Why Not?

Does Carroll Know? by Hersh T.
November 20, 2009, 5:44 pm
Filed under: Hersh

We can obviously tell that Carroll is leading us somewhere. The only question is where? And, does the journey he is taking us on matter more than the actual place he is taking us? Maybe that realization is the destination itself? But, he must have known that when written with such wit and character that this book would gain national recognition and fame. And so he must be trying to give the world something to chew on as subtly as he could. This idea of journey versus destination has already been discussed in a previous blog post.

But, as I think about all this I think of a different question. Does Carroll know where he is taking us?

When you write a story, often the frenzy of a story takes over your mind and the excitement that overtakes you gives the story a life of its own. When a story gets a life of its own then it can overpower even the most determined mind. Because of this, I believe that Carroll originally had a destination in mind, however, the excitement of writing probably “fuzzified” the destination. In a rough draft, we can often get away with letting our original message get distracted, however, after revision it is a blunder. But!, if the new direction and destination is even more powerful than before then often the author will simply adopt the new path. This is most likely what happened here.

3 Comments so far
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I love the questions you posed. It is agreed that when you want to write a story you have a destination or moral in mind, but once in the process of writing, there are so many things to write about you get lost. I’m sure Carroll had a destination in mind at the beginning of this well thought out story, but when he got so caught up in making the journey a ‘wonderland’, he forgot where he was taking us. Or maybe he didn’t mean to take us anywhere? Maybe he meant for the whole journey to be where he is taking us? Maybe every single place Alice came to was his destination. This meaning, Carroll had more than one destination.

Comment by Angela W.

Hersh, this is a good understanding of the story. I don’t think Carroll just said one day “I would like to challenge society by using a simple children’s tale to voice my views on life!!:)”. He probably had a much simpler goal in the beginning, but once he got into the mind set of wonderland ,his ideas just got bigger and more developed. Carroll definitely created a monster with this story. It is a criticism filled book just waiting to be judged by people.

Who couldn’t judge it? It’s human nature to pry apart this book, it gives people something to talk about. His personal background just adds more fuel to the fire. So because of the natural development of this story, that is universal and has probably happened to every writer known to man from Shakespeare to Stephenie Meyer (Twilight/New Moon anyone??:)), we end up with this amazing story of a little girl named Alice which was his primary vision of this book that now has turned into a phenomenon that we will continue to analyze and understand for many years to come.

Comment by Sylvia A.

I love your point that “the new direction and destination [proves to be] even more powerful than before [and that often] the author will simply adopt the new path.”

Just on a note, I had the impression that when Carroll wrote this book his target audience was one specific little girl, and I’m not sure he was writing to speak to the masses. Either way, I agree Carroll must have had an idea of what he wanted to convey, but that even he might not have had an idea where he was headed or what he was getting into. I think the way Wonderland functions speaks to this notion, because when reading the story there are myriad ways to analyze and interpret anything and everything, hinting to the fact that Carroll wasn’t just heading to one specific place. It’s funny because the not-so-grand finale is when Alice wakes up, but what is truly meaningful to the reader is not necessarily how thing end up, but how they got that way.

Comment by Rachel M.

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