Embracing “Silliness” – Alice in Wonderland

Authors experiences History Special Interests

Until recently, I had never delved into the whimsical world of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. However, when I discovered that a local theatre group was staging a performance of this iconic tale, I decided it was time to explore it more deeply.

Written by Lewis Carroll in 1865, the story offers a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a logical mathematician. Carroll’s alternate perspective—distinct from his day job—infuses the narrative with intricate word puzzles. As he played with the confounding logic of the English language, he wove a tapestry of absurdity and wonder. You might just as well say “I see what I eat” is the same as “I eat what I see”.

Even Carroll’s pen name, “Lewis Carroll,” carries hidden layers. Derived by translating his real name into Latin and then back into English, it reflects his penchant for linguistic playfulness.

So, next time you encounter the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, “down the rabbit hole”, Tweedle dee and Tweedle dum, or the Mad Hatter, remember that behind the whimsy lies a logical mind unraveling the mysteries of Wonderland.

The Silliness

I suppose since I too have a logic driven mind, I previously dismissed the story as totally random childish silliness, and didn’t understand the depth of the language use in the story. I was also thrown off by the seemingly exaggerated home-made costumes of the characters. I started my journey into Carol by watching a 1972 movie version (youTube) of the children’s story. I came to realize that this made the characters more approachable for children, in that the kids could play act and dress up as the characters at home themselves! I also experimented with home video’s of the day in 1980, so I found myself appreciating the simplistic movie effects that were used at that time. This led me even further back in time to the silent film era in 1915 (youTube). The character costumes and sets were actually quite impressive.

1915 version of White Rabbit

In the 1915 film, Alice was played by Viola Savoy, pictured here in a subsequent film.

The 1972 movie featured Fiona Fullerton who was age 15 at the time and went on to be in a James Bond movie as a villain.

The 1999 Version with Martin Short and Woopi Goldberg, added a few new dimensions to the silliness. (YouTube Video)


I’ll try to turn off my need for certain logic, and clarity, as I pursue some of the other Lewis Carol stories, like Through the Looking Glass and other more modern releases.


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