Alice Mini-Series Blog Post

 

The Alice Mini-Series Blog Post

The reinterpretation I chose to research is the two part mini-series called Alice that that came out in 2009. In this version Alice is Alice Hamilton, a woman in her early 20’s who is a martial arts instructor living at home with her mom. She comes off as strong but emotionally cold due to her father disappearing ten years before. It starts with her having her boyfriend Jack over and becomes uncomfortable when he wants to give her a ring and asks her to come meet his family for the weekend. She declines both and he leaves but not before he slips the ring into her pocket.  When she goes after him to return it, sees him being thrown into a van and then is questioned by a white haired man who retrieves the ring from her. She chases him and he jumps into a large mirror in a dark alley.  She falls in the same mirror and is transported to a new world called Wonderland.

Wonderland looks like a futuristically bleak world typically seen in Sci-Fi movies. The special effects are well done for a TV mini-series and even has a Jaberwock that looks just like the one in the book.  The animal characters are mostly human in this version but have the same names as in the book. Some examples of these are the Dodo who is part of a group trying to overthrow the Queen, the Caterpillar a leader in that same group, the White Rabbit who works for the queen and Mad March, a robotic assassin with a rabbit for a head hired by the queen to kill The Hatter. The plot of this version is that the Resistance is trying to overthrow the Queen of Hearts who drains the emotions from people kidnapped from the regular world. She uses their emotions to help run the Queen of Hearts Casino. The ring Alice is given is very important and both groups are after because it controls the portal to Wonderland.

rabbitqueen of heartsalice hatteralice collageThe reason why new versions of Alice are still being created is because the original is so beloved for its imagination and we’ve all grown up on the story. The direction intended for this version is a sci fi adventure with undertones of overcoming emotional traumas and leaving parts of your childhood behind. Due to that it lacked themes of identity and innocence that I thought the novel had. This version also differs because Alice and the Mad Hatter called just Hatter in this one connect romantically. Also most of the dialogue in the novel is found missing and was waiting for Caterpillar to say “Who are you?” to Alice which he did not. He did smoke out of a hookah though while floating in a pool in a canoe. They filmmakers continuously did try to remind viewers of the original such as having the Hatter own a tea shop. Overall this version proves that there will always be interest in the Alice novels, and look forward to a new reimagining.

 

 

 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972)

Theatrical Release Poster 1972

Theatrical Release Poster 1972

I was amazed to discover the plethora of movies made regarding Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that either stuck fairly closely to the original story or incorporated elements of the Alice stories.  In addition to movies, there were also television shows, one of the more interesting ones was a short lived, Canadian courtroom drama entitled This is Wonderland with the lead character named Alice De Reay.  With so many interesting choices, it was difficult to decide where to focus my attention.  I chose to watch and report on the 1972 British musical film Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

This film stayed fairly close to Lewis Carroll’s original story with the major exception of incorporating the scene with Tweedledee and Tweedledum from Through the Looking Glass.  This scene was inserted after Alice’s conversation with the caterpillar and prior to arriving at the Duchess’s house for the pig and pepper scene.  The screenplay omitted some minor elements but, being a musical, expanded on others.  The verses used in the book that made it into the movie where converted to song, for example “Will you Walk a Little Faster, Said a Whiting to a Snail” featuring Mock Turtle, the Gryphon and Alice.

To see the clip, click on this link:  Will You, Won’t You Join the Dance…

Alice (Fiona Fullerton)

Alice (Fiona Fullerton)

In the book, Alice was seven years old; in the film, her age is indeterminate but she appears older.  Fiona Fullerton who was 16 years old when the film was originally released played Alice.  Because of the special effects of Alice shrinking and growing throughout, the only “give away” that she is older is the Lolita-like appearance of her face.

The costume designers did a wonderful job portraying the various Wonderland characters as close as possible to the characters drawn by John Tenniel in the first edition of the novel.  However, as with the book itself, I found the characters to be disturbing in their appearance.

