Tuesday, April 12, 2011



I feel confused reading the Tolman/Higgins article and using it as a lens to watch Alice in Wonderland. In Tim Burton's version, Alice is twenty years old. She is not a child and she is not a teenager. She looks her age for the most part. But she doesn't engage with the world as an adult - she engages with Wonderland and 'real land' as a sexless adult and is treated as such - hence she functions as a child.

I can interpret this as Alice being the ultimate good girl - she is a female of a sexual age that is denying her sexual desire which forms part of her identity as the movie's heroine. None of the movie's characters show sexual interest in her (with the exception of Stayne - whom I didn't even realize was Crispin Glover until I just looked up the spelling of the character's name on IMDB!).

I also can interpret this as a retelling of a classic story in which the character in the original book and previous film versions was a (nonsexual) young child.

Burton chose to age Alice to develop the engagement dilemma - positing arranged marriage as a prison that will hamper our heroine's creativity and righteous will (same as in Atalanta).

But does Alice reject marriage because she is a nonsexual good girl?
Or does Alice reject marriage because she is a bad girl - she will not bow to male desire but will make her own choices?

I think it's both. Our society does increasingly value female spunk (ESPECIALLY hypothetical spunk!) as it also values demure and asexual girls.

Burton and Atalanta capitalized on both.


  1. i really liked how you interpet the reading and the movie alice in the wonderland !

  2. I really liked the questions that you brought up on here and in class! I think you did a really great and detailed viewing of the film. I also found it interesting that you brought up past representations of Alice. I too tried to compare this Alice to ones that we had previously seen. It is amazing to see the difference!

  3. Interesting interpretation. This is definitely a way I hadn't looked at this movie and article. Great connections between the old Alice and the new Alice. It is interesting to see how the creators of the new film transitioned Alice to fit the agenda they wanted to portray.