Differences Between Alice\'s Adventures In Wonderland And Through The Looking Glass

At the mention of the name Alice, one tends to usually think of the children’s stories by Lewis Carroll. Namely, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are two classic works of children’s literature that for over a century have been read by children and adults alike. These two stories tell the tale of a young girl named Alice who finds herself in peculiar surroundings, where she encounters many different and unusual characters. Although Alice is at the centre of both stories, each tale is uniquely different in its purpose, characters and style.
Carroll first published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, three years after he had first told the story to the young girl Alice Liddell and her sisters, following her request for a story full of nonsense. The creation of this story began on a river picnic as Carroll began telling the tale of Alice in Wonderland to entertain the girls. Unlike the spontaneity in the creation of the first story, Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass was published six years after the first, when Alice was a teenager. This latter story was more logical than the first and clearly differed from it in both its style and direction.
The introduction of Alice and how she finds herself in the “other” world is very different in each of the stories. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice’s curiosity and boredom leads her to follow the White Rabbit as he rushes passed her. She ends up falling down the rabbit hole which takes both her and the reader into a world of magic and disorder. Carroll’s Wonderland is a place where Alice finds many of the characters difficult and odd. She encounters various characters along her journey, many of whom likely represented real people known to the real Alice Liddell. Throughout the first story, Alice also finds herself growing and shrinking at various stages, something that Carroll does not repeat in Through the Looking Glass.
Alice’s curiosity also leads her into the “other” world in Through the Looking Glass. Unlike Carroll’s first story, this world is one that is logical and in that loses some of its magic. As Alice enters through the glass mirror, her surroundings become reversed and Carroll repeats this image of reversal throughout the story in the poem of the Jabberwocky, the mirror images of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, as well as when the White Queen shrieks first and picks herself later. This use of reversal is not found in Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Both of these stories are structured differently in the manner in which Carroll had written them. For Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, there is no direction to the story and one could almost place the chapters in any sequence and the story would still make sense. However, the opposite is true for Through the Looking Glass as Carroll clearly indicated at the beginning with the introduction of the chess game. This image of a chess board is fundamental to understanding the story in Through the Looking Glass and portrays a sense of logic and order to the reader. Throughout the story, the reader has a clear sense of direction as to where the story will go next and each chapter follows in sequence. Alice’s journey in the second story is to go from being a pawn to that of a Queen.
Carroll’s use of the chess board is also important in Alice’s transition to adulthood. Her journey across the chess board from being a pawn to reaching the status of Queen represents the growth of being a child to becoming an adult. This emphasis is conveyed primarily in Through the Looking Glass and Carroll conveys this through the encounters that Alice has with the various characters, mainly the Queens and the Kings. The Queen always seems one step ahead of Alice, similar to what a child feels in an “adult” world. Carroll continues to express the tyranny of adulthood through Alice’s encounters and journey. She soon learns that becoming a Queen was not all she had anticipated it to be.
This growth to adulthood is not as evident in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, rather it is in Wonderland that Carroll conveys adulthood from a child’s perspective. This