Tweedles

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

The White Rabbit

The White Rabbit

 

 

 

 

 

The Cheshire Cat

The Cheshire Cat

As mentioned earlier in this post, the film was fairly true to the book.  But, this is primarily in relation to the story line.  What was lost in the film was some of the exquisite word play used by Carroll throughout Alice.  None-the-less, the spirit and intent of the fantasy remains and, as a musical the addition to the Mad Hatter’s tea party was one of my favorites.  I think you will enjoy it as well, The Pun Song

Alice in Murderland

The movie that I chose for my adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is Alice in Murderland. When watching Alice in Murderland, it includes more of Alice in Wonderland details versus it being a spinoff of the book. The main character is a young woman, who fits the Alice charter traits. Alice is blonde with blue eyes and a petite body type. The only difference between the two is Alice in the movie is twenty-one and Alice in the book is seven years old.

AIM

In the movie, Alice’s sorority sisters are throwing her a birthday party. Against their better judgment, they decide to throw it at a place called the glass house, which happens to be the same place Alices mother was killed twenty years ago. They also decide to make it an Alice in Wonderland themed party. They include characters such as twiddledee and twiddledum, which are reserved for the typical best friends of the group. Twiddledum, Donna, also happens to be the typical dumb blonde of the group and Twiddledee, Dee who watches over her like an older sister. Then they have Pima who is assigned to dress in a caterpillar outfit. Pima happens to also be the one girl of the group who always brings the drugs to the party. Her drug of choice is shrooms for the party. Similar to the book, the caterpillar tells Alice to eat mushrooms. Then they have a strong willed girl name Cat, who dresses up as the Cheshire Cat because she is sneaky and disappears from the group like the Cheshire Cat in the book. Alices best friend Malory dresses up as the white rabbit but does not have anything in common with the fictional character. The owner of the glass house who happens to be Malory’s uncle, Mr. White, dresses up as the Mad Hatter who also does not have much in common with his imagescharacter either. Then you have Samantha who plays the cook. Then you have Tiffany who dresses up like the red queen or better known as the Queen of Hearts which can fit her domineering personality. They choose not to include a jabberwocky costume maybe because it has no part in the Alice in Wonderland book but that does not stop a jabberwocky appearing and killing most of the girls off anyway.

alice2The girls get dressed up in their outfits at the glass house. Drama starts to breakout but is easily squashed. Alice suggests that we have a tea party such as the one in the book. Drama outbreaks again and the girls decide to split up. Alice, Cat and Malory decide to stay downstairs and have a tea party while the remaining girls go upstairs. Cat disappears and the other girls plot to rig the house with traps. Pima gives Dee some shrooms, which sends her on a bad trip that results her in choking one of the girls. Pima takes her to the bathroom and puts her in the shower hoping that would make her better. Dee then sees a jabberwocky in costume and Pima then turns around and runs. The jabberwocky then kills Dee and runs after Pima. Pima hides but is eventually killed. Meanwhile the girls have no clue and try to trick Malory and Alice leaving Cat alone to her own demise. Donna tries to find Dee but finds her dead. imagesCASB0LI2The Jabberwocky knocks her out and glues her butt to the toilet. The girls split up again trying to find a way out, something to help get Donna off the toilet and a cell phone. Mr. White helps pull Donna off the toilet while the Jabberwocky is about to kill them. Tiffany knocks the Jabberwocky out and it is revealed that Cat was the one in the costume all along. Soon everyone tries to find a way out and Tiffany and Samantha are assigned to watch Cat. During that time it is revealed that Samantha is Cat’s sister and lets Cat go free. They chop Tiffanys head off and go look for the other girls to kill. Samantha finds Alice but Alice ends up bashing her head in.  She finds Cat just about to kill Malory but she stabs her first. Right before Cat dies, she tells Alice that she will always be a killer until she breaths her last death. The end of the movie shows Alice is around her aunt and Malory and starts to laugh creepily after repeating what Cat told her right before her death.

The director, Dennis Devine, may have chosen the direction to draw in a young adult crowd. He may have also wanted the story in a modern day setting but also getting rid of the usual fantasy based premise. Devine turned a simple children’s book into a movie that surrounds drugs, killing and lying but he did include references from the book during the movie. If Alice in Wonderland would have been set in a realistic world then this adaptation would have not been so outlandish.

