Composition and Literature
February 3, 2016
Want a good laugh? Want to retreat from the seriousness of life? If so, read The
Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll. Alice follows a rabbit down
a hole and escapes to a crazy world full of talking animals, living playing cards and disappearing smiling cats. Often literature that is so far off from real life, it trying to symbolize problems with the real world.
If Lewis Carroll doing this in Alice?
The popular scene in chapter 5 at the Mad Hatter’s tea party shows 3
themes that could symbolize something in real life. Three possible symbolic themes
from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party include: nonsense, rudeness, and ...view middle of the document...
The Hatter again replies with nonsense
saying, “Which is just the case with mine.” Alice knows the Hatter is speaking English,
but she has no idea what his crazy words mean.
Meanness was portrayed at the tea party, by the many times the animals were
mean to the sleeping dormouse. They are leaning on the dormouse when Alice arrives
at the party. The Hatter pours hot tea on the dormouse’s nose. The Hatter and the
Hare pinched the dormouse to wake him to tell them a story. Finally at the end as Alice
leaves and looks back, she sees the Hatter and the Hare, stufﬁng a sleeping dormouse
in a teapot.
Rudeness abounds at the tea party. The animals are sitting on only one side of a
large table and tell Alice that there is no room for her at the table. They offer her wine,
she accepts but then they tell her they have no wine. The Hatter is constantly rudely
interrupting conversations. Finally at the end of the chapter, March Hare asks Alice a
question and she begins her answer with “If you ask me, I don’t think…” at that point
rude Hatter responses, “Then you shouldn’t talk.” That was the last straw for Alice. She
left the Tea Party.
The nonsense, meanness and rudeness at the Hatter’s tea party is not unique in
this scene. The book is full of them. It is had to believe that in such a book so non-sensical and full of mean characters, that Carroll did not attempt to have them symbolize
something in real life. Regardless of the intended or unintended symbolism, Carroll’s
unique nonsense literature continues to entertain children of all ages.