NONSENSE | ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Anna Bond (Illustrator),
Kindle Edition, 178 pages, Published October 27th 2015 by Puffin Books (first published November 26th 1865)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a work of children's literature by the English mathematician and author, the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, written under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit-hole into a fantasy realm populated by grotesque figures like talking playing cards and anthropomorphic creatures. The Wonderland described in the tale plays with logic in ways that have made the story of lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the most characteristic examples of the genre of literary nonsense.
S1: E2, S1: E14, S1: E19, S2: E4, S3: E17, S4: E1, S4: E16, S6: E7, S8: E4
S1: E2 Rory and Lorelai sit in their Jeep collecting themselves before walking into Chilton, Rory's new intimidating preparatory school, to meet with Headmaster Charleston. It's Rory's first day of classes since her acceptance and transfer from Stars Hollow High.
RORY: I remember it being smaller.
LORELAI: Yeah. And less. . .
RORY: Off with their heads.
S1: E14 It's Friday Night Dinner and Emily is complaining about canceling their annual trip to Martha's Vineyard. When it is suggested that they go overseas instead, Richard claims it is impossible.
EMILY: We only go to Europe in the fall. LORELAI: You know, Mom, I heard a rumor Europe's still there in the spring. RORY: I heard that too. EMILY: We know that it's there in the spring but we never go in the spring because we always go in the fall. LORELAI: It's getting a little too Lewis Carroll for me.
S1: E19 This is solely a title reference for Episode 19 named 'Emily in Wonderland', wherein Emily gains an inside glimpse of what life in Stars Hollow is like for her daughter and granddaughter. Emily, transported through the looking glass, sees Lorelai and Rory’s first home and experiences the full sphere of Stars Hollow, a kind of wonderland in its own.
S2: E4 Lorelai takes Rory on an impromptu road trip the weekend she is supposed to [SPOILER ALERT] marry Max Medina. The scene opens with the two girls lost on the road, with no destination in mind or in sight. Rory discusses her worry over their night's stay and opens a map attempting to lay out their whereabouts. With an unexpected turn of events, they find sanctuary at the Cheshire Cat Bed and Breakfast, a corny nightmare to the pair.
LORELAI: Okay, she's named the place after an Alice in Wonderland character. This is my worst nightmare. RORY: And dying of exposure in a Jeep is mine.
S3: E17 An Edgar Allen Poe convention has taken place in Stars Hollow, but the event's reservation is interrupted by an unexpected fire at the Independence Inn. Lorelai scrambles to find rooms for all of her guests to sleep in, resulting in guests staying at various homes throughout Stars Hollow.
MICHEL: Everything is booked. LORELAI: You checked the Cheshire Cat, the Maiden's Teacup, the Cookie House, the Sugarbear Inn? MICHEL: Every place that sounds like Glinda the Good Witch threw up, yes – all booked.
S4: E1 The younger Gilmore girls have returned from their backpacking trip in Europe the summer before Rory begins Yale. In a snafu, the girls have miscalculated the school's orientation date and shuffle in preparation for Rory's departure. Lorelai misses the weekly Friday Night Dinner with her parents to run errands for Rory's first year away, and Rory sets off to her grandparents' home alone with their souvenirs. RICHARD: Look at that. That's beautiful.
RORY: We found this amazing pipe store in Copenhagen and the man there can carve anything you want. His family's been doing it for over a hundred and fifty years. And they had a whole set of Alice in Wonderland pipes that Mom wanted to get, but they were way too expensive so we just got the Queen of Hearts.
RICHARD: Well, I love it.
S4: E16 Richard's mother has just passed, Emily has taken on the behavior of her laissez-faire alter-ego, and Lorelai has taken the reigns on the family's postmortem arrangements. Jason, Richard's business partner and Lorelai's boyfriend, stops by the Gilmore house to gain Richard's signature on work papers.