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a familiar story of a girl named Alice that falls down a rabbit hole and finds herself in a nonsensical fantasy world inhabited by many colorful and peculiar creatures. Ever since the book was published, there have been numerous adaptations made after it, among the most recent being the 2010 Disney film Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton. The Disney film is loosely based on the popular novel as well as its sequel Through the Looking Glass.

2010 Film DVD Cover via Wikipedia

In this postmodern adaptation, a much older, fetching, independent nineteen-year-old Alice, who is troubled by nightmares of ‘Wonderland’ (or as Burton calls it, Underland) returns and embarks on a quest filled with adventure, humor, violence, and even terror. The obvious changes made to the story, combined with the distinct design of Burton, generated a great deal of controversy as critics accused that the version was too significantly untrue to the spirit of the original works. However, while his storyline and stylistic elements diverge from the original tale immensely, Burton addresses many of the same themes as Carroll, although in a different and unique vision/context.

Nevertheless, director Tim Burton makes it clear that this is intentionally a very different sort of Alice from that of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. For example, he primarily focuses on the characters and episodes from Carroll’s darker Through the Looking-Glass rather than the more upbeat Wonderland. Additionally, Burton adds his signature nightmare approach to the film. Rather than staying true to the original text, he uses significant characters borrowed from the Alice books to create an entirely new narrative (or it can be seen as a continuation of the Alice books).

In the film Burton explores the question: What if Alice returned to Wonderland when she was older? As a result, he addresses the struggle of identity, as well as place and meaning in the experience of growing up. The movie’s opening scene takes place at a social garden party, where Alice struggles against the expectations of society. She feels increasingly uncertain about who she is, as she is reshaped according to the wishes of others and is contemplating a marriage proposal to a pretentious, titled young man she does not love.

Alice enters Underland via IMDB

When she must make the decision as to whether she will become engaged to the ridiculous man, she sees the White Rabbit and runs after it. Alice falls down the rabbit hole, in one of the only scenes highly reminiscent of the book, and finds herself not in the bright Wonderland of her dreams, but in the twisted, barren world known as Underland. Thinking she is dreaming, she meets many of the familiar characters such as the Tweedles and the Mad Hatter, who inform her that it has been foretold that an ‘Alice’ will slay the Jabberwocky monster and free Underland from the cruel oppression of the Red Queen. Although initially insisting that she is not “that Alice,” (“You’ve brought us the wrong Alice,” complains the Dormouse; She seems to have lost her “muchness”) she finds herself on a rescue adventure to free the imprisoned Mad Hatter from the Red Queen’s castle, where she slowly becomes convinced that she must in fact be the “right Alice.” Finally, during a conversation with the Blue Caterpillar, named Absalom, Alice realizes that her supposed nightmares are actually memories of a childhood visit to Underland, and that she has returned for the purpose of slaying the Jabberwocky. At the conclusion of the film, a climactic battle scene follows, taking place on a chess board surrounded by the opposing card soldiers of the Red and White Queens (two sisters at odds for the rule of Underland). After slaying the monster and giving the rule of Underland back to the good White Queen, Alice returns to Victorian society a changed woman. She is no longer prepared to accept the life predetermined for her, but sets sail for China to expand her father’s trading company and find new adventures for herself.

The Jabberwocky via IMDB

In Tim Burton’s 2010 adaptation, he attempts to offer a darker interpretation, where the riddles, rhymes, and childlike nonsense of Wonderland no longer exist. As such, Burton creates a the desolate and depressing world of Underland, highlighting only the negative undertones of the original stories. Burton’s inclusion of a great mission for Alice is completely absent from the books, and serves to construct a more cohesive narrative with a more clearly defined plot. Moreover, the Jabberwocky itself is only mentioned briefly in a poem in Through the Looking-Glass, while the presence of the Jabberwocky is central to the conflict and progression of the film. As a result, Burton establishes a clear struggle between good and evil that, while it helps the adult Alice mature into the strong young woman, seems disconnected from the nonsensical spirit of the novels. Related to this, Burton’s choice to heighten the evil in Underland deprives the story of its original innocence, creating a more adult world in which pain and suffering are fully acknowledged. Consequently, there appears to be an inverse relationship between Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland due to the overwhelming differences: the more you like the Alice books, the more you’re probably going to dislike Burton’s film adaptation.

