1. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland contains many underlying themes, and most of which center on the protagonist, Alice. Three main themes in the movie that revolve around Alice are identity, courage, and maturation. Throughout the movie, Alice is constantly facing doubts and criticism that she is not the actual Alice. However, by the end of the movie during the final battle, she shows that she has matured and that she has the courage to finish her fight with the Queen and the Jabberwocky; all of which links back to her finding her own identity.

 
2. In Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, one theme that seems to overlap between the film and the book is the maturation of Alice. The novel focuses a lot on Alice’s gigantic stature and the awkwardness she feels, which could be a reflection on the discomfort girls feel as they go through puberty. Some other themes that come up in the novel are the games Alice tries to solve and the power of dreams. Carroll was a mathematician, which makes his nonsensical approach to all of the various riddles and games Alice tries to solve confusing for the reader because one would think that a mathematician would want his heroine to solve these puzzles. And one final theme is the power, or importance, of dreams for Alice. In the novel, Wonderland exists in some other, dream-like realm where Alice goes and has another life. Some problems that Burton may have run into when he was adapting the book for his film was the theme about Alice being unable to solve riddles/games. Since this was obviously made for a movie-going audience, Burton could not really keep to the theme of Alice being unable to solve riddles. An audience that pays to see a movie does not want to leave a movie confused or unsure of what they just watched, especially in the case of a PG movie such as Alice in Wonderland.

 
3. http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/school/themes.html —>This site helped explain a few of the more important themes in the novel.

http://curiouswonderland-.tumblr.com/archive —>This blog was useful because it links/redirects the visitor to many other blogs about questions in the movie/novel, which offers numerous perspectives on the same issue.

http://theeveningclass.blogspot.com/2010/03/tim-burtons-alice-in-wonderland.html —>Useful critique and in depth look at the film.
The above source is especially important for understanding the film because the author goes into great detail about the themes Burton uses and how he portrays them in the film. There is one line in particular that really helps the reader understand where Burton is coming from,

“Tim Burton’s achievement in his vision of Alice in Wonderland is to situate self-inquiry against social expectation.”
This sentence truly sets the stage for the entire movie because it reflects the internal and external struggles that face the heroine, Alice, and how she has to juggle both expectations throughout the movie.

 

4. How does the film adaptation speak to its audience (21st century teenagers and adults) as opposed to the way the book speaks to its audience (19th century children, and the parents that read to them)?

 

Burton’s film adaptation speaks to its 21st century audience through the animation, the action, and the overall “in your face” quality of the movie while Carroll’s book speaks to his audience through the use of logic games and the overall absurdity of his novel. 

 

For Burton’s adaptation to be a successful one he had to grab his audience’s attention and never let go.  He was able to do this by putting his own, unique, dark take on the classic story.  Burton’s highly imaginative representations of the characters from the book also spoke to his audience, because his characters were so different, so odd looking, so unique, and so “in your face” that it would be hard for the audience to not watch the movie. 

 

In the case of Carroll’s novel, he used logical games and puzzles to garner the interest of parents and adults and he used his own creativity to endear the story to children.  Trying to figure out the puzzles and games Alice was faced with made the story an interesting read for 19th century adults.  And the overall strangeness and nonsensical nature of the story painted a picture of a fantasy land for children, who heard the story or read it to themselves, to get lost in.  The fantastic adventures of Alice kept children of the time interested and yearning to figure out what would happen to Alice next.

 

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