LORELAI: Hi, Jason. JASON: Hey, I didn't know you were gonna be here. LORELAI: Oh, yeah, well, the white rabbit ran by. I chased him, fell down a hole, and here I am.
S6: E7 Rory has dropped out of Yale and has taken a job with the DAR running their fundraising and social events. She is living with Richard and Emily, against Lorelai's wishes, and Richard has realized she is moving towards a life that isn't suited for her potential, due to being crushed by Mitchum Huntzberger's unsolicited advice.
RICHARD: She's running around, planning tea parties like she's the mad hatter. All she talks about are seating charts and canapes and fund-raisers and that boy.
S8: E4 In the revival finale, Kirk crawls to the Gilmore residence apologizing for ruining Luke and Lorelai's wedding. He explains that he was in charge of decorating using the town's festival supplies and then became inspired, and two hours later he had destroyed the wedding. The couple, in a whirlwind much like their relationship, decides to marry the night before their actual wedding within Kirk's handiwork. The theatrics that ensue can only be explained as every nod to the romance that the series has been leading up to for over 15 years. The town of Stars Hollow has been transformed by Kirk into a dreamy Wonderland celebrating Luke and Lorelai.
KIRK: The decorations in the town square. Lorelai said to piggyback on the Harvest Festival, with the hay bales and food carts, and I was only supposed to set up a table for gifts and leave, and I intended to. I really did.
KIRK: But I was taking Petal for a walk. And she took longer than usual to pick her spot.
KIRK: And I was looking around and I got an idea! I never get ideas! But I had one. And the next thing I knew, I bought a glitter gun and some double stick tape, and two hours later, it's all different! Totally different. I ruined your big day.
This reference count is only one short of double digits, and there isn't even a glimpse of the book or mention of watching the movie. It is solely used as a pop-culture reference! Any nonsensical remark or fantastical and over-the-top event or setting can be described, negatively or positively, as a Wonderland. There is often a reference used in juxtaposition with something a character finds absurd or nonsensical, being a much common occurrence in Stars Hollow and within the Gilmore residence - hence the elevated reference count.
“'Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don’t much care where—' said Alice.
'Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'—so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you’re sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.'" - Chapter 6
“'Really, now you ask me,' said Alice, very much confused, 'I don’t think—'
'Then you shouldn’t talk,' said the Hatter." - Chapter 7
"The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, began screaming 'Off with her head! Off with—'
'Nonsense!' said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent." - Chapter 8,
Most people's first step into Lewis Carroll's zany world is Disney's movie version released in 1951, which combines Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking Glass. While criticism remarks that the story has no real point, that is exactly the point, it is pure entertainment and tale-telling. The story is a delightful read, expanding your imagination and using confusion and fantasy to inspire your mind beyond what's real. You'll want to keep reading to delve into the intricacies of a story you remembered as a child.
WHAT THE WHAT?:
Rumor has it that Lewis Carroll wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland while high on opium, but it also suggested that he suffered from what we now call AIWS or Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. While the former is proved incorrect, the latter may have rung true that Lewis suffered from AIWS, although we can never know for certain. He did, however, suffer from frequent migraines, epilepsy, stammering, partial deafness, and ADHD. He also wrote 11 books on mathematics, explaining the maths Alice must solve pertaining to base notation.
CARO'S RATING: 5 of 5 STARS
While written as a children's novel, the nonsensical tale is the perfect collection of absurdity and delightful cleverness and fun. There is something pleasing and surprising when reading a book where the story is well-known throughout modern cultures, like taking a deep-dive into a folk tale, and discovering why a classic has maintained all of the hype that it originally received centuries ago. This is a book that translates the nonsense of adolescence and growing-up into absurd and partitioned stories, none of which make sense in the first place.
Mental Floss: 12 Absurd Facts about Alice in Wonderland
BBC: Is Alice in Wonderland Really About Drugs?
Publishers Weekly: 10 Facts about Lewis Carroll
Is Alice in Wonderland a Fairytale?
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