Walt Disney’s Retelling of “Alice In Wonderland”

DVD Cover - IMDb

DVD Cover – IMDb

According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) Walt Disney released Alice in Wonderland in 1952. As with most Disney movies, this film featured many catchy jingles for many scenes throughout. After reading and watching the movie for the first time I unquestionably noticed a handful of similarities and differences.

The film by Disney is a combination of Lewis Carroll’s “The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass”. Disney’s retelling introduces us to Alice she listens to her history lesson while playing with her cat, Darna, while in the book she is sitting next to her sister reading a book. Since this is a children’s movie, it’s possible that Disney incorporated the subject of History in an educative manner to interest their children viewers in history. Children often look up at Disney princesses and characters as role models. Perhaps introducing the subject of History would spark interest in children to be like Alice and take interest in History. In the film, Alice follows a white rabbit and falls through a rabbit hole. In the movie Alice lands directly in the hall of the doors. In the Lewis Carroll’s original book, Alice has to follow the rabbit in order to get to the miniature door. In the film, as typical for Disney (giving life to inanimate objects) the miniature door speaks to Alice telling her to take a potion to change in size from a table that magically appears. However, in the text “Alice in Wonderland”, the table is already in the scene and the potion has instructions for her to drink it. Accurate however, was the scene of the pool of tears.

A major difference I spotted in the film was the appearance of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, characters that appear in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. Most significant was Tweedle Dee’s and Tweedle Dum’s recitation of “You are old, Father William”, which Alice recites in the book to the Caterpillar. Their characters however were very well illustrated in the film as they were in the original text – obnoxious and annoying. The character of the Queen was also exact as the book, with the Queen screaming “off with his head” to resolve all issues.

In Disney’s movie, the Caterpillar (as in the text) sits on a large mushroom smoking hookah. In the film the Caterpillar transforms to a butterfly where in the book the Caterpillar did not transform; it was only insinuated as Alice only talked about how the Caterpillar would one day transform into a butterfly.One of my favorite scenes from both the film and the book was of the Mad Hatter’s tea party. In the film, the white rabbit appears with the recurring motif of the watch complaining about lateness and tardiness. The Mad Hatter takes it from the white rabbit and says that it’s defective. In an attempt to fix it he begins to smother it with jelly, tea, sugar and other items from their tea party. In Carroll’s original book, the Hatter takes out his watch and asks what time it is, the white rapper makes no appearance in this scene. After she leaves the tea party Alice gets lost in the woods and meets very odd creatures, another very Disney styled animation.One of the scenes I found to be exact as the book was of the cards painting the roses red. In the movie, the cards sing a jingle that tells why they’re painting the roses red – as is explained in the book. Alice chimes in, sings along and helps them.

As the movie came to an end, Alice was chased by all of the creatures until she reached the miniature door again. She peeped through the keyhole and saw herself asleep beside a tree. Disney illustrated Alice escaping wonderland waking up to reality and going in to drink tea as instructed by, who from the book we assume is her sister. The book also ends with Alice waking up from a dream, however in the book she wakes up to her sister instructing her to go in for some tea.

A few pieces from Carroll’s original book I found were completely omitted from the Disney movie were: the concept of the chess game, the scene of the queen and the pig, the Mock Turtle, the dormouse story from the tea party, the Gryphon, the Jabberwocky, and the Lobster Quadrille. I feel that these are scenes that Disney did not incorporate in their retelling because they were scenes that perhaps children would have trouble understanding.

Disney movies, especially the retelling of “Alice in Wonderland”, are marketed and geared towards the children audience. Their films feed to the child mind, and this retelling of Alice’s curious and imaginative world explored just that. It allowed for the child mind to explore and engage in Alice’s endless possibilities.

