Vol. 5, Issue 5 (2019)
Alice in Wonderland: Weaving a Diaspora Dream
Author(s): Charu Vaid
Abstract: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is a dense text open to multiple interpretations – symbolic, Freudian, political, feminist, but that this children’s classic can also be a study in diaspora, is adding another feather to its cap; this is precisely what the present paper attempts to do. First, the paper sees Alice as a migrant migrating from the realm of alert wakefulness to slumber and explains her stay and return in the foreign realm under the lesser known Indian Ocean/ the Bay of Bengal template of migration as opposed to the well-established trans-Atlantic model. Next, the paper reads her journey through the wonderland as nothing short of an exotic diaspora experience, related in a fanciful and regaling way, where through new theories of language (language as presentation), conviviality and an enchanting ecology, Alice explores the spectrum of her personhood. The Alice story, the paper argues, is a rarity in being a complex conglomeration of Travel Literature, Diaspora Studies and bildungsroman all draped in a veneer of fantasy. It thereby seeks to highlight the natural affinity and salience these fields, somewhat artificially kept apart in the Academy, have for one another. The paper at last explains why such proximity needs both to be celebrated and be chary of.