Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

"If there's no meaning to it," said the King, "that saves a world of trouble, you know, as we needn't try to find any."

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:
This book is nonsense! This is also a very long post, but keep in mind it includes two books and SUPER SKINNY Blogger format makes it look longer. There was so much to include, that it became overwhelming, so I decided to look at each book separately and just sort of compare and contrast things from the show. Also, I will look at some of the larger themes present.

Themes:
Let me begin by saying that I am a big supporter of the idea that Ben could well be a twin. So I found it quite relevant that throughout the book there was this theme of Alice thinking that she was someone else (Mabel, her sister, even the cat Dinah) and also that the White Rabbit thought she was someone else as well (he mistook her for his maid).
  • This quote in particular stood out for me, "...for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people.”But it's no use now," thought poor Alice, "to pretend to be two people! Why there's hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person!""
    • It begs the question, is someone on the show pretending to be two people...or perhaps two people pretending to be one person.
    • As I said, I am of the mind that Ben is perhaps doing this. His back healed awfully fast...maybe his twin is acting as Ben until the other half is healed. Also I feel that Ben has two distinct sides. One seems stammering and unsure, while the other is cold and maniacal.
    • I also tend to think that the pretending to be more than one person applies to Kate, Sawyer, and even Sun and Jin. Kate and Sawyer literally taking on different identities and acting as if they are someone else. Jin and Sun on the other hand, are acting toward each other. Jin acting like he is not the hired muscle that beats and kills people for her father, and Sun acting like she is not in love with someone else.

Along with the dual person theme we see a huge theme of change in the story, both size and shape. Alice is constantly growing and shrinking, the baby literally becomes a pig, the white roses are painted red, and the Cheshire Cat is always going through various states of visibility.

  • I think that the characters on Lost are certainly going through huge amounts of changes. Some have been healed, and that is a huge change. But there are subtle ones as well:
    • Charlie has kicked his drug habit.
    • Claire has become a mother
    • Juliet has become an accomplice
    • Danielle has become a recluse
    • Hurley is finding his purpose
    • Michael became a true parent
    • Locke is becoming part of the island

Observations:

  • Throughout the story questions never seem to get answered and distraction is used to divert Alice from further pursuit.
    • Much like Ben or Richard Alpert and their answers to the others and Locke about just what is going on on the island.
  • The whole book is just nonsense and Alice is trying to make sense of what is going on throughout it.
    • In truth there really is no sense to make. The characters have no idea that they live in nonsense, so really there is nothing there for them to figure out. It only seems abnormal to Alice because she is an outsider.
    • The Others I think have gotten this way. They have been on the island for so long that they have just sort of accepted what goes on there to a degree, as normal. They really no longer question things because it's just the way it is. Things like a plane falling from the sky and infiltrating the survivors, taking children, and watching someone who is supposed to kill their father all seem normal to them at this point because daily life is just that bizarre.
    • Alice seems to have trouble remembering verse that she should know. It ends up coming out all wrong and she can't make sense of it. I wonder if the island has that effect on people. Maybe the flashbacks we have seen could be memories that are remembered wrong. OR maybe the island simply makes you forget what the right thing is. Things you were supposed to know are now replaced by nonsense, and it’s somehow normal.
  • Food makes Alice shrink and grow throughout the book. Could this idea be reflected by the food drops and the DI food that the survivors are eating? Could there really be drugs in the food that are making things happen to the people who eat it?
  • Who on Lost is most like the Cheshire cat?
    • I think Jacob is a good choice because he is literally transparent. However, Ben is also a good candidate as we haven't really seen all of him yet.
    • Also, Danielle as she sort of pops in and out it seems when the time is convenient.
  • In the end, even though Alice wakes up, Wonderland is still with her (the idea spreads to sister and to her children later in life). This certainly sounds like Jack to me, now that we have seen flash forwards to his life off of the island.
"...Alice began to remember that she was a Pawn, and that it would soon be her turn to move."

Through the Looking-Glass:
While reading this book I felt very much like Alice must have when she was running with the Red Queen. Rushing and running so very fast but only to find you're running to stay in the same place. There were so many things in this book that could compare to Lost, but I'm struck again by the nonsense, as well as the fact that again, Alice dreams the whole thing.

