“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll Essay Sample

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Introduction of TOPIC

The novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll is a work of the highest excellence that has something important to say about life and says it with great artistry. During 125 years that have passed from the day of publication of “Alice in Wonderland” it became clear that his book is not only an outstanding work but an innovating one, and that the modest tutor of Oxford was an unusual thinker, which pondered over many problems of life. The object of this works is the novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” written by Lewis Carroll. The subject is the use of figurative language, lexical, stylistic and graphical devices in this work of art. The aim of the paper consists in analyzing expressive means applied in the novel. The tasks of the work are as follows:

• To describe Lewis Carroll’s life, creativity and conception of the world • To acquaint the reader with the novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, its plot, history of creation and peculiarities • To provide the theoretical background for dealing with Lexical Devices, Syntactical Stylistic Devices, Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices and Graphical Expressive means. • To make a stylistic analysis of the novel, defining expressive means which were used by the author and providing the analysis with the examples from the text of the novel. The practical value of the paper consists in analyzing the novel from the point of view of lexicology and stylistics. It should be mentioned that our work was based upon the investigations made by a number of well – known lexicologists and stylists such as Kucharenko V.A., Galperin I.R., Lotocka K.J. and literary critics such as James Wood, Morton N Cohen, Carol Greene, Donald Thomas and others, whose input in the development of linguistics is hard to deny.

Structurally, the work includes three parts: the introduction, the main part and conclusion. The main part consists of three chapters: the first chapter deals with the Lewis Carroll’s biography and career, the second chapter has its subdivision into the specific thematical items – Lexical Devices ( LD ), Syntactical Stylistic Devices ( SD ), Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices ( LS ) and Graphical Expressive means, the third chapter provides the stylistic analysis of the novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. The results obtained found their reflection in the conclusions attached at the end of the work.

Chapter I. Lewis Carroll and his enduring novel «Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland»

The creativity of each artist and the masters of words in particular is mainly modified by their life experience, upbringing, the level of education and aesthetic tastes. In order to sound convincing, the first stage of our research we would like to devote to Lewis Carroll’s achievements as a gifted writer and his contribution to the world literature. It could be easily traced that his young years were happy. Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson on January 27, 1832. Dodgson was the eldest son and third child in a family of seven girls and four boys born to Frances Jane Lutwidge, the wife of the Reverend Charles Dodgson. His father was perpetual curate from 1827 until 1843, when he became rector of Croft in Yorkshire – a post he held until his death. As it has been already mentioned, Carroll had a happy childhood. His mother was patient and gentle, and his father tutored all of his children and raised them to be good people. The family lived in an isolated country village and had few friends outside the family but found little difficulty in entertaining themselves. Charles showed a great aptitude for inventing games to amuse them.

He wrote a series of family magazines throughout his childhood, containing poetry, drawing, and prose. In 1846 – 1849 Dodgson attended Rugby School, from which he graduated to Christ Church College, Oxford. In 1854 he was awarded a degree in mathematics, and the following year he began work as a Lecturer at Christ Church in that subject and after taking holy orders, including the commitment not to marry, Dodgson became deacon in Christ Church Cathedral. During that time he continued to write comic verse, some of which was published in the Comic Times. Among adults Carroll was reserved, but he did not avoid their company as some reports have stated. He was a shy man who was handicapped by a stammer, his self-consciousness was lessened only in the presence of children, especially girls. He attended the theater frequently and he often made the short trips to London with friends to visit art galleries and museums. What is more, he was absorbed by photography and writing. After taking up photography in 1856, he soon found that his favorite subjects were children and famous people.

In the mid-1850s Carroll began writing both humorous and mathematical works. In 1856 he created the pseudonym “Lewis Carroll” by translating his first and middle names into Latin, reversing their order, and then translating them back into English. His mathematical writings, however, appeared under his real name. Between 1854 and 1856, his works appeared in the national publications, The Comic Times and The Train, as well as smaller magazines like the Whitby Gazette and the Oxford Critic. Most of this output was humorous and sometimes satirical. In 1856 his most famous writing «Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland» was published. This early, flawed edition of the novel is now considered one of the rarest books in the world and commands huge prices among collectors. Inspired by the book’s success, Carroll began the work on a sequel, “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There”, which was published in 1872. The two books remain in print today, over a century after their publication. Carroll published several other works, including «The Hunting of the Snark», «Sylvie and Bruno», and «Sylvie and Bruno Concluded».

