The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature, Vol 15, No 2 (2011)

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Purposeful Dreams on Film: Building Alice’s Self-Esteem in Nick Willing’s Alice In Wonderland

Jennifer Geer


This article explores an antithetical re-framing of Lewis Carroll’s insurrective Alice texts. Rather than highlighting the novels’ fundamentally subversive messages, film versions often try to channel Carroll’s chaotic impulses into more orderly narrative arcs.  Geer focuses on Willing’s domestication of Alice from Carroll’s curious child eager to explore the possibilities both within and around her, to a stereotypical late-twentieth century child who needs adults to shape her identity and build her self-esteem.  Geer pointedly reminds us that children’s media, like children’s novels, often are designed less for children’s delight than for the comfort of the adults who function as their gatekeepers and protectors.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680