1. “Alice was the next target of the rebellion: ‘the soup ladle was walking up the table towards Alice’s chair’ … Finally, Alice ‘can’t stand this any longer!’ so she jumps up and seizes ‘the table-cloth with both hands: one good pull, and plates, dishes, guests, and candles came crashing down together in a heap on the floor,’ ending not only the mutiny but the stories of Wonderland and the Looking-Glass creatures” (Anthology 314).
I never considered it this way, but the final line of this passage reveals how Alice’s dramatic display of authority ends the entire Alice series. Perhaps, this final scene provides subtle indications as to why Alice left Wonderland. In her previous refusal to abide by the rules of etiquette between humans and food (she cuts the pudding AA 262), Alice demonstrates a sense of dominance over food and a disregard of Wonderland’s mores.
In upheaving the food dishes and guests, Alice further presents herself as more powerful than the other Wonderland creatures. One could contend that her display of superiority represents her departure from the inherent kindness of a child to the learned power complex of an adult. Thus, when she declares, “I can’t stand this any longer!,” Alice is referring to both the chaotic mutiny and her stay in this imagined world. Filled with pride, she is no longer able to remain in the harmonious world of Wonderland, a fabrication of childhood innocence and equality.
2. “In 1859 The Origin of Species proved to many Victorians that the lineage of all living beings could be traced back to common ancestors, demonstrating that animals are indeed our ‘kindred’: members, like us, of the ‘household’ we now call the world ecosystem” (Anthology 315-16).
I really liked this extension of the conventional idea of a “family” to include the entire ecosystem. In my experience, it feels quite natural to love my immediate family (animals included), but it becomes increasingly harder when I consider strangers or people who I don’t instantly identify with. But Darwin is right — under the definition of a “family” as those descended from a common ancestor, both animals and humans constitute a family. If we want to get theological, one could even argue that the entire world – plants, water, creatures – comprise a family, originating from a single creator (i.e. God).
3. “If one Alice is loving, the other is afraid” (Anthology 317).
How incredibly, horribly true of all humans! Just as Alice’s love subsides when her fear rises, humans, myself included, often turn to anger and cruelty when we become fearful. I suppose it’s a biological reaction for self-preservation, but it’s a terrible reality in today’s world because not only threats to our survival instigate fear but also threats to our pride and physical comfort.
4. “Of course ‘love,’ as vague a term as it is in English, is still a popular term for one set of emotions” (Biophilia and Ethics 60).
As my vocabulary of the English language has expanded in recent years, I’ve become increasingly disappointed with the limited availability of words that indicate “love.” We can use it flippantly – “I love Oreos – or in complete seriousness – “I love my mother.” I desperately wish English offered a greater variety of words to express the different forms of love which exist. I’m by no means an expert in Spanish, but after taking it for 5 years, I’ve come to understand the different ways of saying “I love you,” two of which are “te quiero” and “te amo.” “Te quiero” often signifies a more informal “love,” almost signifying “I like you,” while “te amo” is reserved for sincere love for partners and family. This reminds me of Jenna’s link to the website where people create new words for existing states of emotions.
5. “A reader may wonder: if I could free myself momentarily from the net of language, would I feel as free as a child who need not obey the dictates of civilizations and its irrational fears?” (Biophilia and Ethics 63).
While reading, I was struck by the significance of the phrase, “net of language,” which the author uses four times. In our world, language is a two-faced Janus – both enabling and restricting our ability to express ourselves. Of course, in Alice Carroll finds a loophole: creating new words.
Moreover, I think one can extend this idea to humans’ sense of sight. Just as language can inhibit individuals’ ability to convey their true emotions/ideas, sight can prevent them from seeing the world without prejudice and aesthetic judgments.
One of my favorite Youtubers is TommyEdisonXP, a blind man, who discusses the pros, cons, and all-around realities of being blind. In one clip he says, “You know what’s cool about being blind? There’s no race. I don’t know from beauty. I know people from what comes out of their mouth and what’s in their heart.”