Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


Lewis Carroll

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Genre 1 key example

Explanation and Analysis—Fantasy:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland exemplifies the genre of fantasy. On its very first page, the story plunges its protagonist into a fantastical world. Alice tumbles down the rabbit hole to discover a room with many doors; she soon finds herself eating and drinking potions that make her big or small enough to access many such strange portals of Wonderland. Along the way, she meets the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, and the Queen of Hearts. All the animals speak; most of the characters could not exist in reality; even the ones that seem vaguely human (like the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts) seem ridiculous and overblown. All of these elements exemplify the genre of fantasy, which is marked by the presence of strange settings and unnatural beings. 

As Alice tries to navigate and understand the rules of Wonderland, she quickly comes to realize that nothing makes sense, characters often contradict themselves, and whatever she expects to happen will be overturned. For these reasons, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is sometimes called absurdist fiction. Absurdist fiction is most commonly known for using surrealism and comedy to explore essential themes; this story contains many chuckle-worthy scenes such as the Caucus Race in Chapter 3, in which a dodo bird makes other animals run in circles to get dry.

More generally, this story belongs to the genre of classic children's literature. Although it explores some deeper themes and can be read as a political allegory, its emphasis remains on the delightful curiosity of youth, and its prose remains clever yet simple enough to be enjoyed by young readers.