Out of Place, Out of Mind…

1 12 2009

When reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, you see a wide variety of characters and places. Everything from the Griffin and the Mock turtle to the sleeping dormouse, everything in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland appears to have a rhythm. Everything seems to fit into place. There is one character thought that at first place appears quite normal but on second glance is quite out of place. Right after chapter 4’s encounter of Alice in the rabbit House, Alice stumbles upon a quite large puppy. This puppy while seemingly Wonderlandish in appearance is in fact quite out of place.

There is perhaps one thing that separates this puppy from every other character in wonderland. This Puppy cannot speak. Not only can it not speak but it seems to lack any form of sentiments at all, were this not Wonderland I might have guessed that this puppy was from the real world Every other being in wonderland can speak English not only well, but fluently; this point allows each character to be described as human. And all the protections and implications there of. For example: after escaping the puppy, Alice remarks that she would have liked to have kept the puppy, even to have trained it. She would have never considered keeping the dormouse, even though it was perfectly fine to envision Alice keeping a pet mouse, she didn’t consider it for a moment because it could speak and was therefore “human” in the mind of Alice. This Puppy seems to lack all human characteristics that all other characters have. Whether it is sentience, madness, or a sense of self being this puppy was no being of Wonderland.


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6 responses

3 12 2009
Brendon O-L.

That is a very astute observation. I did not notice this until the Chesire Cat said “a dog’s not mad.” Since cats are dogs are assumed to be opposites of dogs, the dog is normal because the cat is mad. The dog can’t talk because the cat can. It would also be out of place to give the dog human characteristics. Dogs are considered man’s best friend, so Carroll is emphasizing this fact by giving the dog all of its usual characteristics. Dogs are easily trained by humans to do many tricks and tasks, while the other animals in the story are not really capable of being trained. Plus, the dog has always had a special place in the hearts’ of man by keeping us company. To put it simply, Carroll is keeping man’s best friend as man’s best friend.

3 12 2009
Connor S.

I did a blog on the puppy as well. It really is strange that Carroll planted something from the ‘real world’ in this otherwise mystical insane and crazy world.

I think the scene had more to do with the previous conversations with the animals, however. Alice was bragging about cats and dogs and their bird/mice catching skills. Isn’t it a bit funny that Alice discovers a dog, right after she bragged about their ability to catch animals right about her current size? Alice recognized this, seeing through the eyes of the animals, and got away from that puppy as fast as she could. I feel that the dog didn’t speak because that would distract from the point (at least, what I think the point is).

2 12 2009
Rachel L.

Correct me if I am wrong but was Alice small at this point? if so then that would make the puppy a normal size. What is this puppy doing in wonderland? I think we might be able to say that perhaps the same thing was happening to the puppy as it was to Alice. Maybe the puppy also went down the rabbit hole after Alice and is therefore not a creature from wonderland. If the puppy were a normal puppy then it would be logical to assume that the puppy could not speak because it could not speak in the real world. Alice could not do anything different than when she was in reality while in wonderland. She still functioned as a normal human being. So maybe the puppy is still functioning as a normal puppy.

2 12 2009
Morgan P.

Good observation! You’re right! The puppy seems to be out of place. What was the importance of having a puppy in the story anyway? Also, all the other characters have odd characteristics. The rabbit, well can talk. But the puppy? He doesn’t do anything “out of the ordinary.” He’s just a puppy. That is a smart thought Mike had. Supposedly things going on while you are sleeping can affect your dreams. So it is possible there was a dog influencing her dream. The only thing is that she mentioned having a cat, but never a dog. Strange!

2 12 2009
Ryan S.

While I agree that the story never did say that the puppy couldn’t speak there were subtle implications. Every action done by the puppy seemed to be indicative of an animal it acted in every way that a puppy should/would. It chased after the stick and it barked. It also walked on all fours like a dog would. While most, “more human” characters were all bipedal.

Perhaps indeed, however, while i believe you are on the right track I think your conclusion is a bit off. I believe that the puppy was definitely from the real world, but there is no record of the Liddells ever owning a dog. It is more likely that since they were in the park, another family stopped by and there dog started playing with the sleeping Alice.

However all this aside, thank you for commenting I quite enjoyed you reasoning.

1 12 2009
Mike N.

Very interesting. But, do we know that the dog cannot speak? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I do not remember reading that the dog *couldn’t* speak, but it simple *did not* speak. We should not assume or jump to conclusions on this matter.

I agree with you, though. It is odd that the dog does not speak, especially since all the other animals are. I remember that sometimes when my dog tries to wake me up or lick me while I’m sleeping, he will appear in the dream I was having. Perhaps Alice had a dog, and the dog was nudging her in her sleep?

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