Throughout Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, it is only possible to understand the strangeness and curiousness of the fantasy world by comparing it to the "real world" – in this case, Victorian England. Fantasyland serves as a contrast to "real life," helping us better understand our own reality.
Questions About Contrasting Regions
Compare and contrast Victorian England, or "the real world," and Wonderland. In what ways is Wonderland completely different from reality? In what ways does it take qualities from real life to unusual extremes?
Do you think that Wonderland is meant to be an parody or an allegorical representation of the "real world"? That is, is there a one-to-one correspondence between things in Wonderland and things in England? Or is Wonderland just a strange fantasy? Give details from the text to support your answer.
Why is it significant that Wonderland is physically underneath England? How would you think of Wonderland differently if it were in the clouds or through a secret doorway?
Brainstorm several contemporary social issues related to children and choose one that interests you the most. If he lived today, how might Lewis Carroll have treated this issue in his Alice books? What is the "Looking-Glass World" version of your issue?
Chew on This
Wonderland is not a direct allegory for the real world, but it does contain some episodes of allegory that add a satirical flavor to the text.
There is nothing in Wonderland that is purely fantastic; each character or event in the fantasy world is based on something that happens or someone who exists in the real world.