He also wrote a number of funny pamphlets at university affairs, which appeared under a fake name or without any name at all, and he composed several works on mathematics under his true name. After a short illness, he died on January 14, 1898. The Reverend C. L. Dodgson was a reserved, fussy bachelor who refused to get wrapped up in the political and religious storms that troubled England during his lifetime. Lewis Carroll, however, was a delightful, lovable companion to the children for whom he created his stories and poems. Biographers and historians have long been confused that one man could have two completely different sides. One solution is that he had two personalities: “Lewis Carroll” and “the Reverend Mr. Dodgson,” with the problems that go along with having a split personality. There were peculiar things about him—he stammered ever since he was a child, he was extremely fussy about his possessions, and he walked as much as twenty miles a day. But another solution seems more nearly correct: “Dodgson” and “Carroll” were parts of one personality.

This personality, because of happiness in childhood and unhappiness in the years thereafter, could blossom only in a world that resembled the happy one he knew while growing up. As our work is devoted to Caroll’s most famous writing “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, we should concentrate on it and analyze it in details. Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” was not originally written for the general public but for a single child: Alice Pleasance Liddell, second daughter of the Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford. The novel was greatly influenced by Carroll’s life experience and unique character. His biggest stimulus in his life was Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the novel and reason it was recorded, which is accompanied by many other smaller influences such as his family, personal qualities, and education. In this children’s classic, a girl named Alice falls down a rabbit-hole into a fantasy realm full of talking creatures. She attends a never-ending tea party and plays croquet at the court of the anthropomorphic playing cards. Throughout the course of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, Alice goes through a variety of physical changes.

The discomfort she feels at never being the right size acts as a symbol for the changes that occur during puberty. Alice finds these changes to be traumatic, and feels discomfort, frustration, and sadness when she goes through them. She struggles to maintain a comfortable physical size. Alice encounters a series of puzzles that seem to have no clear solutions, which imitates the ways that life frustrates expectations. Alice expects that the situations she encounters will make a certain kind of sense, but they frustrate her ability to figure out Wonderland. Alice tries to understand the Caucus race, solve the Mad Hatter’s riddle, and understand the Queen’s ridiculous croquet game, but to no avail. In every instance, the riddles and challenges presented to Alice have no purpose or answer. Even though Lewis Carroll was a logician, in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” he makes a farce out of jokes, riddles, and games of logic.

The White Rabbit challenges her perceptions of class when he mistakes her for a servant, while the Mad Hatter, March Hare, and Pigeon challenge Alice’s notions of urbane intelligence with an unfamiliar logic that only makes sense within the context of Wonderland. Most significantly, Wonderland challenges her perceptions of good manners by assaulting her with rudeness. Alice’s fundamental beliefs face challenges at every turn, and as a result Alice suffers an identity crisis. She persists in her way of life as she perceives her sense of order collapsing all around her. Alice must choose between retaining her notions of order and assimilating into Wonderland’s nonsensical rules.

This book is not just a simple funny fairy tale for children but adult people are interested in it, because they have grown up and managed to see things that a child is not able to notice. “Alice in Wonderland” surprises an attentive reader with its logic puzzles, new look on the time and existence, quaint play on words, new linguistic discoveries, “new life” of folk-lore in the form of nonsense. It remains, next to the Bible and the works of Shakespeare, among the world’s most widely translated and cited work of literature. As the critic Derek Hudson said: «The most remarkable thing about Alice is that, though it springs from the very heart of the Victorian period, it is timeless in its appeal»[14]. The next stage of our research deals with the lexical and stylistic devices and expressive means, which helped the author to express his thoughts and emotions with magnificent expressiveness.

Chapter II. Lexical Devices, Syntactical Stylistic Devices, Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices and Graphical Expressive means.

Lexical stylistic devices

Lexical stylistic device is such a type of denoting phenomena that serves to create additional expressive, evaluative, subjective connotations. In fact we deal with the intended substitution of the existing names approved by long usage and fixed in dictionaries, prompted by the speaker’s subjective original view and evaluation of things. Each type of intended substitution results in a stylistic device (SD) called also a trope. «This act of substitution is referred to transference – the name of one object is transferred onto another, proceeding from their similarity (of shape, color, function, etc.) or closeness (of material existence, cause/effect, instrument/result, part/whole relations, etc.) » [5;12] The most frequently used, well known and elaborated among lexical stylistic devices is a metaphor – transference of names based on the associated likeness between two objects, e.g. New kid in our class is really a squirrel. So, there exists a similarity based on one or more common semantic component. The wider is the gap between the associated objects the more striking and unexpected – the more expressive – is the metaphor.

