Is Wonderland the Island?-The Duchess’ Baby

November 13, 2009

The Duchess’ baby is another character of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that reminds me greatly of Lord of the Flies. The baby reminds me of all of the boys that embraced their surroundings on the island to the point that they greatly resembled the pigs that they hunted. Recall that we are first introduced to the baby when it is being terribly mistreated by the duchess. This, in a way, is similar to the boys’ misadventures on the island.

More importantly, however, after being mistreated for so long by the Duchess, the baby finally does literally turn into a pig. Now, the boys in Lord of the Flies never actually turned into pigs, but their actions came close. The boys were put in a terrible situation and were forced to adapt in order to survive, which is similar to the baby, who was so ugly that even Alice says it will do better as a pig anyway. In modern society, we are all to often judged based on attractiveness. The more unattractive you are, the harder it is to get what you want, which ultimately results in weakness. The baby and Piggy in Lord of the Flies are prime examples of this.

In Lord of the Flies, as the boys are being forced to hunt and endure their natural surroundings to survive, they realize that they need to essentially become their surroundings. Jack is first to pick this up, and he paints himself and goes about on four legs to actually appear to be a pig. As the story develops and the transition from civilized to savage advances further and further, all of the boys end up being animal-like, or pig-like, in a physical as well as mental sense. Also, at the end of the story, Ralph even asks himself what a pig would do in order to avoid the savages. He realizes that the pigs have good natural instincts that must be utilized in order to survive being “hunted”.

The comparison between man and pig is an interesting one. Usually when one calls someone a “pig”, it is meant as an insult, like calling someone fat or sloppy. However, as I have begun to notice in literature, it can also have a much more symbolic meaning. It could be used to describe the animalistic qualities of someone, be it their physical appearance or their mental state. It could refer to savagery, or immorality. It could even be used in a positive light, as a valuable instinct for survival. Or it could refer to the devolpment of humankind. There truly are a multitude of ways to interpret the relationship between pigs and people.

The question is, what does the baby represent? Or does it symbolize anything at all? I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this.

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