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Wonderland Vs Neverland

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Everyone looks at growing up differently. Some wish to hold onto their childhood innocence, whilst others have lost it, struggling to find a more mature identity. The literary works of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie each tackle one side of the transition between childhood and adulthood. For Alice, the world of adults is confusing, but she wants to fit in, wants to be older, and is tired of being treated like a kid. She strives to be older by acting the part of a mature young woman, her world of Wonderland reflecting this fact, as its older, contains more adult themes and concepts, and ultimately helps little Alice through her child to adult transition, allowing her to find herself. Peter is quite the opposite. For him, growing up is a definite no, and he holds onto his innocence at any cost. His world, Neverland, portrays this, as things are strictly good or evil, black or white, with an obliviousness to see the fine line in between, and allows Peter to know exactly who he is. These young protagonists are surrounded by a cast of characters that help outline which side the separate authors take on growing up, and how such things as innocence, maturity, identity and escapism all play parts in these coming of age tales. Alice is seven-years-old. While most kids her age are playing "with a range of toys from wax dolls to toy soldiers and train sets" and enjoying their youth, Alice is reading, learning vocabulary from her sister, and thinking about the day's weather (Lambert). ...read more.

Middle

This occurs several more times throughout Wonderland, with Alice being constantly ordered to identify herself the creatures she meets and unable to properly answer. In addition to the Caterpillar's berating, Alice has a run in with the Cheshire Cat, where he tells her that quite simply "[they're] all mad here. [He's] mad, [she's] mad" and that he knows she is, "or [she] wouldn't have come here" (Carroll 48). This causes her to question herself and her own sanity, and wonder just what she is doing here in Wonderland, and who exactly she is. Everyone has told her she is foreign, called her something other than Alice and accused her of something or other at some point in the novel, and it's almost too much for the young girl to bear. However, she comes out on top of it all at the end, fighting back against the Queen of Hearts and becoming her own independent woman. The changes she undergoes in order to return home at the end of the novel are a parallel to puberty and the act of finding her own identity, showing that Carroll has demonstrated the transition between childhood and adulthood and that despite bumps along the road (finding herself), Alice has grown up properly. This is the opposite of Peter, however, who remains unchanging for the length of his story. "All children, except one, grow up" (Barrie 1). It is evident from the first line of the novel that Peter won't become an adult any time soon. He knows who he is: a kid. ...read more.

Conclusion

every time you breathe, a grown-up dies; and Peter was killing them off vindictively as fast as possible" (Barrie 74), showing us Peter's world really reflects the author's vision of children staying children forever. Barrie has created a world vastly different from that of Carroll's Wonderland, and this is because both authors have demonstrated their view of growing up by creating two children's stories with totally different perspectives. In the end, some people make the transition, changing and adapting in order to become a more mature individual, whilst others simply don't, remaining the same as they have always been. For Alice, her journey through Wonderland has aided her in developing a new identity, in blending her childhood innocence and adulthood maturity together, as well as overcoming her escapism in order to become a grown up girl. Even early on, when the Caterpillar asks if she thinks she's changed, she replies that she's "afraid [she] is. [She] can't remember things as [she] used-and [she doesn't] keep the same size for ten minutes together!" (Carroll 38). However, she has accepted that she is changing and growing up, which is more than can be said for young Peter. He refuses to change for Wendy all throughout the novel, and in the end, he is "exactly the same as ever" including having "all his first teeth", not having made the transition, keeping a firm grasp on his innocence, his identity and escaping to Neverland in order to avoid his problems (Barrie 112). Two sides to one coin, Alice and Peter's stories wonderfully reflect Carroll and Barrie's stances on the issues of whether to grow up or not. ...read more.

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