Education is an integral part of any society. Victorian England saw drastic reform in the method of childhood education, shifting from religious to secular forms of rote memorization. An analysis of the works of Lewis Carroll reveals significant instances of parody, pastiche, and satire on these styles of education and their corresponding reform. Unlike it is usually in traditional satire writing, Lewis Carroll’s stories is not simply criticizing, but utilizes a special strategy of synthesis to show strengths and weaknesses of different opposing educational ideologies and to find ways of adopting methods from all existing options.
It is not a coincidence that the grotesque style in literature has a tendency to be prevalent in ages signified by drastic changes and stress. Such was the Victorian period, within which a great number of social, economic, and religious changes took place. Since Victorians were so concerned with learning more about themselves and the world around them, they appeared to be great inventors; they were the first who created solutions to problems and improved themselves. Alice realizes the fruitlessness of the White Knight's inventions upon discovering the mousetrap on his horse's back. In response to this, she remarks, 'it isn't very likely there would be any mice on a horse's back'. 'Not very likely, perhaps,' said the Knight; 'but if they do come, I don't choose to have them running all about'.
The Victorian times are associated with self-discovery and striving to find the order in the universe, so it actually makes sense when Alice is not really sure of who she is. However, the Caterpillar cannot accept Alice's lack of self-awareness when she states that she is unsure of whom she is. Victorian concepts of childhood were closely related to the class identity, although Alice’s adventures in Wonderland also demonstrated earlier discussions over child workers in British factories and plants. Child labor was by no means new to nineteenth-century industrial Britain. In the early eighteenth century, Daniel Defoe celebrated children as young as four working in emerging textile cottage industries.
At its core, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland remains a book that inevitably explores childhood from the adult perspective, but primarily, it is the book that shows that all the answers we are looking for are always within us, we only have to listen to our hearts and feel rather than think.
Education is an integral part of any society. Victorian England saw drastic reform in the method of childhood education, shifting from religious to secular forms of rote memorization. An analysis of the works of Lewis Carroll reveals significant instances of parody, pastiche, and satire on these styles of education and their corresponding reform.