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A Dodo is a Dodo, is a Dodo, is a Dodo…

November 1, 2009

In reading the annotated version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, many references and analyses have come to my attention. The only problem is, I have no idea as to why some of them are relevant or important.

Alice’s various changes in size are somehow illustrative of the scientific expanding-universe theory? It’s interesting, but is it important?

The mention of a dodo, should it really spawn various books and analyses on the relationship between Dodo and Dodgeson, and add sudden significance to the fact that the author, Charles Dodgeson (aka Lewis Carroll), comes directly before the word “dodo” in Encyclopaedia Britannica? In my humble opinion, this is a prime example of G.K. Chesterton’s claim that Alice should not be over-analyzed, for risk of compromising the ingenuity of the story.

While it is true that it is difficult to believe that all of the references and seemingly symbolic material within the story are merely coincidental, given the short amount of time that Dodgeson wrote the story in, it is equally difficult to believe that every single aspect of the story has a deeper meaning and that absolutely nothing can be written off as simply a coincidence. While it is imperative that one understand both the adult perspective as well as the child perspective when attempting to analyze Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, there have to be times when one must simply return to the innocence of Alice and stop digging for oil that is dried up.

Any thoughts?

I would be more than happy to admit that I am wrong and write about the brilliance of the dodo bird reference, but I am just not seeing it yet.

4 comments

  1. Honestly, I don’t see how knowing about the Dodo changes the way I perceive the story at all, and it’s really only good for a blog wondering about how it’s supposed to be significant. I was reading a lot of the annotations thinking “Ok, and you’re telling me this….Why???” Some of them just seemed kind of random and unrelated, like the person writing started out on track, then got too involved in writing the annotation than in explaining a part of the story. I’m happy to admit that a lot of the annotations were interesting and helpful, like the ones with the real poems in the. Those were great! But maybe it was over-kill with some of the rest of them.


  2. I agree there are often tidbits in the annotations that seem far fetched. Although, I could understand Carroll including the Expanding-Universe Theory as a side reference if it was a relevant topic of the day. Oppositely, I don’t believe he was trying to represent such an abstract concept in a story that was meant for Alice, and not for someone who could fully appreciate such an idea. The story seems like the place for a representative Dodo, but not a colossal scientific theory. Most of me doesn’t believe that Carroll was the type to include end-all-be-all conclusions about the universe. I am still one who believes that Carroll didn’t write Alice with a purpose to exemplify human truths, but rather his story spoke of humanity through the conclusions one could make from all the empty spaces in between.


  3. I agree that the book is sometimes being over-examined by people. There are points in the story that I think have little significance, but there are thinkers and authors who seem to find ideas and “links.” It seems that they are just trying to find some little thing that has a very small “link” to another aspect of Carroll’s life. They are just trying real hard to analyze and find one little thing that may reference back to Carroll. I believe that at some points Carroll did not even mean to reference an idea, but an author/thinker found some link.

    I very much agree that some of the annotations are a bit forced and an extra addition. It seems that these’ analizers are just trying to gain some prestige from trying to decipher Carroll’s book about Alice.


  4. Perhaps a dodo bird conjures up a particular ‘personality’, thus that the bird is more symbolic of a type of person that might seem ‘odd’ in the real world but is perfectly ‘normal’ in Wonderland?



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