16. november 2012

Framing the reality

Carroll's stories Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass are astonishing works and one can find numerous interesting observations therein. One of those has its beginning a few years before they were published. Science, industrial revolution and especially Darwin, changed a lot in human mind. In this aspect, especially Through the looking glass made a very good attempt in telling the world, especially children, that the truth isn't always rational and systemized. And where is the path to the other side.
It's just seeing/knowing things differently. Firstly, If Carroll built an imaginary world only to bring smile on a child's face, then no Goats were there, preaching them, what they (like Alice) ought to know (p.32). Author speaks to a child, proving that even vivid dreams have elements of serious life. Secondly, conversations that Alice has with everyone, can help us get to the Carroll's criticism of Darwin and strict science. Remember Alice's talk to the Gnat and how we name the insects only for our purposes (p.35) - this goes to authors academic colleagues, reminding them that they need to observe nature in every possible way. And thirdly, even if life contains strict rules of the game, the whole game can consist a lot more than there is seen prima facie. Chess is a game and Alice knows how to play it, but a pawn is never merely a pawn. It’s not like Alice needs new realities; she already embraces them. The real trick here is reflecting this to us. Carroll is giving us a reality-check. And to everyone, who believes “contrariwise”, Alice has a shout: ''I am real!'' (p.51).
Carroll and his stores are on powerful mission here: though criticizing, they neither deny Darwin nor seriousness of life, but enrich our perception of reality. Once more it’s shown how fantasy frames the reality.

(cited) Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass. Web edition published by eBooks@Adelaide. Accessible via http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/carroll/lewis/looking/index.html

Alice Through the Looking Glass (Colin Smith) / CC BY-SA 2.0

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