Monday, 20 July 2015

A Psychological Look into Alice in Wonderland

While Disney's Alice in Wonderland (originally written by Lewis Carroll in 1865) is a wonderful story full of imagination and creativity, there does seem to be an undeniable nod towards mental illness or at least an association/reference to the less-than-healthy ways in which certain members of society chose to cope with the stresses and strains of every day life. 
Not convinced? Let me elaborate...

From the start we see Alice isolating herself from a party, instead lying among the flowers in a daydream. Alice appears to be escaping from reality, suggested further when she quite literally escapes from her surroundings after falling down a rabbit hole- the result of her following a talking white rabbit- first nod to crazytown? Alice meets the Cheshire cat who informs her that "We're all mad here." Alice is seen taking different potions/remedies which alter her body size (and perhaps her mindset) throughout the story- suggested to be a reference to alcohol and drugs? Alice interacts with singing flowers as well as a multitude of talking animals such as a caterpillar- who appears to be smoking a pipe. As if that isn't enough, she even attends the 'Mad Hatters Tea Party' with more talking animals. From the get go, it is as if we are viewing this film in a drug induced haze. Alice in Wonderland is a childlike fantasy, innocent, fun, playful and quirky; however from an older perspective I cannot deny the underlying darkness and references to mental instability that are present within both Carroll's cherished book and the Disney classic. 
















Over the years many articles have been written on this topic, discussing the suggested references to mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, disassociation and substance abuse. These ideas or interpretations may simply just be ideas and interpretations; it may not have been Carroll's intentions and perhaps in this day and age we read too much into things. However it is interesting to observe a narrative from differing perspectives as it enables us to find a connection to the story and relate to certain underlying issues, whether or not those were the author's intentions. 

IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING WITH A MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM, PLEASE DO NOT KEEP YOURSELF IN THE DARK. PLEASE REACH OUT AND SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY- NO MATTER WHAT THE PROBLEM IS YOU DESERVE HELP AND SUPPORT. 


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