Simple Schooling

20 11 2009

When the Mock Turtle is telling his story, he spends most of his time telling about his school under the sea. He replaces the normal subjects with words that sound a bit like the actual subject, but their meaning is very much different.

School is almost never taken with a positive state of mind. You have to get up early, force yourself to focus through classes that you don’t really care about, and then do even more work when you get home. It’s not a pleasant experience. But the Mock Turtle takes the regular classes that we know and gives them new names that I personally think fit much better than their current titles. There’s arithmetic, with its addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, which turns into ambition, distraction, uglification and derision. All of these (except addition, which to me is the easiest one) have a negative connotation.

It rather amuses me that even in a mixed-up world like Wonderland, school is still an unpleasant experience. In fact, even if Wonderland is an odd and mixed up place, the characters still seem to be more intelligent that Alice. They’re constantly badgering her about being a “simpleton” and snapping at her for asking silly questions. Now, seeing as this is such a strange place, it makes a bit of sense that uglification wouldn’t have the simple, obvious definition that the Gryphon gives. But, since it’s Wonderland, then you might be able to assume that since nothing is as it seems, then everything is as it seems in the most simple and obvious way. And that is why this book is giving me a headache 🙂



4 responses

1 12 2009
Emma L.

I completely agree with your thoughts! I also love the title “Simple Schooling”! It is very catchy and sums up your thoughts in two words.

I still view school in a positive way, yet not as much as I did when I was in Preschool and Lower school. Perhaps the Mock Turtle is trying to show Alice how not to view school, or show her that school could be worse than maybe she thinks it is. It is quite amusing that in the pretty much “opposite” world of Wonderland, school is shown as not the happiest of things when so many teenagers agree. Of course Carroll was writing for a little girl not an opinionated teenager. I do love your very last statement as well “And that is why this book is giving me a headache” because I think many of us would agree that we have experienced a very long 6 week headache. 😉

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26 11 2009
Angela W.

This is a great post! Carroll makes the Mock Turtle change the words of our arithmetic, well, because it is Wonderland. Doesn’t everything have to be done differently in Wonderland? By Carroll having the Mock Turtle talk about school in a different view, I think he is sating that learning is done everywhere in all different ways. We are always learning even if we don’t realize it. We only think we learn at school in our daily classes, but actually we learn a lot outside of school. It may not be something we need to know, but it informs us as citizens.

26 11 2009
Connor M.

Very nice concept. Nothing is as it seems in Wonderland, which means everything is as it seems. It does get rather confusing after that point, though.

All of the characters have in fact spent most of their time pointing out small mistakes Alice has “constantly” made. As I have proposed before, maybe they are trying to point out that she is in fact mad like all the rest of them… or maybe they’re trying to drive her mad. As well as us, of course.

21 11 2009
Jenna K.

I LOVE your last few sentences. Because it makes complete sense to me! I always think about that when people are trying to out smart something that is already built to out smart the people that will try to out smart it. So you’re actually better off not trying to out smart it because it’s expecting you to out smart it. You know? I may just be rambling now. Anyways I think Carroll was trying to make learning seem like something that is done everywhere, even in Wonderland. Because most likely Alice didn’t like school, although she thought of herself as rather smart. So he was probably trying to encourage her to go to school because I mean if a Gryphon and Mock Turtle go to school it must be cool right?

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