Themes:
Like in the first book, we find Alice is again involved in a game. In AiWL it was cards, and in TtLG it's a large game of chess. Both games of skill and process, however playing cards is more a game of chance and diversion where chess is a game of skill and strategy. She has moved from luck of the draw to skill and thinking.
  • The Losties have had fate and chance deal them their hand in the first two seasons. Falling on the island, it seems by chance, and sort of just playing the hand they have been dealt.
  • Later they meet The Others and are learning strategies to survive, beat them at their own game, and get off the island. No longer so much chance as strategy and skill being put to better use.
Alice keeps progressing through the Looking-Glass world, following the game and going forward. At one point she gets frustrated because she keeps coming back to the door to her house, and she doesn't want to go back until the adventure is finished. "I'm NOT going in again yet. I know I should have to get through the Looking-glass again--back into the old room--and there'd be an end of all my adventures!" (Chapter 2).
  • I think this is the embodiment of Locke. He sees the island as his adventure, his purpose. He is not going back home (off of it) until he sees the end of the adventure.
  • This could also embody Ben, in that he is home on the island (and even lies about being born there). He really has nowhere to go if he leaves the island (that we know of) and seems eager to stay and do what Jacob needs him to do.
Throughout the book Alice is reminded by many characters (the gnat, The Red Queen) to remember her name. She even encounters a forest where she forgets who she is, but remembers as soon as she walks out.
  • I think that this is one of those things that ALL of the Losties are experiencing. The island is giving them the opportunity to remember who they really are, or at least remember circumstances that have gotten them to the places they are in life. The island is giving them the freedom to recover their names and be rid of the parts of themselves that they are not happy with.
Observations:
When Alice first stumbles on the King and Queen chess pieces, she picks them up and puts them on the table. They can't see her and somehow reason that she is a volcano picking them up. Says the Queen, "Mind the volcano!...Blew-me-up," panted the Queen, who was still a little out of breath."
  • This season we've been speculating about the volcanic properties of the island, whether it is doing something to the water, whether it's ash is being used somehow, and weather it is spewing these magnetic black-rocks all over the island.
  • Alice wanders into a talking flower garden where a tiger lily tells her that flowers can always talk but only "when there's anybody worth talking to." Other flowers eventually chime in and Alice describes it as..."shouting together, till the air seemed quite full of shrill voices."
    • This made me think of the whispers and how they seem to come from the forest. They begin as an almost rustle of the trees, and evolve into voices, much like the flowers.
    • Are we experiencing a hallucination, on the show, of plants and animals sounding like voices, or is something much larger and unexplained going on? OR is someone integrating parts of the island into a sort of lucid dream (like Alice)?
  • The Red Queen takes Alice up on to a hill to look over the Looking-glass Land and view the chess board.
    • This really made me think of when Ben took Sawyer for a walk and showed him where they actually were in relation to the Lostie's camp.
  • Could Tweedledee and Tweedledum represent a set of quarreling twins on the island (going back to my favorite Ben is a twin theory :D)
Smokey-isms:
"Here she checked herself in some alarm, at hearing something that sounded to her like the puffing of a large steam-engine in the wood near them, though she feared it was more likely to be a wild beast." (Chapter 4)
  • At one point Tweedledee and Tweedledum are fighting and Alice wishes a crow would come and stop them. A crow does come and she describes it like a large black cloud descending upon them. To escape it, she runs into the woods rationalizing that the crow/cloud is far too large to squeeze between the trees to get at her.
    • This is very reminiscent to when Juliet and Kate are handcuffed and running from Smokey. They hide in a tree and Smokey goes away.
    • The crow comes because there is a conflict happening and/or Alice has willed it. It seems that Smokey has a way of showing up when some of the Losties are experiencing a conflict or commotion (the crash, Kate and Juliet yelling, etc.) or even when willed to arrive like with Locke and Eko.
    • The Lion and the Unicorn call Alice a "monster" just because they don't know what she is. Are we and the Losties doing that with our smoke "monster"?

