[RGC 3.] Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

[read: my permanent obsession]

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» Must haves: a summer afternoon, sitting on a swing, with your sun hat on, there’s probably nothing better than reading Carroll. » Pairs well with: a cup of English Breakfast + honey or sweetened iced tea, just depends on the weather. {Tea roses necessary to help feel extra fabulous like the Queen of Hearts, with some added definition of Yankee Candle essentials.}

The first time I recall reading any Lewis Carroll was in the second grade. We had a few reading quizzes we could take online to earn points in class and get prizes in return. The idea was to enhance your reading level by pushing yourself to read more difficult pieces, worth more points, and in turn engage your love for reading with academics. Seven-year-old Sneha picked out a solid 20-pointer (score!) for her first book that year. It was none other than Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.

I had been familiar with Alice by virtue of being a child growing up in America. Alice was everywhere. I hadn’t read the latter though, and managed to get a solid 50% on my quiz because I assumed Through the Looking-Glass was the same thing. It was not [read: rude awakening]. I went back and read both parts of the Carroll piece and don’t think I’ve been able to shake myself from it since.

Alice is still everywhere. She was the theme for Neena’s debutante party, for which I made Alice-inspired bows and helped pick out her Alice-esque dress. Her escorts both dressed as the white rabbit, and I’m still laughing at their top hats and pocket watches. We recently read Carroll for my Finnegans Wake class (more on that later *nervous laughter*) to see the links in his nearly nonsensical world and Joyce’s unconscious reality. And, boy, was Carroll all through that book. As we read Joyce, I see more and more of the strangeness of Carroll shining through. Those same aspects of fantasy and reality, of unbirthdays and flamingos for croquet, drew me in when I was a child and keep calling me back as a college student. I don’t know what it is about Alice, but she’s all over the place. It’s a treasured thing, this imagination, and this understanding of the world. I really do thank Carroll for giving me that; even though I failed the quiz, it gave me a genuine interest and challenge to read something that was more difficult, crucial, and intriguing than meets the eye.

Do I even need to say it? 10 out of 10 would recommend.

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