Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/7334
This B.A. essay explores the adventures of Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871), and Max in Where the Wild Things Are (1963). The protagonists’ journeys into their imaginations and what they learn while away in fantastical, imaginary worlds are amongst the topics; a deeper analysis of what these journeys may represent to a child or an adult reader. The theme of alienation in children’s literature is examined and several iconic children’s books are used in comparison to Carroll’s and Sendak’s novels. The common motif in children’s literature, the anthropomorphic animal, is explored as well as the symbolism of animals and in particular, the wolf and the rabbit. Max’s wolfsuit is an indication of Max’s longing to behave like an animal and to simulate a wolf is a peculiar choice as it is an unruly, undomesticated animal and frightening to most children. A rabbit dressed in a waistcoat piques Alice’s curiosity and she follows the anthropomorphic rabbit into its hole and there she embarks on her journey into Wonderland. The rabbit is a popular subject in children’s literature and this essay touches on the subject of rabbits dressed in clothes and speculates on the importance of animals in children’s literature.
This essay also examines the backgrounds of the authors, Lewis Carroll and Maurice Sendak, and the effect their societies had on their work. Lewis Carroll’s Victorian background, filled with strict rules and etiquettes, was the exact opposite of Wonderland’s chaos while Maurice Sendak’s background was the postwar United States, a nation determined to hide the bloody past of the World Wars to the upcoming generations. The radical changes of the 1960s focused on empowerment and enlightenment in all sectors of society and Sendak jumped aboard the ship of changes with his debut children’s book Where the Wild Things Are.
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