The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature, Vol 9, No 1 (2005)

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Making Sense of Nonsense: An Examination of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth as Allegories of Children's Learning

Maryn Brown

Abstract


Hailed as pre-eminent works of nonsense fantasy, Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth (1961) quickly became and so remain landmarks of children's literature. As their respective protagonists, Alice and Milo, wander through unfamiliar and illogical other-worlds and find their knowledge continually exercised, confused and contradicted, both works effectively function as allegories of children's learning. Representative of two "golden moments" in children's literature, Alice and Tollbooth employ nonsense and word play to acknowledge children's experiences and struggles with tedium, educational methods, language, mathematics, manners, justice and their own processes of individuation.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680