If a metaphor involves likeness between inanimate and animate objects, we deal with personification as in the “face of London”. Metaphor can be expressed by all notional parts of speech and functions in the sentence as any of its members. Kukharenko states that when the speaker (writer) in his desire to present an elaborated image does not limit its creation to a single metaphor but offers a group of them, each supplying another feature of the described phenomenon, this cluster creates a sustained (prolonged) metaphor. Another lexical stylistic device is metonymy, which «is based on a different type of relation between the dictionary and contextual meanings, a relation based not on identification, but on some kind of association connecting the two concepts which these meanings represent» [3; 133], e.g. To earn one’s bread, to live by the pen As a rule, metonymy is expressed by nouns (less frequently – by substantivized numerals) and is used in syntactical functions characteristic of nouns (subject, object, predicative). Pun, zeugma, semantically false chains and nonsense of non-sequence are united into a small group as they have much in common both in the mechanism of their formation and in their function.

The effect of these SDs is humorous. Contextual conditions leading to the simultaneous realization of two meanings and to the formation of pun may vary: it can be misinterpretation of one speaker’s utterance by the other, which results in his remark dealing with a different meaning of the misinterpreted word or its homonym, e.g. Did you hit a woman with a child? – No, I hit her with a brick. In very many cases polysemantic verbs that have a practically unlimited lexical valency and can be combined with nouns of most varying semantic groups, are deliberately used with two or more homogeneous members, which are not connected semantically, these are cases of classical zeugma, e. g. “He took his hat and his leave”. When the number of homogeneous members, semantically disconnected but attached to the same verb increases we deal with semantically false chains, which are thus a variation of zeugma. As a rule, it is the last member of the chain that falls out of the semantic group, producing humorous effect.

Nonsense of non-sequence rests on the extension of syntactical valency and results in joining two semantically disconnected clauses into one sentence. Two disconnected statements are linked together by cause or effect relations. All above mentioned LSDs and LDs are employed to achieve some ironic effect. «Irony is a stylistic device also based on the simultaneous realization of two logical meanings—dictionary and contextual, but the two meanings stand in opposition to each other» [3; 134]. The literal meaning is the opposite of the intended meaning. One thing is said and the other opposite is implied, e.g. Nice weather, isn’t it? (on a rainy day). There are two types of irony: verbal irony and sustained irony. In the stylistic devise of verbal irony it is always possible to indicate the exact word whose contextual meaning diametrically opposes its dictionary meaning. And we deal with sustained irony when it is not possible to indicate such an exact word and the effect of irony is created by a number of statements or by the whole text.

Antonomasia is a lexical stylistic device in which a proper name is used instead of a common noun or vice versa. We can define two types of antonomasia: 1) The proper name of a person, who is famous for some reasons, is put for a person having the same feature. e.g. Her husband is an Othello. 2) A common noun is used instead of a proper name, e. g. I agree with you Mr. Logic The epithet is based on the interplay of emotive and logical meaning in an attributive word, phrase or even sentence, used to characterize an object and pointing out to the reader some of the properties or features of the object with the aim of giving an individual perception and evaluation of these features or properties. From the point of view of their compositional structure epithets may be divided into: • simple (adjectives, nouns, participles): e.g. He looked at them in animal panic. • compound: e.g. apple – faced man;

• sentence and phrase epithets: e.g. It is his do – it – yourself attitude. • reversed epithets – composed of 2 nouns linked by an of phrase: e.g. “a shadow of a smile”; According to I. Galperin, we can classify the epithets into two groups: 1) associated with the noun following it, pointing to a feature which is essential to the objects they describe: «dark forest», «careful attention.» 2) unassociated with the noun, epithets that add a feature which is unexpected and which strikes the reader: «smiling sun», «voiceless sounds». Hyperbole is a lexical stylistic device in which emphasis is achieved through deliberate exaggeration. Hyperbole is a device which sharpens the reader’s ability to make a logical assessment of the utterance. This is achieved, as in case with other devices, by awakening the dichotomy of thought and feeling where thought takes the upper hand though not to the detriment of feeling, e. g. A thousand pardons, scared to death, immensely obliged. Hyperbole is aimed at exaggerating quantity or quality.

