The Rabbit Hole

31 10 2009

When Alice was falling down the rabbit hole, she couldn’t tell if she was falling fast or really slow. The hole was too dark for her to be able to see anything. But even though it was dark, she was able to see the shelves on the side of the walls. Is there all of a sudden a shine of light or was she not able to see because she was looking down into the dark hole the whole time?

When you’re falling down, you are traveling at very high speeds. As Alice is falling down the hole, she is still able to pick a jar of orange marmalade off of one of the shelves. How is she able to do this if she is traveling so fast?

It seems to me that Lewis Carroll is playing with the laws of physics during her fall.

I think that Lewis is doing this because he has to set up the world that Alice is about to go into. If it was thought of as a realistic world then nothing that she did would have been possible. She could not have fallen down the hole and stayed alive and she could not have drunk the glass and shrunk to a smaller size.

Also playing with the thought of reality, Lewis is able to put your mind in a different place. It allows our minds to go to a place where it believes anything is possible. There we can believe that she can shrink to a smaller size and believe that there can be a rabbit that wears clothes. Lewis Carroll was a very smart man who has allowed all our imagination to wander and imagine what we want.


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5 responses

31 12 2009
Neil Winton

There’s also the thought that the (w)hole is a dream, and therefore, normal rules and laws do not apply. šŸ˜‰

3 11 2009
Christian Long

Well, since the idea of “playing with the laws of physics” has grabbed some attention, it might be worth pointing this little gem out to y’all:

http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Quantumland-Allegory-Quantum-Physics/dp/0387914951

Have fun, my bent-universe literary detectives.

3 11 2009
Sylvia A.

I really like the fact that you point out that Alice’s journey into Wonderland is just as much fantasy as actually being in Wonderland is. Carroll is slowly helping us be comfortable with the idea of Wonderland and accept it just as much as Alice does. The fact that you notice the absence of light is also interesting. When Alice looks down into Wonderland I believe it must be light, not dark, because this is not a common rabbit whole. It is a bridge connecting Alice to a whole new world. If Alice went tumbling down the rabbit whole and landed in the depths of wonderland, it would not give the reader the same feeling as slowly and sleepily floating down a rabbit’s tunnel. The latter would give a dark vibe to Wonderland instead of feelings of free imagination and curiosity.By forgoeing some of the hindering characteristics of the real world (gravity, physics, talking animals) Carroll gives our mind free reign and loosens the boundaries of reality to let him develop Wonderland.

2 11 2009
Keith C.

Your blog entry — along with many others — supports my idea that when we read the first and second chapters of this book we find ourselves asking the Why and How questions: How is she able to reach out and calmly pick up a jar of marmalade at the velocity during free fall? I also agree with the thought of yours about how this strange fall and how is may be acting as an introduction to the wonder land she is so rapidly approaching.

Obviously things are not going as they should and to me Alice is not acting the way a normal girl her age would. If you recall during Alice’s fall she is “mindlessly thinking”(quite the oxymoron) about the distance to the core of the earth and not screaming like any other girl would. She doesn’t seem to be in any state of panic or terror. It’s not like she is desperately trying to stop her self from falling either. In fact at one point it says she almost feel asleep!

Another thing about the fall that you reminded me of that seems odd is the random shelves along the walls of the rabbit hole. Here is a natural rabbit hole that has not human contact to this point, (or so we think) yet somehow there are shelves against the dirt wall of the tunnel. On the shelf happens to be a jar of marmalade, what do you know? I find it interesting that it is a jar of sweet instead of a jar pickles or something less soothing. Perhaps the sweetness of the marmalade is a foreshadowing to the type of world she is entering.

1 11 2009
Alex D.

In your opening paragraph when you mentioned “was she not able to see because she was looking down into the dark hole the whole time.”

I had to wonder whether you were being psychological here, or if you were just stating fact. If it was the latter, well yes, if she was staring down she couldn’t have been able to see what was next to her. If you read it as Alice couldn’t see the world around her until she looked away from the danger [of death] and opened her eyes to life flashing by her, the great thinking.

Maybe Carroll was referring to people getting caught up in the big picture and not focusing on the littler things in life. Who knows?

Also eye-catching was the idea that Carroll made the fall unrealistic to prep the readers for the unrealistic world to come.

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