Final Bullets:

  • Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (info here and here) is a real for honest thing!
    • People who suffer from it see objects as smaller/larger or up-close/far-away at the same time (micro or macropsia).
    • This syndrome can be caused by migraine, schizophrenia, psychoactive drugs, epilepsy, viral mononucleosis or Epstein Barr.
    • Sufferers also experience distorted movement of time and distorted sound perception.
      • So could this be "the sickness" or part of it?
      • Could this be where the sounds of the whispers come from?
      • Could there be psychotropic drugs in the food (alluded to in TLE with Apollo Bars) that are making their normality slightly skewed?
Both stories end with Alice waking from a dream. I don't even want to speculate that THIS will be how Lost ends...I get light headed and nervous just thinking about that, but I will end with this quote from TtLG describing The King, as Alice comes upon him sleeping on the grass:

Said Tweedledee, "Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake, you'd go out--bang!--just like a candle!"

23 comments:

memphish said...

Great job Ange. I'm looking forward to the podcast. I really like your Ben twin theory. There's got to be twins somewhere. Maybe Ben suffered the fate of Rabbit 15?

My favorite LOST tie-in with TTLG is the fact that time runs in all directions as explained by the White Queen. Looking-Glass Land is not enslaved by Time and space works backwards as well.

Ange said...

YES memphish! I can't wait to find out what all is happening with Rabbit 15 and that Orchid video. You know, it never even occurred to me that that could be the cause of twinage (if indeed there is any). GREAT idea!

The time angle of TtLG was for sure something to think about. The effect of "living backward" made me giddy with the implications. Specifically, how yes, you could not do bad deeds and that would be "better still". But, you would still get/need to be punished because that was how one learned lessons. Punishment was also a big theme in the story.

jess4ua said...

WOW, the sickness thing is GREAT! That would "scientifically" explain a lot of things that happen on the island. Plus, I always wondered why Kelvin was making Desmond shoot up, and then why Desmond, nor anyone else never seemed "sick" while being out of the hatch. Maybe the whole "sickness" isn't a matter of life or death. And wasn't the sickness in the ARG mononucleosis? HMMMMMMMM

Ange said...

...wasn't the sickness in the ARG mononucleosis?

Oh my gosh, was it?! I think we need to have a look at Lostpedia and check that out. If it is, then, good one Jess!

maven said...

Ange: Fabulous job! You tied everything in so well with Lost. Made me actually think some more. I love how the AiW Syndrome could answer so many questions about the sickness and what the characters are going through. They all are like an Alice in Wonderland.

Also, the playing with time is so vital to the book and the show. The White Queen says that she's living backwards: One's memory work both ways. Remember things that happened the week after next.

Also, your Ben twin theory is not so out there. That would explain a lot of things. Or else he's a schizophrenic or split-personality...the good and the bad Ben.

I'll have to thinks about all your other points some more.

2costa said...

to expound on the thought that ben or maybe jacob may have a twin. The mistaken identity theme in the books reminded me of the whole jacob/esau thing with issac being tricked with the fur. That reminded me of how locke basically tricked ben into thinking he did the dirty work with cooper. It was lockes birthright to do the deed to cooper, but sawyer was coopers symbolic other son(creation) that got to do it. Hence the comment from cooper to sawyer what am i your daddy to pound that point home

2costa said...
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Ange said...

**Covering my eyes to THAT spoiler...LOL sorry Costa;)but I really liked what you said about Sawyer being a symbolic "other son".

Maven: I liked the idea that if not a twin, Ben could have a split personality of some kind. In reading memphish's QOTD yesterday it got me thinking about sociopaths, and I think it's safe to say that Ben certainly qualifies. And again, the time thing is just so important. Also evident with having not only reverse time, but also an unbirthday. That made me wonder if Mr. Alpert isn't having a few too many unbirthdays what with his youthful hotness and all ;).

capcom said...

Fantastic Ange! You've outdone yourself with this one!

* You're right, there has got to be a twin somewhere, "The Bad Twin" said so! :o) There certainly is a difference in the behavior of captive Fenry and Othertown Ben for a start.

* Very good point comparing the Others' weirdness to the Wonderland inhabitants, in the eyes of the Losties/Alice.

* I love how you equat Locke to Alice not wanting to go back, excellent! I agree.

* The way the Red Queen shows Alice the chessboard from afar, makes me think of how I hope that we will look at Lost after TPTB have finally given us the whole story to the end, and we can look back at the entire experience with all (hopefully) of the larger pieces of the puzzle in their proper place. And hopefully, like you said, no dreams alowed! Or snowglobes either.

