Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has been one of the most analyzed books of all time. Critics have viewed it as a work of philosophy, as a criticism of the Church of England, as full of psychological symbolism, and as an expression of the drug culture of the 1960s. Readers all differ in their interpretations of the book, but there are a few themes that have won general acceptance. One of the clearly identifiable subjects of the story is the identity question. One of the first things that the narrator says about Alice after her arrival in the antechamber to Wonderland is that "this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people." The physical sign of her loss of identity is the changes in size that take place when she eats or drinks. After she drinks the cordial and eats the cake in Chapter 1, for instance, she loses even more of her sense of self, until at the beginning of Chapter 2 she is reduced to saying, "I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I?" She begins to cry and to fan herself with the White Rabbit's fan, which causes her to shrink down to almost nothing. After she shrinks, she falls into a pool of her own tears, in which she almost drowns. For Alice, the question of identity is a vital one.
(The entire section is 1088 words.)
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