The Classics Reclamation Project is my personal challenge to read and enjoy the classics. Each Wednesday, I post about the classic I’m reading at the moment.
When I wrote about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a few weeks ago, I mentioned that the whole story felt familiar and that I was looking forward to trying Through the Looking-Glass, hoping I might like an unfamiliar story better. On the whole, I knew less of Through the Looking-Glass than I’d known of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, though elements from both made it into the Disney version
Instead of going down the rabbit hole, this time Alice manages to go through a mirror in her house. Things in this looking-glass world are as odd as they were in wonderland; whether or not they’re the same place wasn’t clear to me. The people and creatures were similarly odd, the plot just as disjointed, and the poetry equally abundant and nonsensical, though no characters in the looking-glass world overlapped with the ones in wonderland.
I continued to like Alice. She’s endearing, really. She tries so hard to be practical and sensible, but at the same time she talks to her cats and makes up stories. She goes along with what happens to her in the looking-glass world until something pushes her too far, and then she snaps a bit. She always recovers quickly and is back to being a good sport until something else outrageous happens.
I also enjoyed the scene with Humpty Dumpty, who came off as being quite the talker. Characters out of poems Alice knew kept showing up during Alice’s travels, doing just the things the poems said they did: Tweedledee and Tweedledum fighting over a rattle, the lion and the unicorn battling for the crown, and so forth. I thought it was creative of Lewis to have elements from Alice’s ordinary life popping up in her looking-glass adventures. He might have done the same in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, though I didn’t notice it as much in that story.
The writing, of course, is good. Carroll’s poetry is clever, with impeccable rhyme and meter. I listened to Michael Page read Alice’s adventures, and he did an excellent job. His character voices rivaled Jim Dale’s, who read the version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I chose. So, the reading, the writing, and the main character were all enjoyable for me; it’s just the story that didn’t much interest me.
I guess I’m just not a whimsy person. I can see where Carroll’s Alice stories delight and intrigue, but they’re too random for me. At one point, while I was listening, the story jumped so drastically that I thought I’d missed a track. I can understand why many people consider these stories classics, and I’m glad I read them, but they weren’t my favorites.