When it is directed the opposite way, when the size, shape, dimensions, characteristic features of the object are not overrated, but intentionally underrated, we deal with understatement. Kukharenko stresses that English is well known for its preference for understatement in everyday speech, e.g. “I am rather annoyed” instead of “I’m infuriated”. Oxymoron is a combination of two words in which the meaning is opposite in sense, e. g. speaking silence, cold fire, living death. The most widely known structure of oxymoron is attributive. But there are also others, in which verbs are emplo

yed. Such verbal structures as “to shout mutely” or “to cry silently” are used to strengthen

the idea. Oxymoron may be considered as a specific type of epithet. All devices mentioned above are used to add expressive connotations and to show the evaluating, subjective attitude of the writer towards the things described. In the next part we would like to deal with Syntactical Stylistic Devices, which are also very important in figurative expressing thoughts of the author.

Syntactical Stylistic Devices

Syntactical stylistic devices add logical, emotive, expressive information to the utterance regardless of lexical meanings of sentence components. Rhetorical question is one that expects no answer. It is asked in order to make a statement rather than to get a reply. They are frequently used in a dramatic situation and in publisistic style, e. g. What was the good of discontented people who fitted in nowhere? One of the most prominent places among the SDs dealing with the arrangement of members of the sentence decidedly belongs to repetition. As a syntactical SD repetition is recurrence of the same word, word combination, phrase for two and more times. « According to the place which the repeated unit occupies in a sentence (utterance), repetition is classified into several types:

1. anaphora: the beginning of two or more successive sentences (clauses) is repeated – a…, a…, a… . 2. epiphora: the end of successive sentences (clauses) is repeated -…a, …a, …a. 3. framing: the beginning of the sentence is repeated in the end, thus forming the “frame” for the non-repeated part of the sentence (utterance) – a… a. 4. catch repetition (anadiplosis) – the end of one clause (sentence) is repeated at the beginning of the following one -…a, a…. 5. chain repetition presents several successive anadiploses -…a, a…b, b…c, c. 6. ordinary repetition has no definite place in the sentence and the repeated unit occurs in various positions – …a, …a…, a.. . 7. successive repetition is a string of closely following each other reiterated units – …a, a, a… » [5; 41]

Parallel construction is a device which may be encountered not so much in the sentence as in the macro – structures dealt with the syntactical whole and the paragraph. The necessary condition in parallel construction is identical or similar, syntactical structure in two or more sentences or parts of sentence. Chiasmus is based on repetition of syntactical patterns, but it has a reversed order in one of the utterances, e.g. She was a good sport about all this, but so was he. Inversion is an independent SD in which the direct word order is changed either completely so that the predicate (predicative) precedes the subject; or partially so that the object precedes the subject-predicate pair, e.g. Your mother is at home? Correspondingly, we differentiate between partial and a complete inversion. Suspense is a compositional device which is realized through the separation of the Predicate from the Subject by deliberate introduction between them of a clause or a sentence. Thus the reader’s interest is held up.

This device is typical of oratoric style, e.g. If… if…if… if… you would be my husband « A specific arrangement of sentence members is observed in detachment, a stylistic device based on singling out a secondary member of the sentence with the help of punctuation (intonation). The word-order here is not violated, but secondary members obtain their own stress and intonation because they are detached from the rest of the sentence by commas, dashes or even a full stop, for example “I have to beg you for money. Daily.” » [5; 43] In apokoinu constructions the omission of the pronominal (adverbial) connective creates a blend of the main and the subordinate clauses so that the predicative or the object of the first one is simultaneously used as the subject of the second one, as in the following example “There was a door led into the kitchen.” The arrangement of sentence members, the completeness of sentence structure necessarily involve various types of connection used within the sentence or between sentences. Repeated use of conjunctions is called polysyndeton ( e.g. Should you ask me, whence these stories? Whence these legends and traditions,

With the odours of the forest,
With the dew, and damp of meadows, With the curling smoke of wigwams…); deliberate omission of them is, correspondingly, named asyndeton (e.g. Soams turned away; he had an utter disinclination to talk). Both polysyndeton and asyndeton, have a strong rhythmic impact. Besides, the function of polysyndeton is to strengthen the idea of equal logical (emotive) importance of connected sentences, while asyndeton, cutting off connecting words, helps to create the effect of terse, energetic, active prose. The most characteristic feature of the described above devices is that they add emotiveness and impressiveness to the utterance. It is logical to continue with the Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices and during the next stage we would attempt to have a good look at them.

Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices

Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices are certain structures, whose emphasis depends not only on the arrangement of sentence members but also on the lexico-semantic aspect of the utterance. Antithesis is a stylistic opposition, setting thing one against the other. In order to characterize a thing or phenomenon from a specific point of view, it may be necessary to find points of sharp contrast, e.g. Youth is lovely, age is lonely, Youth is fiery, age is frosty. Antithesis has the basic function of rhyme-forming because of the parallel arrangement on which it is founded. «Climax is an arrangement of sentences (or of the homogeneous parts of one sentence) which secures a gradual increase in significance, importance, or emotional tension in the utterance, as in: “It was a lovely city, a beautiful city, a fair city, a veritable gem of a city” » [3; 202]. Climax suddenly interrupted by an unexpected turn of the thought which defeats expectations of the reader (listener) and ends in complete semantic reversal of the emphasized idea, is called anticlimax. Simile is an imaginative comparison of two unlike objects belonging to two different classes, e.g. Sly as a fox; busy as a bee.

The one which is compared is called the tenor, the one with which it is compared, is called the vehicle. The tenor and the vehicle form the two semantic poles of the simile, which are connected by one of the following link words “like”, “as”, “as though”, “as like”, “such as”, “as…as”, etc. Litotes is a two-component structure in which two negations are joined to give a positive evaluation. The first component of a litotes is always the negative particle “not”, while the second, always negative in semantics, varies in form from a negatively affixed word to a negative phrase, for example Not so impossible. Not too bad. Periphrasis is a device which, according to Webster’s dictionary, denotes the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter and plainer form of expression.

Depending on the mechanism of this substitution, periphrases are classified into figurative (metonymic and metaphoric), e.g. “The hospital was crowded with the surgically interesting products of the fighting in Africa”, and logical (phrases synonymic with the words which were substituted by periphrases), e.g. “Mr. Du Pont was dressed in the conventional disguise with which Brooks Brothers cover the shame of American millionaires.” Summing up what has been said, we may emphasize that Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices make the language more picturesque and vivid. The next part of our work we would like to devote to graphical expressive means, which add expressiveness to the author’s words in an unusual way.

Graphical Expressive Means

To graphical means we should refer violations, all changes of the type (italics, capitalization), spacing of graphemes (hyphenation, multiplication) and of lines. According to the frequency of usage, variability of functions, the first place among graphical means of foregrounding is occupied by italics. Intensity of speech (often in commands) is transmitted through the multiplication of a grapheme or capitalization of the word. The intentional violation of the graphical shape of a word (or word combination) used to reflect its authentic pronunciation is called graphon.

«Graphon, thus individualizing the character’s speech, adds to his plausibility, vividness, memorability. At the same time, graphon is very good at conveying the atmosphere of authentic live communication, of the informality of the speech act. » [5; 14] Graphical means of expression were frequently used in literary works. Nevertheless, the vocabulary of the literary works of the 21st century is marked by the extensive use of visual means of expressiveness. Summing up what has been said, we may emphasize that Lexical Devices, Syntactical Stylistic Devices, Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices and Graphical Expressive means are a very important part of the language as they help to express author’s thoughts and feelings more precisely and in the next chapter we would attempt to deal with them closely in order to analyze the novel «Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland» written by Lewis Carroll.

Chapter III. Figurative language and imagery in «Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland»

Imagery in Lewis Carroll’s classic book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – like the imagery in all great literature makes the story come to life in the way that sparks the imagination of the reader. Imagery in this book brings the plot into focus and greatly enhances Alice’s narrative. The poem at the beginning of the book describes the circumstances of the day the story was created. Carroll and Duckworth were rowing the boat down the river. The three sisters asked Carroll to tell them a story. The oldest daughter, Lorina, told him “to begin it”. The middle child, Alice, demanded “there be nonsense in it”. Edith, the youngest kept interrupting while the story was being told “not more than once a minute.” It should be mentioned that the imagery and the figurativeness starts with this poem. The author uses many figures of speech to show the circumstances that lead to the creation of the book. For example the use of numerals instead of the names of the girls: Lorina- “prima”, Alice- “secunda”, Edith, the youngest –“tertia”.

