The books > What my idiot friend says about Lewis Carroll

Discuss Lewis Carroll's books "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" here!
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prohias
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What my idiot friend says about Lewis Carroll

Postby prohias » Sun Nov 27, 2005 5:21 am

Okay, I know that these are probably not true, but my friend says they are. Could somebody please clarify these statements for me (especially the first one)

1) Lewis Carroll was hooked on opium by Throught the Looking Glass - and he was found dead in an opium den.
(I think the drug references from Alice in Wonderland give people the assumption that the author was on drugs)

2) Alice in Wonderland was originally written as a political statement
(I'm pretty sure he's wrong about this, and is just overanalyzing the story. I think that Carroll wouldn't be the type to write an allegory - and to call it that would be missing the book's point; AIW:-| even though there is symbolic meaning throughout, its supposed to be nonsense)

By the way, this is how intelligent my friend is: He says Carroll was on LSD, and we all know that wasn't even around in the Victorian Era. :?

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Postby Piecraft » Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:17 am

1) Lewis Carroll was hooked on opium by Throught the Looking Glass - and he was found dead in an opium den.
(I think the drug references from Alice in Wonderland give people the assumption that the author was on drugs)
Lewis Carroll was as hooked on opium as any other person in that time who would sometimes use snuff or opium. He was not found dead in an opium den, methinks your friend has been reading Allan Qaurtermain's biography. The truth is: 1898 (14 Jan) Died at Guildford. Buried at The Mount Cemetery, Guildford. He was the rector of Croft in Yorkshire at the time.

And just to clarify this once and for all - there are NO 'drug references' in either Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Alice Through The Looking-Glass nor any other work of Carroll's, this is truly an annoying misconception by most people today; which is only promoted by bake-heads and stoners who have nothing better to do than roll their grimey rizzla and 'attempt' to punctuate everything with their pathetic drug-induced crap.

Hope that clears that part up.
2) Alice in Wonderland was originally written as a political statement
(I'm pretty sure he's wrong about this, and is just overanalyzing the story. I think that Carroll wouldn't be the type to write an allegory - and to call it that would be missing the book's point; AIW Grumpy even though there is symbolic meaning throughout, its supposed to be nonsense)
This is incorrect, it was written as a children's story for a child (Alice Liddell namely) - and has nothing to do with politics, however it has been observed that John Tenniel (the illustrator) perhaps fashioned several of his designs upon the Prime Minister of the time. It is also believed that Carroll perhaps based certain elements from current life, including those surrounding politics such as satirising the officials through particular characters - but this is not conclusively verified anywhere.

There is a satirical spinoff book relevant towards politics called Alice in Washington check out tweedledammed's book review of it here: http://forum.alice-in-wonderland.net/vi ... light=#610

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Postby prohias » Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:23 pm

Thanks for the reply. I hope this inofmation can help my friend come to his senses.
And just to clarify this once and for all - there are NO 'drug references' in either Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Alice Through The Looking-Glass nor any other work of Carroll's
In "The Annotated Alice" by Martin Gardener, it assumes that when the caterpillar says "One side of the mushroom will make you grow bigger, and the other side will make you grow smaller" (or at least something like that), its a joke on how eating "magic" mushrooms give you the hallucination of growing or shrinking. But yeah, it's kinda annoying how everyone says its about drugs just because Alice 'changes size' from drinking/eating something.

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Postby Piecraft » Sun Nov 27, 2005 11:43 pm

I didn't mean to come off as being arrogant in my post - I hope you didn't take it that way. But as to the Annotated Alice by Martin Gardner, I think perhaps that staement is correct, but I do not think it was made in reference to the present understanding of the accepted drug "magic mushroom" but more so as to the fact that it was known if one were to ingest particular wild mushrooms they would have odd dreams. This has also been described in other fairy tales, because it was common knowledge that ingesting particular mushrooms or "poisonous" mushrooms would cause one to hallucinate or become ill.

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Postby prohias » Sun Nov 27, 2005 11:55 pm

Don't worry - you didn't come across as arrogant. I roll my eyes whenever anyone brings up drugs in Alice in Wonderland.

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Postby Guest » Sun Feb 12, 2006 4:49 pm

THEY SAY THAT THE MUSHROOM IN ALICE IS A DRUG BECAUSE IT MAKES MARIO GROW. HAVEN'T YOU FIGURED IT OUT?! DIS:-) (Just kidding)

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Postby Ty » Wed Jun 07, 2006 6:46 am

The book is very allegorical. Your friend was quite right about that, it was political. Mainly aimed toward the education that took place during the Victorian era. Take, for instance, how Alice cannot even recite simple times tables, how she's taught to memorize and recite poems but not analize them and try to understand, and most prominantly she cannot think for herself.

It deeply upsets me that an aritist can never create anything remotly abstract without being accused of drug usage! Puff the Magic Dragon! Yellow Submarine! Alice in Wonderland! GET OVER IT! Instead of assuming something such as this cannot be normal try to find your own meaning in it.

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Postby cutiepie » Fri Jun 09, 2006 10:55 pm

Acutally, the Beatles confessed having used LSD during the making of "Yellow Submarine", but who cares, it's a cool movie.

There are a lot of politicaly or social-politically comments and remarks in "Alice in Wonderland".
(And some very smart one, like the poems with changed lyrics).

