Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book review of Alice in Wonderland and Through the looking glass

Dodgson has an image of a man of suspect sexuality. His relationship with children has always been a controversial subject and this controversy only strengthens the underlying queer tone of the book.
The term ‘Queer’ is attributed to the animals, situations and Alice herself in the two books. It adopted a homosexual connotation much after the first book was published and yet, its usage in these books seems to point at something more severe than 'eccentric' behaviour.
Alice is the perfect illustration of a ‘queer’ individual dropped in a ‘queer’ world surrounded by ‘queer’ characters. The problems faced by her are metaphorical of the ones faced by a person of alternate sexuality in the real world. She constantly struggles with what she has been conditioned to believe and what she encounters in this 'strange' land.
Alice finds herself trapped in a room, where the only escape to the garden of Eden is through a rat hole path guarded by a small locked door. As she struggles with her identity she finds it hard to come to terms with her sudden transformations, much like a queer individual coming out to oneself. In this struggle she begins to compare herself with Ada and realises that "She's she and I'm I". Note, the sexual ambiguity associated with "I'm I". The fear of loneliness engulfs Alice, making her choose the identity imposed on her by societal constructs, rather than the one she'd like to discover for herself. Just when all is lost, she finds herself in the company of queer characters.
Her repentance on not remembering the ways and lessons of the real world reduce as she discovers more about the world under. We see Alice becoming more and more comfortable with herself and the world she has been catapulted into.
In my opinion, Dodgson addressed his suppressed sexuality in a very artistic way in these books. 

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