Alice’s Creation of the Carnival: A Carnivalesque Reading of Three Parodic Poems in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
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This thesis explores how the three poems “How Doth the Little Crocodile”, “’Tis the Voice of the Lobster” and “You Are Old, Father William”, which are part of the novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, can be read through Bakhtin’s theory of the carnivalesque. These poems are all recited by Alice herself, and are parodies of poems that were used for the purpose of rote memorisation and recitation in the educational system of Victorian Britain. The poems are therefore analysed in comparison to the poems of which they are parodies, and also in light of the official culture of British Victorian Era. The findings suggest that all of the three poems are set in dialogue with the officialdom of Victorian Britain. The findings further manifest that particularly two of the poems are set in dialogue with the texts of which they are parodies. Through this dialogue, the carnivalesque elements of ‘grotesque realism’, ‘degradation’, ‘ambivalence’ and ‘decrowning’ can, to various extents, be found in the three poems and they display the ways in which the poems subvert the seriousness of the officialdom. The findings indicate that a carnivalesque reading of the poems may shed new light on the poems that occur within the novel, and that further research is encouraged on this field.
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