A Sense of Blue…

3 11 2009

Out of all the characters recognized in Alice’s adventures in Wonderland six are perhaps the most renown. Alice herself, the white rabbit, the mad hatter, the Cheshire cat, the Red Queen, and The Caterpillar. All of these characters are recognizable and have an air to them that definitely fits the mood and feeling of wonderland. And while I will carefully explain the meaning of each of these characters and their symbols, I have decided to start with perhaps the most enigmatic of them all, the Caterpillar.

When Alice first spies the caterpillar sitting on the mushroom, there is a long silence followed by a single question: “Who are you?” a simple enough question and the basic requirement for this question would be to answer with your name. Instead Alice gives the answer ‘she isn’t sure’. As I had tried to explain in my bio, your name is never who you are, merely your designation. what you define yourself as, is who you are, unfortunately for Alice, she has been changed around and in size and form so much, she no longer knows who or what to define herself as. While reading through the story I only noticed a single instance of the Caterpillar giving a piece of advice: “keep your temper.” he says. Now I may be analyzing too far into the caterpillar’s meaning and if this is so, please ignore my ramblings. As the caterpillar is leaving, he leaves us with the impression that he has supernatural abilities (when he reads Alice’s mind and answers her question). If we consider the Caterpillar as not the normal creature in wonderland, then we can try to classify him. If I were to place him in any type of previously set roles, I would say he is a profit. You can identify this in his one piece of advice.

Perhaps, “keep your temper” isn’t relevant at the moment, but when Alice confronts the Red Queen it is very important. I would also like to point out another connection. “Keep your temper” also means “Don’t loose your head.” and when Alice talks to the Red Queen, by keeping her temper, she won’t loose her head either. One thing most everyone points out is the use of drugs in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In the book the most blatant drug reference comes from the caterpillar, but if you look at the caterpillar as a profit of figure of wisdom, then this is not unexpected.

Throughout history and pop culture, whenever there is a profit figure they use drugs to either get a spiritual “high”, or else to enter a dream or trance like state, that allows a better understanding. Examples, are everywhere from, Native American Indian warriors, to Kobala form “Battlestar Galactica”. One thing Alice is famous for is its political and spiritual humor through the use of wonderlandian characters. By accepting that the Caterpillar and its hookah are a part of that we get a better understanding of why Lewis Carroll would have this character, “under the influence”


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