Eye on Alice: Down the Rabbit Hole, Pt. 1

As we continue our ‘Eye on Alice’ series, we abandon the cover and move into the interior of the book.  The first important scene in the book is Alice’s descent into the rabbit hole.  Some Freudian-minded critics have described this scene as a metaphor for sex, but I think it far more apropriate to view it as a birth scene.  Like all newborns, Alice emerges into a world where the rules of adult society are not always logical or consistent.  In that sense Alice is an Everychild.  She is also Lewis Carroll himself, who, with his unconventional mind and unusual sexuality, must certainly have felt confused and appalled by the Victorian society in which he lived, with its jarring hypocrisy, sexual repression and the often topsy-turvy nature of its morality.  Alice of course follows the White Rabbit down the hole–the rabbit, with his white fur and officious manner, is the perfect animal to represent a Victorian doctor delivering the child into the new world.  And Alice appears to fall for ages, which could be considered something like a gestation period.  I think it’s fairly clear that Carroll intended the rabbit hole as a stand-in for birth.  These are some of the earliest versions of Alice’s encounter with the White Rabbit and her tumble down the rabbit hole:

a-l-bowley-alice

A. L. Bowley – Alice and the White Rabbit

Bessie Pease Gutmann - Alice and White Rabbit (1907)

Bessie Pease Gutmann – Alice and White Rabbit (1907)

Mabel Lucie Atwell - Alice and the White Rabbit (1910)

Mabel Lucie Atwell – Alice and the White Rabbit (1910)

Maria L. Kirk - Down the Rabbit-Hole (1907)

Maria L. Kirk – Down the Rabbit-Hole (1907)

Michael Hague - Down the Rabbit-Hole (1985)

Michael Hague – Down the Rabbit-Hole (1985)

Wikipedia: Bessie Pease Gutmann

Wikipedia: Mabel Lucie Atwell

Wikipedia: Michael Hague

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