Interpretive essays

Various interpretations of the books
Although Carroll invented Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the entertainment of children, many scholars have discovered various underlying influences in his work. The books have been explained from all kinds of viewpoints, like drug use, Freudian influences, mathematics, political satire, sex and pedophilia, nonsense, etc.

The books have always been a favourite subject for analysis, as the story lends itself to various interpretations.

What the author says
Carroll himself wrote the following to a friend in America, when being asked about the meaning of his poem 'The Hunting of the Snark':

"I'm very much afraid I didn't mean anything but nonsense. Still, you know, words mean more than we mean to express when we use them; so a whole book ought to mean a great deal more than the writer means. So, whatever good meanings are in the book, I'm glad to accept as the meaning of the book." (source: Collingwood, "The Life and Letters of Lewis Carroll")

This comment is applicable to many books, including Carroll's own 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking Glass'.

Articles with theories from others
On this page you can find some texts that deal about those underlying meanings that Carroll is supposed to have added (consciously or not) in the Alice books. Whatever you believe of it is up to you.

Please mind that these texts were not written by me personally. References to the author and publication details can be found on the page itself.

General discussion of the 'Alice' books

Discussion of Lewis Carroll, the author, in relation to Alice

What/who influenced Carroll while writing the story

Illustrations

Poetry

Drugs and hallucinations

Politics

Philosophic reasoning

Mathematics

Other subjects

On the Lewis Carroll section of the Victorian web, you can find many more interesting essays about a.o. the social and political, religious and philosophical, economic, science and technological, and many other themes and contexts in the Alice books.
Also read about Carroll's relations to Victorian art and his use of fantasy.


"If any one of them can explain it," said Alice, "I'll give him sixpence. I don't believe there's an atom of meaning in it."