The books > The Way You Read Alice

Discuss Lewis Carroll's books "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" here!
KaeS
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The Way You Read Alice

Postby KaeS » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:33 am

Since 1951, a lot of films are based on Alice. What is strange is the way the book is understood by people. We all know that Lewis Carroll had pedophilian desires, and Alice is not innocent in the end.

How do you read Alice?
Like a fairy tale, with a childish look? (Walt Disney's version for example)
Or like a tortured story, dark and immoral? (McGee's Alice)

Which version do you prefer?

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Mad Katter
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Postby Mad Katter » Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:45 pm

Niether really...

I read AAIW like a classic book. To be respected and loved. The film i like is one with Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat, when everyone is in reallife, and the story is exactly like the book. >:)

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Piecraft
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Postby Piecraft » Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:29 pm

I read it as it was intended to be read. I do not take into consideration Carroll's pedophilia because I do not see how that would change my perspective on the story. That would be as pointless as if I were to take Poe's necrophiliac tendencies into consideration when reading his tales of horror, when in fact it is unrelated. An author or artist's personal life may reflect in their art but has nothing to do with their work.

I do not agree to McGee's or Disney's take on the book. I see the book as neither fully sugar-coated innocence or dark and gothic. I think people will always interpret the story in their own way. However it would be nice to adapt the tale as it is written and no more than that. Of course lately that is more difficult than trying to get blood out of a stone.

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Mad Katter
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Postby Mad Katter » Sun Mar 26, 2006 6:28 pm

I read it as it was intended to be read. I do not take into consideration Carroll's pedophilia because I do not see how that would change my perspective on the story. That would be as pointless as if I were to take Poe's necrophiliac tendencies into consideration when reading his tales of horror, when in fact it is unrelated. An author or artist's personal life may reflect in their art but has nothing to do with their work.

I do not agree to McGee's or Disney's take on the book. I see the book as neither fully sugar-coated innocence or dark and gothic. I think people will always interpret the story in their own way. However it would be nice to adapt the tale as it is written and no more than that. Of course lately that is more difficult than trying to get blood out of a stone.
Um, yeah... Piecraft, thx for the support... I suppose...

Carroll had pedophilia??? Am I oblivious to the fact that my favorite writer is not that perfect after all?!?

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Emmot'er slim
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Postby Emmot'er slim » Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:39 am

Yeah, I think that the way one reads the book (or any book for that matter) should never be based off the movie version or computer game version. These are intreptations of the book, therefore reflect the bias of the director and his/her own perspective of the book.

with that in mind, I have read many books because I watched the movie first. So, I guess I should eat my own words, but...whatever.

As the more and more I read Alice, yes, we all know it was made for Alice Liddell as a childrens story, etc. etc.

However, there (I think) is a distinct political undertone to the book as well,
The queen who wants to kill every one with out a trial,
(I think Alice is the only one who get a trial, and that, is absurd...possible reference to the unfairness of England courts?? who knows.)
The Dodo....they went extinct in the early 1700's because of colonialisim, ....yeah

And also, I think Carroll has hinted at people in his own personal life, friend or foe,
(like Dante did in the inferno)

I dunno,

I could be slow,
but then again,
that's just how it goes

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Seren
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Postby Seren » Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:26 pm

I always read it as a sort of coming of age story, to be honest. It's fun to read and it makes me smile. I read very little fiction, and usually prefer magical fantasy; Alice is sort of my ste p away from that. Hence, it's neither all sugar and spice, nor absurdly dark. In its own way, it's very realistic (particularly Alice's reactions to things) and it reminds me of me being four again, when anything was possible, and all I had to do is go with it.

That's just me, though.

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Dame Rhatt
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Postby Dame Rhatt » Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:27 pm

Alice is definitely a coming of age tale. And, for me at least, the tale is a delightfully frightful mix of the sinister and sweet with as many puns and references to Dodgson's real life as he could pack in. The Disney movie really missed the boat on communicating the essence of Alice.

My vision for a nearly perfect movie of Alice would be one that stayed true to the core plot, included all of the references and puns that are easily understood in today's society and replaced the poems that parody now unfamiliar material with poems that satirize what is familiar to us all.

