor, it reads more like a history book than a story, and it’s difficult for me to spend long in it at a time.
So, I changed tactics and started on my classics. Tuesday I read Alice in Wonderland. Yup, straight through, and it only took me a couple of hours. And, I have to say, I wasn’t impressed. I may have read it when I was younger, I truly don’t remember, but some of the story was familiar and a lot of it wasn’t. But there wasn’t much I liked about it this time around.
I know there have been many commentaries and interpretations done for Alice in Wonderland, but I haven’t read any of them and I don’t intend to. I’m really not interested in double meanings or literary examinations. I’m interested in the story. And there was a lot in this story I found completely unbelievable.
Namely, Alice’s attitude. Here she is, wandering through an unknown land, and being incredibly rude. She walks right into people’s houses. She interrupts people. She argues with them. She demands answers and explanations to questions that are none of her business and have nothing to do with her.
Alice also takes everything completely in stride. I understand that it’s all happening inside her head, but while she’s experiencing it she believes it to be real. Yet, she shows no true fear, which isn’t normal in a 7-year-old. Alice walks right up to strange creatures, loud noises, people she’s already been warned are insane. She eats and drinks strange things just to see what will happen to her, over and over again.
I understand this is a children’s story, and meant to be fun and entertaining and light, so a lot of the strange ways Alice acts can be partially excused. But her arrogance and rudeness I think are completely out of line, and I don’t think she’s written very well as a character. I really don’t understand why Alice in Wonderland is considered a classic.