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Postby Guest » Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:14 pm

in answer to number 2 there is in fact reason to believe that lewis had intentions to express his opinons on politics at the time. However, he did this through sub text and doesn't distract readers from the fairy tale aspect of the story. An example is when Alice cries herself a pool of tears and the mouse begins telling a very boring [dry] story; the dodo offers the idea of a caucus race. Which is a useless game where everyone runs in cirlces and gets nowhere. A caucus race is a term used for the process where a political party elects a candidate, there for Lewis Carroll was really saying that politics is useless and stupid; relating completly to the society of the time.
Get it?

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Postby onna8otaku » Sun Sep 17, 2006 12:09 am

DIS:-/
A caucus race is a term used for the process where a political party elects a candidate, there for Lewis Carroll was really saying that politics is useless and stupid...
I can't believe I missed that part. I didn't understand what in the world they meant by that, not even considering the definition of a "caucus race" and taking it too literally.
Thank you for clearing that up!

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Postby Guest » Mon Sep 18, 2006 6:58 pm

Acutally, the Beatles confessed having used LSD during the making of "Yellow Submarine", but who cares, it's a cool movie.
the beatles never actually had anything to do with the creating of that movie, they weren't even the voice actors. Someone reviewed the movies saying that you could tell who each character was by voice alone, and it upset the band a bit since they didn't think the voices sounded like them
(sorry about the off topic post)

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Postby Mad Katter » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:46 pm

1) And just to clarify this once and for all - there are NO 'drug references' in either Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Alice Through The Looking-Glass nor any other work of Carroll's, this is truly an annoying misconception by most people today; which is only promoted by bake-heads and stoners who have nothing better to do than roll their grimey rizzla and 'attempt' to punctuate everything with their pathetic drug-induced crap.
are you forgetting our friend the catepillar(did i spell that right?) and his hookah?

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Postby MG » Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:16 pm

Yes, I've always been told Caroll was on opium ,although I don't know how he died. There are some hints to drugs in the story (although not a direct reference) such as the Cheshire cat or the hookah that the caterpillar uses

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Postby Curiouser and curiouser » Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:55 am

The Beatles used LSD and Marijuana while writing and recording yellow submarine (the album, They used marijuana while making the movie Help, and of course LSD was undeniably present in Magical Mystery tour...watch the entire Beatles Anthology and they speak openly about it.

As for drug connotations in Alice in Wonderland, the illustrated mushroom is an
Amanita Muscaria (according to wikipedia), a rare and powerful psychaldelic mushroom. It is present in many fairy tales. Carroll had to have had some knowledge of psychadelic drugs. I am not saying that he did them, but a lot of classic literature has drug connotations and I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing. It was just common for that time, people smoked opium openly and it was socially acceptable. If Carroll did do mushrooms, it was not something too out of the norm. If you have done psychadelic mushrooms, then you will be able to see the lines clearer...the thoughts that go through Alices head and the feelings she has, such as the inability to speak english (this is the way I see it at least) perfectly animate a psychadelic trip.





They grow wild by my home in North Carolina, here are some pictures I took
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Postby Perceval » Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:37 pm

As others have pointed out, mushrooms popped up a lot in stories from the time. The Wizard of Oz had Dorothy, the Lion, and Toto passing out from poppies, but no one makes a big thing out of it.

As for the hookah, those were mainly used for flavored tobacco. Still are. People make drug associations because the catapiller happened to be sitting on a mushroom at the time. Plus, there's the Disney film, with it's surrealistic images and the smoke from the hookah being in all those shapes and colors, illustrating whatever the catapiller was saying. What was just the Disney crew being creative and imaginitive took on different connotations when the movie became popular years later, in the 60s. With both the book and movie, people made these associations years after the fact.

How the Disney movie, and subsequently the books, became huge in the 1960s is also a factor for how things were later seen. They were rediscovered by the psychedelic crowd. Young people on their own voyages of discovery who were looking at the world in a different way found in Alice an archtype. Every generation does this with Alice, relating their own experiences and Journey to hers. Look at how influential Alice is to the Goth kids, today.

As for the Beatles, the Yellow Submarine soundtrack wasn't a project on it's own, just various Beatles songs that had been on earlier albums, for the most part. That said, Alice was an influence on the Beatles, especially John. Carroll's even on the Sgt Pepper cover. Songs like Strawberry Fields Forever and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds do have a strong Carroll influence, lyrically. Paul's Helter Skelter has lyrics that greatly resemble The Lobster Quadrille from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I Am The Walrus came from a combination of John using LSD and watching the Disney movie.

In addition to the Beatles, Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd were heavily Carroll influenced. Again, just shows how influential Alice is, generation after generation, but this created a perception among some, at the time, eventually leading to some conservative groups actually picketing the Disney movie in the 1970s, accusing Alice of promoting drug use. But then, some feel very threatened by anything that promotes being imaginitive, especially with kids. Anything kids get into is seen as some sort of threat, to some, as anyone who remembers the pogs controversy can confirm. Kids liked pogs, some adults didn't get it, so they decided it HAD to be gang or occult related. And, something as imaginitive as Alice MUST be drug related. It's become fashionable among the extremely paranoid set to connect Alice, and her American cousin Dorothy, to the Illuminati as indoctrinations into ancient mystical cults. Seriously.

The moral of our story is people need to lighten up. Alice isn't about drugs any more than the Oz books and movie are about homosexuality, despite Dorothy's icon status with the gay community. It's just that something that iconic remains inspirational to many different people.


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