One of the episodes that I found the most interesting was” Advice from a caterpillar”. What stood out to me the most was the image of a caterpillar sitting on top of a mushroom smoking a hookah. I heard a rumor once when I was on vacation in Europe that Lewis Carroll was taking hallucinogens while he wrote Alice in Wonderland. I have no basis to believe that’s true but can at least understand why someone may think that based on that image alone. I normally am not a big fan of fantasy novels however I enjoyed reading that episode immensely. In the book Alice seems to be very opinionated and a bit of a know-it all like many 7 year olds her age. What made this scene important was that the caterpillar seemed to disagree with almost everything Alice says. She finds him very annoying but yet continues speaking to him.
He starts off the episode by smoking his hookah and completely ignoring her. By working with children I’ve realized that they must have your attention and despise indifference. I feel that his purpose was to let Alice know that she is not the most important thing happening at the moment. An example of this is when he says “You!!!……..Who are you?”. It causes her to be on her guard and she is amazed how the caterpillar is responding to her. What I found puzzling was the content of the poems that the caterpillar was asking her to recite for the purpose of jogging her memory.
This episode fit the other ones in the way that it continues to put Alice in strange scenarios and requires her to think on her feet and answer questions from characters she would normally not want to talk to. I feel that Lewis Carroll did a great job of creating a realistic child because even though she is uncomfortable in many of the episodes she still is engaged in conversation and wants the character to believe her. Another character the challenges her is the pigeon who responds to her with “A likely story indeed” when Alice tells the Pigeon that she is a little girl. The characters seem to not trust Alice for the most part and again is a challenge to what small children hold value to.
I feel that the lesson of this episode is that it points out although she feels like she knows everything she actually does not. She is very confused because of all the changes she is going through like changing in size but it seems silly that she asks characters that she doesn’t know to tell her who she is. She finishes the episode not sure whether she will keep changing but feeling better that she is at her right size again. What makes it comical though is that she sees a garden that requires her to be shorter and quickly alters her size yet again.