Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Themes

Themes and Colors
Childhood and Adulthood Theme Icon
Dreams and Reality Theme Icon
Words, Meaning and Meaninglessness Theme Icon
The Nature of Being and Not Being Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Alice’s experiences in Wonderland can be taken as a kind of exaggerated metaphor for the experience of growing up, both in terms of physically growing up and coming to understand the world of adults and how that world differs from a child's expectation of it. Alice’s anxiety about growing up and about the wide world beyond her familiar comforts can be seen in her constant evaluation of her own size and worth. She…

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Alice in Wonderland is a dream world, full of curiousness, confusion and talking animals. Everything is a little off. This can be delightful and fund, but it can also create a menacing atmosphere that threatens to turn the story from a child’s story of adventure and nonsense to something more like a nightmare, though it never quite does tip into true nightmare.

What is perhaps even more interesting, though, is the way that the ridiculous…

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Wordplay makes Wonderland what it is. The moment Alice descends into the rabbit hole world, she starts questioning everything the world above takes for granted, including and especially language. Sentences and phrases are twisted and turned around so that they mean several things at once and cause misunderstandings and humorous clashes between the characters. “`Do bats eat cats?'” Alice asks as she falls down the rabbit hole, trying to think of life above and life…

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Alice’s world is a philosophical puzzle. Even though she is just a child, Alice thinks and reflects deeply and comes up with some very existential problems. While in Wonderland she comes to wonder if she has become a different child completely, and lists the children she knows, trying to work out how their attributes define them as being Mabel or Ada. She then puzzles over the meaning of ‘I’. Such a fundamental question of…

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