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Identity in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass is constantly shifting. Its instability creates anxiety and confusion, but also enables another kind of exploration. We must question what it is that really constitutes identity – names, behaviors, abilities, knowledge, beliefs, or something else. In addition, it is easy to split identities, to understand both sides of an issue or to feel like several personalities are struggling within one person. The reader, like the protagonist, must continually question her own identity and admit that she is uncertain about it in order to make progress in her quest.

Questions About Identity

  1. Why does Alice have so much trouble explaining who she is?
  2. How is Alice's identity related to her educational experiences? Hint: think about the moments where Alice tries to recite poetry and misspeaks.
  3. Why are there so many references to Alice pretending to be or feeling like more than one person?
  4. What is more important for Alice's identity – what she can do, what she knows, or how other people react to her?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Alice's experiences in Wonderland teach her that it's more important to know what you know than to know who you are.

Alice's experiences in Wonderland teach her that true self-knowledge comes from understanding your habits and behaviors first and labeling your identity second.

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