Here, Hold This Pig, It Will Make You Look Older

Throughout Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll seems to be attempting to force Alice into womanhood. The most obvious example of this is that Alice is in a constantly growing. She never has control over her growing; she just blindly drinks and eats and grows uncontrollably.

Another example of this involves the baby that turns into a pig. The Duchess just throws the baby at Alice to “nurse”. Not only is the baby literally thrown at Alice, leaving her little choice but to catch it, but also Carroll’s use of the word “nurse” brings up some red flags. As discussed in class, nurse can mean to hold or to feed. Breast feeding is associated with motherhood and therefor womanhood because they were basically synonymous in the Victorian era, so by placing Alice in a position where she is expected take care of a baby, Carroll is essentially forcing Alice in to a more mature role then she is probably not ready for.

This seems to be a type of trend for Carroll. He is also a noted photographer of little girls. Through our studies of images so far, it has become apparent that muses for his works are generally women. By having girls be his muse, Carroll has depicted them in a role for woman once again.

This is an interesting concept to investigate considering our classes’ contemplation of Carroll’s desire to photograph children. I have not done enough research to see how deep Carroll’s desire runs.

I think it is easy to say that Alice in Wonderland is simply a coming of age story and that Alice being placed in adult situations has less to do with Carroll’s desire to mature little girls and more to do with Alice’s natural progression in to womanhood. It’s hard for me to see the novel this way though considering Carroll’s other hobby. I know a new criticism critic would disagree with me, but that’s okay. I just can’t get over Carroll’s photography and the implications that would have on his writing.

2 thoughts on “Here, Hold This Pig, It Will Make You Look Older”

  1. Yes! Alice is definitely being thrust into motherhood. I wonder what a comparison between Alice in Wonderland and The Goblin Market would reveal to us, considering the two little girls get thrust equally as fast into the sexual world. Although the two texts could be read side by side, I think Lewis Carrol’s approach to a woman’s tale is interesting. In Alice, we see all of her concerns, identity crises, and moments and panic, giving the maturing woman this sort of voice. We see her grapple with her changing mentality and body and then see how she changes her interactions with the world. While in the Goblin Market we only see how the world is infringing on the girls, and not so much they’re feelings on the matter. What commentary are each of these texts discussing in the way they approach their stories and the voice of women? Who is at an advantage, Alice or Lizzie?

  2. It is certainly clear that Lewis Carroll had some very creepy feelings for Alice. If there is any doubt of this after reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass (which there shouldn’t be), the poem at the end of Through the Looking Glass is certainly a big enough red flag. If you read down the first letter of each line of the poem, it spells out Alice Pleasance Liddell, the name of the girl who the Alice in the book was based off of. In this poem, Carroll says that Alice “still haunts him, phantomwise”. Super creepy. I think to the part in Through the Looking Glass, where Alice meets the Knight, who happens to be an old man. Like we talked about in class, Alice’s interaction with the Knight could be considered a sexual awakening. Right after this sexual awakening, Alice becomes a Queen and gets her pearls. You are right that both stories have loads to do with little girls growing bigger and older, maturing, and getting womanly responsibilities, and that Carroll’s interest in young girls definitely isn’t something we can just ignore.

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