Where is the Family?

November 25, 2009

Throughout the book Carroll hardly mentions Alice’s family. In fact the only family member of Alice’s Carroll vaguely talks about in the book is Alice’s sister. In the story Alice’s sister is even given a name.

I found this weird because in today’s society family is such an important thing. Before I got to chapter twelve my mind kept on wondering when or how is Carroll going to introduce Alice’s family in the story. I know this story is so bizarre, which is one of the characteristics that make it so unique, but I couldn’t help thinking about why Alice is not freaking out in this crazy environment and insane characters.

With the help of discussing with a few of my peers I came to a conclusion. I believe Alice is not reacting as I believe a girl her age should react because she is so entertained and distracted by this new place. It’s like a kid with a toy, once the child receives a new toy he automatically plays with the new one and ignores the old one. Therefore Alice is so amused with wonderland that she has not thought about her family.

I believe there is another reason to the lack of information about Alice’s family in the story.

Carroll was an unmarried English man who never had children of his own. His family was limited to just his parents and his siblings. I believe because he did not have children or a spouse of his own, he lacked the feeling families have. His closest reaction with children was little kids that belonged to other people. Instead of building his own family he was attached to other family’s daughters. I believe if Carroll had his own children and spouse his story would contain a lot more references toward families. Despite what I believe, what do you believe is the reason for the story’s lack of family reference in the story?


  1. You’ve hit on a major theme in children’s literature, Edward…the lack of family (or trusted adults).

    Harry Potter is a perfect example of this…Harry is an orphan and, while he has adults around him at the start, by the end of his journey, he has lost all of his most trusted adults. JK Rowling said in an interview once that she did this because there comes a point in any great adventure, the hero must go it alone.

    Rowling isn’t the only one to have figured this out–look at Dickens…and the Brothers Grimm…and, of course, Carroll!

  2. Haha thanks Alex, I was just about to say that I thought the same thing! I like you “toy” idea, and how you suggest that Alice is just to distracted with her new adventure that she has momentarily forgotten about her past life. Although it seems like a girl her age would grow homesick and want to be with her family, especially when she is going through so much trouble. Alice does talk about her cat a lot though. (If that counts as family)

  3. Hey! Keith had a similar blog, maybe you should link to each other. Just a suggestion.

    That is a good point, her family should be bigger part of Alice’s life, being so young. Your point that Carroll never really had a family himself is interesting. He made Alice in his own image, or perhaps in the image of Alice Liddell, because he wished to be her family. What I really think is that Lewis Carroll didn’t mention Alice’s family because he wanted her to make her own decisions. If a family was with Alice, they would be there to help her, to protect her. Without one she must face the consequences, and in a bigger picture, grow up. The fact that the people of Wonderland are so interesting in comparison to the normal people from Alice’s world also keep her distracted. (As you mentioned) Maybe through all this madness, the denizens of Wonderland have become Alice’s family…

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