The author uses also two nice epithets that describe the beauty of the nature: “All in the golden afternoon”, and “Beneath such dreamy weather”. The adjectives golden and dreamy are used figuratively, meaning “warm with much sun” and respectively “beautiful, wonderful”. A literal usage of the language here will not touch so the soul of the reader, as does it the two epithets. After a short verse prologue, in which he commemorates the day on which he first told his tale, Lewis Carroll begins “ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” with a familiar episode: Alice is sitting by the bank of a stream, bored, when she notices the White Rabbit dressed in a waistcoat scurrying along. The rabbit stops to pull a pocket watch out of its waistcoat pocket, mutters to itself that it will be late for something, then disappears down a hole. Alice follows the rabbit down the hole, and suddenly finds herself falling. Alice is falling, but very slowly; she has the time to pick up a jar of “Orange Marmalade” from a shelf, and the image of her slowly, painfully slow-motion-like, observing and then plucking a jar of jelly from a cupboard which also had maps paints a strong picture in the mind of the reader.

The slowness of the fall of Alice is accentuated several times and in this sentence the author used repetition: “Down, down, down.”, comes in opposition with the hurry of the White Rabbit, which makes the tale look as a big antithesis expressed through the actions of the main characters. The author creates words and expressions and even invents new meanings for words. Alice’s exclamation “Curiouser and curiouser!” encompasses the idea that both her surroundings and the words she uses to describe them are far from ordinary. It is so effective because it is both unexpected and unusual. The pun on “curious” defines Alice’s fluctuating personality. Her eagerness to know and to be right, her compulsive reciting of her lessons (“I’m sure I can’t be Mabel, for I know all sorts of things”) turns inside out into the bizarre anarchy of her dream country, as the lessons themselves turn inside out into strange tales of animals eating each other. In both senses of the word, Alice becomes “Curiouser and curiouser!” as she moves more deeply into Wonderland.

In the “Mock Turtle’s Story” episode we also encounter two examples of pun: “ ‘When we were little,’ the Mock Turtle went on at last, more calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, ‘we went to school in the sea. The master was an old Turtle – we used to call him Tortoise –’ ‘Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?’ Alice asked. ‘We called him Tortoise because he taught us,’ said the Mock Turtle angrily: ‘really you are very dull!’ ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a simple question,’ added the Gryphon; and then they both sat silent and looked at poor Alice, who felt ready to sink into the earth.”[9; 112] This conversation reveals two types of pun. The first one revolves around the exploitation of different meanings of the word ‘school’.

Alice’s world of references immediately leads her to think of ‘school’ as a place where children go everyday to learn lots of interesting subjects. Still, a turtle’s home is the sea and ‘school’ also stands for a group of fishes or whales swimming together. The second example explores the sound similarities between the word ‘Tortoise’ and the phrase ‘taught us’. The important thing is the sound resemblance between the words and not their actual meanings or their accurate application to the context. Other examples include the pairs ‘lessons’ / ‘lessen’, which can be found in the same chapter: “ And how many hours a day did you do lessons?’ said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject. ‘Ten hours the first day,’ said the Mock Turtle; ‘nine the next, and so on.’ ‘What a curious plan!’ exclaimed Alice.

‘That’s the reason they’re called lessons,’ the Gryphon remarked: ‘because they lessen from day to day.’ This was quite a new idea to Alice, and she thought it over a little before she made her next remark. ‘Then the eleventh day must be a holiday?’ ‘Of course it was,’ said the Mock Turtle.

‘And how did you manage on the twelfth?’ Alice went on eagerly. ‘That’s enough about lessons,’ the Gryphon interrupted in a very decided tone: ‘tell her something about the games now.’”[9; 116] The idea that lessons are named so because they lessen, that is because they become shorter, from day to day, puzzles Alice. The sound resemblance between the words is taken for granted by the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle who keep following an illogical logic. Still, this time Alice is able to interrogate their logic by posing some difficult questions and when she seems intrigued about the 12th day, they aren’t able to come up with a proper explanation and therefore they simply change the subject to games and songs.

