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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A Psychological Look into Alice in Wonderland

Hello there you beautiful beings of the blog-o-sphere!

Today I wanted to talk about something a little bit different...*cue gasps of horror* I recently read an article about the hidden signs and symbols that you can find in all of Walt Disney's animated films. Now for me this was simply fascinating as I love all things Disney (although Frozen...I'm sorry...you weren't on my list of favourites). Growing up I loved all of the classics, and one of my all time favourites was the magical and wonderful Alice in Wonderland. Now whilst Walt 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 instability and escapism throughout the film. This hugely fantastical world that Alice ventures into is for her, a form of escapism from the stresses and strains of her every day life. Further more, the substances she takes throughout the film that have more than peculiar consequences, could be a reference to the less-than-healthy ways in which certain members of society chose to cope, such as with drugs, alcohol, etc. This is further proven by the intensely saturated images that she sees, not to mention singing flowers and pink and purple smiling cats up trees...

So you're still not at all convinced? Let me elaborate...
From the start of the animation, we see Alice isolating herself from a party. Instead of engaging with her family, she is seen lying among the flowers in a daydream like state. 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 perhaps? 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. But nonetheless, 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. 



Please do share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments below! 

Thanks for reading! 

- Olivia Charlotte Alice
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