2costa said...

there is nothing to this thought i guess except maybe some racial profiling, but ange have you ever thought that sun and jins son might turn out to be marvin candle. Boggles the mind

2costa said...
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2costa said...
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2costa said...

another randon thought, i used to think that Ben was trained to be a scientist by Dharma, but in one of the screen caps Ben had his very own Ben:work man jumpsuit, so he was a janitor like his father. SO in light of that it is quite a coupe for him to rise to be the leader of the others. We have mentioned before that in the bible that Ben is the son jacob. Well i theorized before that Roger may not have been Bens biological father and that Ben may have been concieved on the island, that may be why his mother gave premature birth and died, as she was about to die she said name him "ben" and had a twinkle in her eye like it had some significance, well if there is all this time loop stuff happening on the island then what , but what if all the stuff the 815'ers are doing now is setting the stage for the discovery of time travel/cashamir effect. might explain what they have said about adam and eve being someone we know on the island and would also help explain why richard asked ben if his mother died on the island and why his mother looked like alice when she came to the sonic fence, casue the island is her rabbit hole

2costa said...

it seems strange that horace goodspeed seemed to take such a shine to Ben,but ben ended up being a janitor anyway. Matbe ebn wasnt recruited to the island by the others maybe goodspeed was working for hawkings and secretly trained ben for his ultimate mission or course correction, why would he lay down his life in the purge perhaps for the same reason mrs Klugh would do the same thing, either they know that there is a backdoor through time and space,which only traps fools(room 23 audio reversed) or their mission is so big humainties entire existence and survival depends on it

Ange said...

Costa: You know I never even considered that Marvin Candle could have a connection to Sun and Jin. Him being their child might work with the time looping and such, but I'm more inclined to think he may end up being a relative. Although, you have an uncanny ability to make out there predictions that actually do happen!

Capcom: THANKS thanks and thanks. I am like you in that when this is all over I hope all the pieces will just fall into place. Although with all of these books we've been reading with "dreamy" endings, I'm getting nervous.

Sayid'sgirl said...

Ange
I always enjoy reading your thoughts.
The first thing I wrote down in my notes was "...for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people." My thought was that perhaps Alice had a split personality. (or at least had to much time on her hands with a very vivid imagination)The idea of twins never occured to me, but it is a good idea.
I found the discussion at the tea party on time interesting. The Hatter tells Alice that she doesn't know time, that time isn't an it but a he. The Hatter says if you keep on good terms with time he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock. He could change the clock and keep it there as long as you like. But he had a quarrel with time and now it is always six o'clock. (Tea time.)
This topic continues in TTLG when the Queen tells Alice that one of the advantages of living backwards is that one's memory works both ways. Alice remarks that she is sure her's only works one way that she can't remember things before they happen.
I think this can relate to Desmond. In making Mrs. Hawkings angry is she changing time on him. Is his flashes actually future memories. As the Queen describes in TTLG?

Amused2bHere said...

Wow Ange. Good job on Alice's adventures. I really hope you are able to join in the podcast, I am looking forward to listening in on this one!

Ange said...

Thanks amused and sayid's girl!

I totally agree about the time references. And I also agree that as these flashes are coming out more and more it does seem like someone is orchestrating time to run in all directions. Now with the Orchid video we get a new piece added to the mix which might make the idea of a looking glass all the more apt.

As far as the podcast goes WOE...I have open house that night at school. BUT I did load TalkShoe and someday.... You have 364 "unbirthdays" there must be at least one "unbusy" podcast day in there somewhere!

R2K said...

: )

Ange said...

You know people are reading your blog when r2k arrives with the smiley face :) !

Amused2bHere said...

When our blogs get this deep and insightful I imagine what a kick Darlton would get out of reading them. Just our book club discussions would rock their socks off!

Anybody know if they are aware of our little community? Sometimes I think they "pearl" around our main blog, but it would be too awesome to find out they keep tabs on the book club too.

Eh, they'd probably think we all need a life, since most of us comment every day (sometimes more!)

Keep up the great thinking, Ange.

2costa said...

carlton is pretty dimissive of the hardcore fans, but damon seems to appreciate them.

Ange said...

THANKS amused!

I'm sure someone affiliated with TPTB must know about the Community(s) although I doubt they read all of our little side blogs. It's neat to wish and hope though. LOL can you imagine! That would be a daunting task...frankly I think we're all a touch Lost loco, but in an awesomely cool kind of way of course ;).