Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 8, 2022
December 1, 2022
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas
explored in a literary work.
Throughout the course of Alice’s Adventures in
Wonderland, Alice goes through a variety of absurd 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. In Chapter 1, she becomes upset when
she keeps finding herself too big or too small to enter the garden.
In Chapter 5, she loses control over specific body parts when her
neck grows to an absurd length. These constant fluctuations represent
the way a child may feel as her body grows and changes during puberty.
In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,
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 repeatedly 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. Alice learns
that she cannot expect to find logic or meaning in the situations
that she encounters, even when they appear to be problems, riddles,
or games that would normally have solutions that Alice would be
able to figure out. Carroll makes a broader point about the ways
that life frustrates expectations and resists interpretation, even
when problems seem familiar or solvable.
Alice continually finds herself in situations in which
she risks death, and while these threats never materialize, they
suggest that death lurks just behind the ridiculous events of Alice’s
Adventures in Wonderland as a present and possible outcome.
Death appears in Chapter 1, when the narrator mentions that Alice
would say nothing of falling off of her own house, since it would
likely kill her. Alice takes risks that could possibly kill her,
but she never considers death as a possible outcome. Over time,
she starts to realize that her experiences in Wonderland are far
more threatening than they appear to be. As the Queen screams “Off
with its head!” she understands that Wonderland may not merely be
a ridiculous realm where expectations are repeatedly frustrated.
Death may be a real threat, and Alice starts to understand that
the risks she faces may not be ridiculous and absurd after all.