Hey guys, I talk about Lady T from Living Read Girl all the time so after writing up my review for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, I asked her to do a guest post here and she agreed! Isn’t she awesome? It’s one of my favorite types of articles she does at her own blog so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
THOROUGHLY MODERN ALICE IN POP CULTURE WONDERLAND
Alice in Wonderland, along with its sequel, Thru The Looking Glass, is one of the sturdier cornerstones of children's fantasy literature. Tons of film adaptations (both big screen and small) have entranced generations for decades and yet, the real influence of Lewis Carroll's bizarre tale goes far beyond the nursery.
Plenty of more learned folk than I have pointed this out, but it bears repeating, I think, especially since some of them are so subtle that they easily slip under the pop culture radar. Let me just show you a few examples of what I mean:
Alice in Wonderland is one of the most chatty books for children around; Carroll even lets us know what we're in for during the beginning of the book when Alice complains about how boring her big sister's reading materials is "without pictures or conversation."
Most of the action in AIW and TTLG is a series of conversations, with the Caterpillar, The Cheshire Cat, Tweedles Dee and Dum and of course, the infamous tea party. Such strong love of talking about nonsense in a clever way has been seen on a number of TV shows, with Gilmore Girls being a prime example. Just watch this musical version of the Mad Hatter's bash and this Friday Night Dinner at the Gilmores. Then try and tell me that Lorelai couldn't hold her own against those fellas:
Another down the rabbit hole moment occurs for Rory, when she runs into the offbeat daughter of a seemingly picture perfect Harvard alumnus family. Granted the girl's outfit is referred to as a "birthday bunny," but she does have a very Alice look to her, along with the "late for an important date" vibe:
FRIGHTENING FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Lewis Carroll like to sneak some sinister subtext into his work, with all of his nonsense verse not being as innocent as it seemed. The Walrus and the Carpenter, for example, is pretty creepy if you really think about it and more than one person has suggested that it's a sinister satirical look at manipulation of the masses, as pointed out in Kevin Smith's Dogma:
DANCE OF THE VILLIANS
The Mad Hatter has become the most fearsome icon from the story, even tho there are more dangerous dwellers in Wonderland such as the Queen of Hearts with her habit of demanding beheadings for the slightest insult. He's even had the honor of becoming an enemy of Batman (well showcased on Batman: The Animated Series) and Tom Petty played his wicked weirdness to the hilt in his "Don't Come Around Here" video:
So, while Alice and her odd friends may appear to be quaint Victorian story book figures, their reach extends far into our present day realm of imagination. You could say that Lewis Carroll helped to pave the way for surrealism to be accepted in mainstream society and that he created the first popular quest tale for girls. A pretty sweet literary legacy that other storytellers draw from the well of inspiration to create just as powerful images to live within you: