The Mind of the Story

1 11 2009

By about the end of chapter 5, we’ve seen a variety of characters with such a wide range of personalities that it seems as though the entire world is just made of crazy people. But there is a pattern to the characters personalities.

You’ve got the Rabbit, a frantic and slightly obsessive character that’s always stressing about something; the oh so easily offended mouse who speaks as though he knows anything but is very bad at arguments; the Lory, who’s a very simple, quirky character who has a knack for getting into arguments with people: the playful little puppy; and the caterpillar. There’s such a huge variation in the character traits that one would initially think that there’s no way they could have anything in common. But there is.

Each one of them can represent a part of the human mentality.

If you think about it, the fall down the hole can represent the fall into madness. She’s gone from a perfectly normal and average life that she’s bored with, and suddenly is falling down a tunnel where nothing makes sense and is like a fantasy land. Then she lands and meets one of the first character traits; Worry. The Rabbit can very easily represent the emotion of worry, as he is always muttering anxiously and snappishly ordering people about. Worry is one of the emotions that we as human beings carry around the most and are never fully rid of, so naturally the character Worry is portrayed as is the most seen character in the story. The next emotion we stumble upon is Irritation. It’s all too easy to offend the mouse, and he reacts quite strongly to anything he sees as an insult. When reading through all of the passages regarding the Mouse, I didn’t find one line where he wasn’t grouchy and irritable. He’s the one to represent irritation, as his time in the story was fleeting, yet made an impact, just as the emotion does on our mental states. There are several more traits in the group along with a Lory as Stubbornness, the Duck as one that takes everything too literally and so on.

The next big trait comes with the puppy. He is very clearly the inner child in us all. He’s playful, doesn’t do much and is only around for a brief while. But he still is a quick break from the troubles that Wonderland is giving poor Alice. The last big character we see in the first 5 chapters is the Caterpillar. He’s the compulsion we feel at one time or another to be the irritating person who talks in circles. He can’t seem to have a straight conversation with Alice and is constantly stating the obvious, and taking absolutely everything as literally as possible.

It’s really interesting that you can look at the story as the fall into madness, or the human mind. With all the different personalities that change very little in a single person, it’s hard not to see the comparison between one and the other.



4 responses

3 11 2009
Alex F.

To Meighan; At first, Alice really wasn’t thinking before spoke, and I fully believe that the mouse was entitled to a little hissy fit (pardon the pun 🙂 ) But after, when he’s telling the story, he is still acting all offended at the smallest things. That’s more of what I was referencing.

4 11 2009
Meighan A.

Oh! Ok, yes, I agree with that. Later on he is a little over sensitive. Although I still would not blame him for it, if I were in his shoes I wouldn’t have put up with her. Actually, as a mouse I probably never would have tried speaking to her. But I see your point of view.

3 11 2009
Christian Long

I’m in agreement with Meighan: “amazing” way to deconstruct the text, my friend.

While 20th century sensibilities (and off-shoots of modern psychology) lead us to see it this way, there is a universal anthropromorphism (or at least coded human descriptors through the creation of Alice’s travel mates) that seems to be taking place here.

Nice work!

2 11 2009
Meighan A.

Wow, that was amazing! I admire how you got even some of the less important characters in the story to have some effect on your ideas. My one questions is this; you said “It’s all too easy to offend the mouse, and he reacts quite strongly to anything he sees as an insult.” however, if you were a mouse and some little girl kept talking about her pet cat that was excellent at killing mice, would you not be irritated? I know I would! I think the mouse had great patience having stayed around as long as he did. I would have left the first time and not come back.

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