I Am Me, Right?

31 10 2009

When we think of Alice, a picture of a trite little girl pops into our heads. She isn’t one that we’d think to have very deep thoughts in particular; just aimless ramblings that make her sound ADD, if nothing else.

But there is one quote in particular that she says that stumbles upon one of the questions that monks and gurus have struggled with since they learned how to think; on page 23 she says,

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”

And it is a great puzzle indeed. Who is a person? What is life? What is good and evil?

All are questions that have given people headaches for quite some time, and will continue to do so. Little Alice, a girl who’s really only pondering if all that’s gone on that day is because she’s changed person, came across a puzzle that she has no hope of figuring out. Obviously with her attention span that’s no problem to her, but it does say something about how her strange little mind works.

One wouldn’t expect a girl such as Alice to think of such deep and complex questions. Yet here she is, rattling on about who she is like nobody’s business.

Her as a character is taking on more of a hidden-philosopher type role. She doesn’t seem to realize that she’s just posed one of the most baffling questions in history, she just goes on trying to figure out if she’s become someone else. Because of course none of this could be happening to HER. So she starts to compare who she knows she WAS to other people she knows. But not by personality or any other psychological nonsense. No, she’s sure she isn’t Ada because her hair isn’t in ringlets, and she can’t be Mabel because she’s not dumb. And then she says,

“Besides, she’s a she, and I’m an I…”

She seems to have a knack for confusing herself. But strangely, everything she says makes perfect sense. Her hair isn’t like Ada’s, so how could she be her? And she still has her smarts, so she can’t be Mabel. And if she’s referring to these other people as she and they, and herself as I and me, how could she be somebody that she’s not calling herself? It’s so utterly confusing to explain, but the concept is as simple as 2+2 (although that’s not all that simple either, if you think about it.)

So as of right now, she’s being deep and philosophical. But you instantly see a change back into a clueless little girl as she decides that she must be Mabel, and starts to think of how she won’t ever come out unless someone tells her that she’s someone she likes. Typical stubborn little girl that wants what she wants. Then she gets distracted by a pair of gloves and totally forgets that she had worked herself into a tizzy about who she was. It’s so funny to watch her attention shift from meaningful questions to anything that happens to flutter by. You see a plain, curious little girl one minute, and a deep-thinking oddity in a world where nothing makes sense.

There is obviously more to Alice than meets the eye.


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One response

3 11 2009
Christian Long

I’ve always loved that line: “Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” Just a lovely exclamation point early on in the midst of her journey.

And I really appreciate how you explore how she confuses herself while making perfectly good sense. I always find myself ‘hearing’ her voice, and finding just that balance in it.

Finally, clever point: “a deep-thinking oddity in a world where nothing makes sense.” Nice touch at the end of your post.

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