Thursday, December 29, 2011


I was restocking graphica today when I passed by the Intermediate section and saw this book:

Now, this isn't the original illustration that I'm used to, but that is a mug I would know anywhere. This is the cover (and cross section) of a copy of "Alice in Wonderland", (the information of which I have forgotten to write down, so I will be editing this tomorrow, whoops) and I was very intrigued by the fact that there is no text on the front, yet I instantly knew who this character was. The wayward locks, the fluffy dress, the fact that the character appears to be in a moment of free-falling; this is Alice, no doubt about it. My grandmother read "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through e Looking-glass" when I was a little girl, and ever since then, Alice has been a heroine that has really stayed with me, cropping up in my mind in times of necessity. I was obsessed with the Disney movie when it came out, as well, even dreaming about Alice's adventures and crying out to her in my sleep.

The conclusion I've drawn is, Alice is the type of broad you want on your team.

First of all, she's bored with pageantry. Her school marm/tutor/mistress/nanny, whatever kind of live-in education girls had back in 1865, is forever trying to get her to calm down, settle down, do her lessons, but Alice's imagination is too fantastical and she has trouble sitting still. Today, Alice would have been so plied with adderall and a cocktail of other downers that she'd be unable to wipe the drool from her face, let alone scamper away to a mysterious fantasy world. Thank goodness they did things differently in 1865: Alice is a smart girl, but she's street smart. Upon falling through what she imagines to be the center of the earth, Alice doesn't panic.

Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end! `I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?' she said aloud. `I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down , I think--' (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a very good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) `--yes, that's about the right distance--but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I've got to?' (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say .)
Presently she began again. `I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think--' (she was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) `--but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma' am, is this New Zealand or Australia?' (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke-- fancy curtseying as you're falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) `And what an ignorant little girl she'll think me for asking! No, it'll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.'  (chapter 1)

I mean, no, no I don't think I could manage curtseying while free falling through the air, but that is mostly because I'd be crying and hiccupping and apologizing to my mom for all the horrible things I've done. Instead of doing that, Alice is thinking seriously about what she's going to do when she lands. She's basically planning on assimilating with the locals, hoping that they will leave her alone and that she'll be able to figure things out on her own. I would never ask somebody if this was Austrailia or New Zealand; I would totally just hope that I get lucky and stumble across a road sign. Alice doesn't want anyone's help; she is not depending on the kindness of strangers. In addition to that, I appreciate that Alice doesn't know everything but is smart enough to give things a try. If people know how many words I don't actually know the definition of but just use wherever I think they sound correct, UMB would take away my burgeoning English degree. Alice guesses, and that makes her brave.

Which brings me to the second reason, Alice is tough.

However, she soon made out that she was in the pool of tears which she had wept when she was nine feet high.“I wish I hadn’t cried so much!” said Alice, as she swam about, trying to find her way out. “I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, by being drowned in my own tears! That will be a queer thing, to be sure! However, everything is queer to-day.” (chapter 2)

Not a woman among us can say that she hasn't bawled her eyes out over some kind of misfortune, gotten it all out of her system, then taken a step back, reassessed the situation, and promptly wished she had not cried so much. I make no attempt to claim such a thing. I have wasted whole afternoons pining over idiots who (mistakenly) didn't think I was good enough to make out with, only to realize the next week how deeply and fundamentally wrong they were. Those are hours I'll never get back, where I was metaphorically drowned in my own tears, which I much prefer to the literal interpretation, but still. Alice is such a level headed girl, which is one of the many things I love about her. She approaches these things from a place of analytical sense, and I admire that greatly. No bemoaning idiots for her, no sir.

`Have you guessed the riddle yet?' the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
`No, I give it up,' Alice replied: `what's the answer?'
`I haven't the slightest idea,' said the Hatter.
`Nor I,' said the March Hare.
Alice sighed wearily. `I think you might do something better with the time,' she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.'

Alice doesn't suffer fools and she speaks her mind, two of the greatest qualities a lady can have in any time, in any place. Alice taught me that diplomacy will only take you so far. If you're at the mad tea party, do as the Romans do. Or whatever. You guys know what I mean.

America, you can keep your Miley Cirus' and your Hilary Duffs' and your Demi Lovatos' (is that a thing? That's a thing, right?), because the female role model that had an effect on my young mind was rambunctious, outspoken, bright, and independent, and I can only recommend you get the Alice in Wonderland books for any young lady in your life.

 All the versions of Alice in Wonderland (/looking glass) I have shown in this post are available in our store, by the way. I mean I'm just saying. 

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