In addition to puns, the order of words- inversion used by Carroll in a sentence also pretexts to play with language in Wonderland. An example of this technique can be found in the Mock Turtle schooling description: “‘We had the best of educations – in fact, we went to school every day –’ ‘I’ve been to a day-school, too,’ said Alice; ‘you needn’t be so proud as all that.’” [9; 114] The same chapter provides with the next very interesting conversation about school subjects: “ ‘Ah! Then yours wasn’t a really good school,’ said the Mock Turtle in a tone of great relief. ‘Now at ours they had at the end of the bill, “French, music, and washing – extra”.’ ‘You couldn’t have wanted it much,’ said Alice; ‘living at the bottom of the sea.’ ‘I couldn’t afford to learn it,’ said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. ‘I only took the regular course.’ ‘What was that? enquired Alice.

‘Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,’ the Mock Turtle replied; ‘and then the different branches of Arithmetic – Ambition, Distraction, Uglification and Derision.’ ‘I never heard of “Uglification”,’ Alice ventured to say. ‘What is it?’ The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. ‘What! Never heard of uglifying!’ it exclaimed. ‘You know what to beautify is, I suppose?’ ‘Yes,’ said Alice doubtfully: ‘it means – to – make – anything – prettier.’ ‘Well, then,’ the Gryphon went on, ‘if you don’t know what to uglify is, you must be a simpleton.’” [9; 115] Amidst the wide range of thematic subjects presented by the Mock Turtle, some are quite conventional – ‘Arithmetic’, ‘Music’, ‘French’ –, but others are rather unexpected – ‘Ambition’, ‘Distraction’, ‘Derision’. The one that puzzles Alice the most is ‘Uglification’. We don’t need a dictionary to understand the meaning of the word.

Coming back to the beginning of the novel, we see that the sea that almost drowns her is composed of her own tears – “I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears!”- is an irony, turning into paradox expressed in a hyperbolic way – these are the main features of the Wonderland, things are exaggerated and uncommon. In “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” things are also exaggerated in the expression “When pigs will fly”. “ ‘Thinking again?’ the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin. ‘I’ve a right to think,’ said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried. ‘Just about as much right,’ said the Duchess, ‘as pigs have to fly….’” [9; 108] This is a figure of speech in the form of hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to suggest a complete impossibility. In the third chapter we can read “The Mouse’s Tale”, which is a poem by Lewis Carroll which appears in his novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Though no formal title for the poem is given in the novel, the chapter title refers to “A Long Tale” and the Mouse introduces it by saying, “Mine is a long and sad tale!”

A simile is used when Alice hopes she could shrink herself like a telescope: “Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope!” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the source of one of the most famous similes ever written, namely: “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”, “There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind…” and “The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way…” The similes are also used to show the transformation (becoming big than small) through which Alice passes and the horror it creates to the other characters. The novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” could be considered as an extended Metaphor. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland reflects Victorian era in many aspects by describing and criticizing it. The Queen of Hearts represents the Queen Victoria in England at that time. The country was governed by a female, not a male. Female dominance is displayed in this work. The Queen of Hearts overcomes the King both physically and mentally and the Duchess controls the household. The Victorian insistence on punctuality is reflected in the White Rabbit’s response to his lateness: “I’m late; I’m late, for a very important date.”

Metaphors often occur in the text. For example in order to express the fear for cats of the Mouse, Carroll uses a metaphor: “Our family always hated cats: nasty, low, vulgar things!” In fact the sentence comprises other figures of speech, besides the metaphor. These are epithets that make up the metaphor- “nasty, low, vulgar”-, and are used to describe the cats. The author also uses here a synecdoche “our family” which stands for mice, as all mice are afraid of cats. This figure of speech is often met in the tale. Another example of the usage of this figure of speech is in the following passage: “It was high time to go, for the pool was getting quite crowded with the birds and animals that had fallen into it: there were a Duck and a Dodo, a Lory and an Eaglet, and several other curious creatures. Alice led the way, and the whole party swam to the shore.” The word party here stands for the animals and birds that entered the hole. But it may be interpreted as well as a metaphor, if we compare the curios animals to a somehow noisy party.

