‘Down the Rabbit-Hole’: Part Two

Part Two: Arriving

Both Alice’s and Lucy’s dream/story cannot be contained within one single texts, but spreads, for Alice, across two texts, and, for Lucy, to the other stories in The Chronicles of Narnia. Similarly, the text within these stories cannot contain the dream wholly and both Lucy’s and Alice’s adventures are represented, quite prolifically, and significantly in illustration. It would appear that the dream is too large to be restrained; just as the openness of the two heroine’s perceptive and imaginative minds spills into a fantastical world that develops clear material qualities.

In Wonderland Alice observes the Cheshire Cat disappearing and finds that ‘she was not much surprised at this, she was getting used to queer things happening’ (78). These ‘queer things’ refer to the fantastical nature of the world Alice has fallen into, a world that, for Lucy too, is both literally and distinctly separate from ‘earth’. What is most important is the heroines’ acceptance and openness of the new conditions and laws of the world they have entered; Alice, for example, by this point has no issue with a disappearing Cat. Similarly, despite entering Narnia through ‘a magic wardrobe’ (25), Lucy completely accepts this new world and, despite her sister’s and brothers’ teasing, ‘she knew that she was really in the right’ (26). Lucy’s conviction and Alice’s acceptance of these fantastical worlds’ places both girls at the centre of these stories and, perhaps, even results in the construction of the dream/story.

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The dream/story is constructed and wholly accepted by the child at its centre who participates within in it, until it grows not only so big that it bursts at its textual seams but also grows too large for the child. Carroll’s opening poem to Wonderland calls it ‘a childish story’ (10), but if the story is too large to be maintained within a single text, envisioning a single, young girl, then the dream/story must transgress these boundaries: it must grow up.

About Rachel Fox

I am currently a PhD candidate at Lancaster University, having completed a BA in English Literature and an MA in Contemporary Literary Studies. My provisional thesis title is: Voicing and Visualising Identity: The Discursive Figure of ‘Woman’ in Contemporary Poetical and Polemical works of Literature arising from Western Asia
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