An Artistic View of the Cheshire Cat

December 1, 2009

The Cheshire Cat scene of the children’s movie version of Alice in Wonderland:

Now many people are familiar with the Cheshire Cat. With the famous line, “We are all mad here” he is seen as a very unique character in Alice in Wonderland. Yet, what really is the definition of mad in the story of Alice in Wonderland? Do you believe the Cheshire Cat or any other Alice in Wonderland characters are mad? Some may.

Art is an easy way to express emotions or opinions. Through drawings, paintings, sculptures and such you can say so many things. Like others say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Along with the Disney interpretation, here are some other interpretations of the Cheshire Cat:

Original interpretation:

This is the original pencil drawing by John Tenniel seen in The Annotated Alice. This set the path for the many other interpretations out there. Yet, due to the drawing being in pencil, we are unable to see the colour scheme Tenniel would have used to make up the Cheshire Cat. Colour is also an important factor in pictures because people always associate different colours with different moods and adjectives.

Friendly interpretation:

Now in this picture we once again see the Cheshire Cat in a more childlike and modern version. The softer, pastel colours in this picture gives off a happier vibe, don’t you think?

Dark Interpretation:

This version is definitely a darker side that the Cheshire Cat can portray. With the dark colour scheme and in truth, evil look, any child who saw this would definitely not think of the Cheshire Cat at first glance.

Now what do all of these pictures of the Cheshire Cat have in common? The smile. Is the smile of the Cheshire Cat the real thing being judged here? Do you think people would portray the Cheshire Cat differently if it weren’t for his huge grin on his face all the time?

It sure is something to think about.


  1. It will be interesting to see Burton’s interpretation in March. Personally, I think the image in what I’ve seen of Burton’s view is much closer to Carrol’s intent than the original Disney version! How about you?

  2. If the Cheshire cat had a frown I think people might take him too seriously. When people frown it is hard to tell if they are joking or being serious. The Cheshire cat’s grin is the type of expression we see on someones face when they are hiding something. This way we can tell what he has to say is important, but he isn’t completely serious. In my opinion, the characters in Wonderland are not truly mad as in crazy, but they are not afraid to express themselves. Everyone is different, like art. No two peices of art are exactly the same. All the charcters in Wonderland are like different peices of art. In fact we are all like art. Art is about using creativity and imagination, isn’t that what Wonderland is about too?

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