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A Thought about Lewis Carroll's Alice or Down the Rabbit Hole

Updated on June 4, 2012

He was a life-long celibate, but he fathered one of the most wonderful and curious girls in the world. Her name was Alice and she was not only a creature of Lewis Carroll's imagination, but a real flesh and blood young lady who inspired Carroll to such extent, that he 're-invented' her as a fictional character!

It is this re-invention as formulated in the book Alice in Wonderland, that I am here concerned with. This book, or story, or whatever you wish to call it, is world-renowned and admired by young and old.


Exhibit 'A'

At this point, you may be wondering what exactly I'm getting to. Let's start with this whole business of 'falling down a rabbit hole.'

Now either Alice was little girl of two inches in height, in which case she could very well have fallen down a rabbit hole, OR the rabbit with the watch and waistcoast was a veritable skyscraper in height, and the earth shook as he walked on it. In that case, yes, a normal 12 year old girl could fall down his rabbit hole. But you cannot have it both ways! Either Alice was very very small, or the rabbit was very very big.

As evidence I provide exhibit 'A' wherein we see Pooh stuck in a rabbit hole and Pooh is only a teddy bear, so for a real girl it would be even more likely.



I read 12 books a day at the age of two.
I read 12 books a day at the age of two.

Now I first read Alice in Wonderland when I was very young--still toddling around in diapers in fact--and I believe I read something like twelve books a day at that age, demanding my mother go the library so often that I am told she went through 3 pairs of shoes a year just wearing out her insoles. Be that as it may, when she brought home this story of a young girl who had amazing adventures in a place called Wonderland ( i believe Dodgson originally wanted to call it 'Underground' but his publisher talked him out of it thinking that underground sounded too much like Hades of the Greeks, and a little girl having adventures with a bunch of ghosts from Athens and Pompeii was not the best of ideas for a children's book, so Charlie Dodgson changed it to Wonderland because he needed the royalties from it's sale to pay off some gambling debts, or some such thing, so the story goes) and in this Wonderland tale we have too many things that drive me up the wall every time I read it, which isn't that often because being driven up the wall is not my favorite form of exercise--I much prefer jogging.

So let's re-write it as 'Alice sqeeeezed herself through a rabbit hole and suddenly began falling down it...' That's much better and I'm sure if I were Lewis Carroll's editor he would thank me for the suggestion.




Speaking Rabbits?

Now as to the question of the white rabbit speaking English? Well this is no contradiction.

Most white rabbits (at least those I have known)  are polyglots. I should think everyone knows that!



LInks

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- Chapter I
>>>> So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her. There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, `Oh dear! In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again. Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw.

Studies in Alice I; Down the Rabbit Hole | Marc Edmund Jones
>>>>>>This lesson inaugurates the second half of the seventy-fourth year in the presentation of the Sabian philosophy and begins a series of twenty-six studies in a book that in barely more than a generation had become immortal and is a consideration of the first chapter of Alice in Wonderland. The first great principle of wisdom in the Sabian philosophy as revealed through the adventures of Alice is that everything in life is a sacrament. Nothing remains in human memory without some tie to experience, and the race cannot hold or hand down ideas that are not enough in tune with the eternal structure to become part of racial experience. He can almost fall down a hole literally and escape injury.
http://www.sabian.org/alice1mj.htm

Alice in Wonderland quotes
>>>>>>Alice: Well, after this I should think nothing of falling down stairs. Alice: It would be so nice if something made sense for a change. Alice: It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.

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