Abstract illustration of the silhouettte of Alice falling, a white rabbit, and a red mushroom

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

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Student Question

What is the significance of dream and reality in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland?

Quick answer:

The significance of dream and reality in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland relates to the revelation that Alice’s escapades were a dream, but the fact that they weren’t real doesn’t diminish their excitement or power.

Expert Answers

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The significance of dream and reality in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland might arrive at the end of the story when Carroll discloses that what Alice has been through was a dream. None of it happened in real life. The anxious Rabbit, the bellicose Queen, and the rest of the people and creatures that Alice encountered were products of her imagination. This is significant because it means that Alice was never in real danger. The Queen couldn’t actually behead her, because the Queen isn’t real.

In a way, the fact that Alice’s adventures were dreams is somewhat secondary. Even if they only happened in her mind, they still took place. The incidents and situations had an impact on her as if they were real. After Alice’s sister wakes her, Alice tells her about the “strange adventures.” It might be worth noting that Carroll uses the term adventures and not dream. Carroll seems to suggest that an adventure can materialize in the world of dreams as much as it can in the real world. For a child with a powerful imagination, what takes place in dreams can carry as much significance as what occurs in real life. In Alice’s case, her dreams appear more significant than her reality. Her dream was thrilling and exciting, while her reality is tranquil and rather dull.

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