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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

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What is the conflict in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland?

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a rather complex story, especially for children, but the conflict is very simple and easy for any child to understand. The whole story is narrated through Alice's point of view. She is a very young girl. She gets lost in a strange world. Her sole motivation is to get back home. The conflict arises because of the fact that she is very young, because she is lost, and because she doesn't know how to get home. This explains why she is always moving around inside Wonderland and thereby encountering strange new characters and strange new situations. It is completely natural and understandable for a little girl who is lost to want to get home. She will do so eventually, but in the meantime it is her adventures in Wonderland that make the book interesting.

The same situation can be seen in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, whose author, L. Frank Baum, was so obviously influenced by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Dorothy is also a little girl about the same age as Alice. Dorothy gets lost in the Land of Oz because she gets carried away by a tornado. Oz is a fascinating place, but from the moment she lands there she only wants to get back home to Kansas. This is because she is only a little girl and she is lost. Any lost child wants to get home. Dorothy's efforts to get back to Kansas involve her with all sorts of strange characters and situations. The conflict from beginning to end is based on her motivation to get back home and the difficulties she has in achieving her goal.

Both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are really "survival" stories. What would happen if these girls didn't find their ways back home? They could perish from exposure and starvation. They are both much too young to fend for themselves. This fact adds to the conflict. They not only have to get back home, but they have to do it fairly quickly. We enjoy sharing their adventures, but we are relieved when they both finally make it back to the security of their own loving homes and their conflicts are finally resolved.

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