The author appeals to metaphor when he compares Alice to a “tinny, little thing”. Carroll’s work “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has given birth to a metaphor that is used till our days: Going “down the rabbit hole”. It has become a common metaphor in popular culture, symbolizing everything from exploring a new world. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the rabbit hole is the place where it all begins. It’s Alice’s unthinking decision to follow the White Rabbit that leads to all of her adventures. Personifications are absolutely crucial to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and are just as important to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as the idea of the wonderland itself. In fact, without personification it can be said that wonderland wouldn’t be all that interesting. The personification of Alice’s feet is another of her fantasies: “‘Oh, my poor little feet, I wonder who will put on your shoes and stockings for you now, dears? I’m sure I shan’t be able! I shall be a great deal too far off to trouble myself about you: you must manage the best way you can; —but I must be kind to them,’ thought Alice, ‘or perhaps they won’t walk the way I want to go! Let me see: I’ll give them a new pair of boots every Christmas.’”

As we have mentioned above, the things and actions in wonderland are exaggerated: common things become smaller or bigger as they are in reality. This is about Alice’s tears, which turn into a big sea. The “gallons of tears” (hyperbole) are used to show Alice’s helplessness. A fantastic world full of imagery is expected to have scenes of humour, which are sometimes ironical: « She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, ‘Which way? Which way? , holding her hand on the top of her head to feel which way it was growing, and she was quite surprised to find that she remained the same size: « to be sure, this generally happens when one eats cake, but Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way. » [9; 20] (irony)

After the analysis of some of the main figures of speech used in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” we may conclude that this is a masterpiece of children’s literature and a major contribution to “nonsense” writing, which uses language according to the rules of play rather than the rules of poetry or prose. Such writing disconnects words from their usual meanings and calls attention to language as an artificial system of communication. In “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” the reader is entertained by the ridiculous creatures Alice meets and challenged by them to understand words in new and unusual ways.


In this work we have attempted to research the life, career and the world outlook of Lewis Carroll, his novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and to analyze it. We accomplished all the given tasks – presented theoretical material on Lexical, Syntactical Stylistic Devices, Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices and Graphical Expressive means, described Lewis Carroll’s life, creativity and conception of the world and made a stylistic analysis of the novel, providing it with the examples from the text. The practical value of the work lies in presenting theoretical material on stylistics as well as its practical significance is realized in analyzing Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. In the theoretical part of our work we provided the material for dealing with figurative language. We stated that the metaphor, personification, metonymy, pun, zeugma, semantically false chains, nonsense of non – sequence, irony, antonomasia, epithet, oxymoron, understatement and hyperbole are the main lexical devices and provided the detailed information on each device. What is more, we dealt with rhetorical question, repetition, parallel construction, chiasmus, inversion, suspense, apokoinu constructions, polysyndeton and asyndeton which are syntactical stylistic devices and add logical, emotive, expressive information to the utterance regardless of lexical meanings of sentence components.

Lexico-Syntactical Stylistic Devices are certain structures, whose emphasis depends on the lexico – semantic aspect of the utterance. These devices are antithesis, climax, anticlimax, simile, litotes and periphrasis. Additionally, we presented theoretical information on graphical means, to which we should refer violations, all changes of the type (italics, capitalization), spacing of graphemes (hyphenation, multiplication) and of lines. In the practical part we proved that Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is an excellent example of literary work based on figurative use of language, being full of various figures of speech, used very successfully by Carroll: personifications, epithets, puns, metaphors, similes, synechdoches, metonymies, irony, and others. In conclusion we would like to say that the book of Lewis Carroll is a universal book, and it can be used not only as the text for reading but it generously provides philologists with the examples of many language phenomena as the author of “Alice in Wonderland” experiments with the language, plays with it. Carroll lavishly used resources of his native language in his books about Alice’s adventures.


Cohen, Morton N. Lewis Carroll: A Biography. – New York Publishing House, 1995.-557 p. 8. Greene, Carol. Lewis Carroll, Author of Alice in Wonderland. – Children’s Press, 1992. – 447 p. 9. Lewis Carroll. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. – Penguin Books, 2009. – 151 p. 10. Stoffel, Stephanie Lovett. Lewis Carroll in Wonderland: The Life and Times of Alice and Her Creator. – Abrams, 1997. – 176 p. 11. Thomas, Donald S. Lewis Carroll: A Biography. – New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1999. – 404 p. 12. Wood, James P. The Snark Was a Boojum: A Life of Lewis Carroll. – New York: Pantheon Books, 1966. – 184 p. 13. http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/lcarroll.htm

14. http://lewiscarrollsociety.org.uk/

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