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MG
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Postby MG » Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:11 pm

I like the Disney film best

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Postby Ned » Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:22 pm

I read the book simply as nonsense literature - as something written to entertain children , albeit some rather sophisticated nonsense. The puns are witty and the book is full of hidden "secrets". However, the only secrets I can find are those which refer to jokes known to Carroll and his inner circle, nothing "gothic" or "sleazy" or what have you.

Dodgson/Carroll has been accused of pedophilia. He certainly could be close with the children, but that in itself does not incriminate him. He did photograph girls in the nude, but then (without condoning the practice) this may be part of the Victorian sentimentalization of children's supposed beauty and innocence. Maybe he was a pedophile, maybe he wasn't, maybe he was one emotionally but did not go further than the photographs, I don't know and I don't have an opinion on it. One way or another, I see no perverse messages whatsoever in the book.

Whether there are any hidden political messages, or influence of drugs, or any such thing, I don't know but I wouldn't jump to any conclusions. Remember that Dodgson first told the story impromptu when rowing with the Liddell sisters and Rev. Duckworth, and that the girls were to be amused by nonsense. I am not sure that Dodgson planned to go much further than "nonsense" - I think the entire point was that the stories were to amuse. It was an early example of a book that children read just for fun. In those days, very much children's literature - and Carroll aludes to this in the book several times and even parodies it - was written specifically to instruct, to inculcate morals etc. That's about the deepest message I can find in the books - Carroll poking fun at grownups' dry and strict methods for instilling values in children. He certainly seems to have a feeling for a child's point of view, which in those more authoritarian days would have been harder for the child to express. In the chapters dealing with the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle (my favorite characters in Wonderland), these two want Alice to repeat this or that poem, and she says to herself (more or less) "how the creatures order one around, and make one repeat lessons. I might as well be in school at once." Even more striking is the example of Alice's interaction with the Red Queen, who is a particularly bossy lampooning of a Victorian nanny. She's everything Mary Poppins isn't, and barks orders to Alice, quizzing her and testing her before she accepts that Alice too has become a queen. When Alice says something at one point, the Red Queen says "speak when you're spoken to". Alice, however, gives a reply to this, something along the lines of "if everyone spoke only when spoken to, no one would ever speak". Which of course flies in the face of the fact that "speak when you're spoken to" was once a phrase used to get kids to shut up, and not something meant for everyone. In this way, Carroll's books may well be a clever critique of adult stuffiness toward children. But if there's anything more to it, I am unaware of it in my reading of the books. If Carroll added any veiled references to significant adult problems or current events, I think it would be minor in the greater scheme of the books.

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The Cheshire Cat
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Postby The Cheshire Cat » Thu Aug 17, 2006 10:12 am

I do not agree to McGee's or Disney's take on the book.
I don't agree with Disney's take on it, but I do like American McGee's. But it's important to remember that McGee's take on it is based upon the book and a different story. It's more like the sequel to the AiW story and it's not for kids at all. But I understand what you mean. ;)

I read Alice in Wonderland as a humoruos and fantastic story. I don't think about "how" I read it, I just read. And I find great pleasure in doing so, because then I can enjoy both the childish and the intellectual parts without trying to combine them. That's the fantastic thing about the book. It works at so many levels at once.

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Postby The Floating Bear » Sat Aug 19, 2006 3:27 am

I read it as a very good story and an insight into Dodgsons mind and life. I don't read it as a disturbing and tortured tale because it so blatantly isn't.

MirrororriM

Postby MirrororriM » Sat Aug 19, 2006 3:45 pm

I generally begin at the beginning, go on to the end, then stop. :-)

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Simon
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Postby Simon » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:15 pm

I usually read it sitting down... ;)

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Madd Jett
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Postby Madd Jett » Sat Aug 26, 2006 2:23 am

I usually read it as a fantasy adventure. I like the whole idea of a young, naive child thrust into a strange world where he/she is or not familiar with. Alice in Wonderland always reminds of Inuyasha, or Fushigi Yuugi (I'm not much of a fan of the latter, I'm not into romance; but I like action and horror).

I'll read the book no matter what genre it is., as long I enjoy coming back to Wonderland.

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Mouse
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Postby Mouse » Thu Sep 07, 2006 11:29 am

I generally wind up reading it in the bath.


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