Entertainment Industry and other works

by Ellen Gillingham

Alice in Wonderland



In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, at first Alice is bored by her sister’s book, but ends up stuck in a surreal world.  Here, Alice cannot understand many paradoxical problems.  For example, the Mad Hatter’s tea party, the queen’s croquet game, and the stolen tarts.  The universal theme Lewis Carroll creates in Alice in Wonderland is events in life are not always logical.  Not everything is as straightforward as it seems and events are often filled with riddles and answerless challenges.


Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland 2010 film incorporates a theme of restoring political power to the prior queen, as the current queen has destroyed peace and equality.  The film reflects many of the cultural concerns of America in 2005 (the year the film was made), as well as those of 1866.  Characters such as the Mad Hatter are interested in taking down the Queen of Hearts.  He says, “Down with the bloody big head” (Burton).  Scenes include formal film techniques such as rapid editing and 3-D technology to express the main theme of the film.


In this adaption, the main consistency is the characters.  A main issue is that the story is different and seems to be more of a sequel to the book because Alice is older and there are references to a pervious Alice.  Burton’s version shows Alice’s growth and maturation. She claims that her dream is her own and that she should be able to make her own decisions.



This PDF from 2004 is a literary analysis of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that I found using the search terms “critical analysis of Alice in Wonderland.”


This blog from 2010 is an analysis of feminism symbols in Alice in Wonderland that I found using the search terms “feminism Alice in Wonderland.”


This website is an analysis of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland that looks closely at the heroine’s quest for self and focusing more on the Id, Ego, and Superego.

The 2010 blog “Alice in Wonderland: Full of Girl-Power Feminism” argues that the character of Alice is “modern, free-thinking, and populist” similar to how the girls in the audience view themselves.  It also ranks the film’s rebelliousness as appropriate, but problematic.  The blog is important for understanding the film because it explains a problem with Jonny Depp and Tim Burton.  Depp is criticized as not being a comedian and the plot is insignificant.  The blog would have viewed the film as more satisfying if it did not defend Victorian values and had a more confident main character.


What are these issues and do they add depth to the story, or do they serve as an unwanted distraction (as in Willy Wonka)?

Both Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland are films in which the main character’s “daddy issues” are unwanted distractions, but Alice in Wonderland’s “daddy issue” a more diverting.  Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton are film adaptations of children’s books, and both incorporate “daddy issues” in distracting ways.  However, Alice in Wonderland’s use of the issue contradicts Alice’s character.  Willy Wonka’s issue is distracting, but makes sense.  It does not go as far as being a contradiction.  In Willy Wonka, the character of Wilbur Wonka is used to explain why Willy Wonka is the way he is.  In Alice in Wonderland, Alice recalls one line that her father said, but this contradicts her character trait of being independent.  For example, in two scenes Alice says, “my dad used to think of six impossible things before breakfast” (Burton).  This shows the reader that she is following her father’s advice instead of being independent.  By using “daddy issues” Burton merely creates a distraction for viewers in Willy Wonka by adding an unnecessary detail to the plot, whereas in Alice in Wonderland he creates a confusing distraction that the plot would be better without.

John Tenniel


4 comments on “Alice in Wonderland

  1. victoriamisu
    May 31, 2012

    I actually inrepreted the daddy issue to be different! I thought it was very pertinent to her character development, and more importantly the reasons for her interaction with the mad hatter and their friendship. Her father, from my interpretation, was the influence that pushed Alice in Burton’s adaptation to pursue what she did in the end and to break the mold that soceity had put on gender roles. I think he offered her the kindness that she lacked with her mother, and was so constrained by her mother, with her don’t wear this, wear that, marry this guy cdemands

    • emrg10
      May 31, 2012

      That does make sense. I did not like her mother’s character. She depicted Victorian ideals and told Alice how to look, expecting her to just follow blindly. I can see that Alice may get some of her character from her father. The opening scenes with her and her father talking very creatively could shape how she acts later in the plot, but why did he have to die?

  2. lordbyrne
    June 5, 2012

    Ellen, this is a good first blog writing assignment. However, I thought your adaptation analysis paragraph was too slight. You could do more with it if, for instance, you addressed some of the problems with the adaptation noted in the critical readings and lecture. Interesting online research links. And your critical analysis argument paragraph was well-argued. 9/10. Joseph Byrne

    • emrg10
      June 5, 2012

      Thank you for your feedback, Professor Byrne!
      Also I am wondering how to post the question for Sherlock Holmes, I believe my group is today.

      Thank you,

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This entry was posted on May 30, 2012 by in Adaptation, Film and tagged , , , , , , , , , .


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