Hello Alice

Kitty/ Alice's motivation to find the rabbit is to return his lost items to him.

Kitty/ Alice’s motivation to find the rabbit is to return his lost items to him.

 

Alice talking to the caterpillar

Alice talking to the caterpillar

The Hello Kitty Alice in Wonderland was very interesting; it included many of the famous episodes from the book, including the pool of tears, the caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and others. Hello Kitty is known for her cutesy animation and innocent behavior, and her adventure in Wonderland is no different. How the other characters are portrayed is slightly different, however.

When Alice meets the caterpillar, for example, she and him do not recite a poem, instead she just asks him for help. He does not smoke either, or carry himself in a haughty manner. Instead, he immediately offers her the mushroom that adjusts her height.

The episode I found to be the most interesting was the Cheshire Cat. His animation was incredibly unique compared to the rest of the episode. He was drawn in a more kooky way. In a way it was funny how different he was drawn compared to Alice, even though they are the same species. That could just be how the animators wanted to represent that Alice is from the “real” world.

Why Alice follows the rabbit down the hole is different from why she follows him in the story. In this adaptation, she does it because he has misplaced his gloves. This is a minor detail in the book, but a major part of the plot in the adaptation. In fact, it is so major that it is the last frame of the film with a close up of the gloves.  He also loses a fan.

I think the reason Sanrio (the company that owns Hello Kitty) choose to adapt Alice in Wonderland is because children enjoy the events in the book. Children also enjoy cute things. Cute makes things more approachable;  the story of Alice, which can be scary in some points, is made more approachable by making everything sweet and friendly. Hello Kitty is known for being friendly, and her name even begins with a friendly greeting of Hello.

Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6tllkG8flk

 

Malice in Wonderland

The moment I discovered Malice in Wonderland, I knew it was love at first sight for me. As an edgier and much darker adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved novel, this movie presents Wonderland in a whole new vision.

via wikipedia

movie cover via wikipedia

 

As the movie begins, we are introduced to Alice, played by Maggie Grace, who is running away from two men. She happens to run into the middle of the street and gets hit by a black cab. The cab, driven by none other than Whitey, knocks her into a hazy state of mind. Whitey, who can be perceived as The White Rabbit, is late for an engagement. He’s been trying to pick up a gift for Harry Hunt, the mob king. Throughout the entire movie, we see Whitey accompany Alice on her adventures and sometimes we see love sparks between the two far stretched characters.

screenshot

Whitey and Alice via screenshot

Whitey than proceeds to pick Alice up and drag her into his cab, but he turns around to an older couple calling the police. The entire scene looks likes a kidnapping. When Alice wake up, she finds herself far from London and mistakably in Wonderland, where staying true to Carroll’s novel, she meets all the well-known characters with a dark twist to their personalities.

As the movie continues on Alice meets Gonzo. In Carroll’s novel, he is the Dodo, but in the movie he is a low-life thief, deceiving his way up on crime food chain. A conversation is conducted between Alice and Gonzo, only long enough until Whitey comes to rescue her. As he whisks her away to safety, she makes the decision to have Whitey drop her off at the nearest bus stop so she can make her way back to London. Then we meet Felix Chester, a radio DJ, who sort of keeps Alice company as she waits. While Whitey continues his mission to find the perfect gift, time rolls on, and a silver, bedazzled town car pulls up next to Alice. It is the Caterpillar driving with his prostitute in the backseat.

A crazy twist for the Caterpillar is that instead of hookah, he’s smoking marijuana. This part, I found very interesting because the effect for the questionable drug makes the conversation between the three characters into a rhyme scheme. When the prostitute would say something, Alice’s response would have an end rhyme.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 12.41.41 PM

Harry Hunt, mob king  via screenshot

The Caterpillar drops Alice somewhere and she ends up meeting Hattie, the madam to a mobile brothel. Hattie is just as loony as the Mad Hatter himself. She gives Alice a makeover as she’s sleeping and then forces Alice into a session with a dirty man. Alice manages to steal the entire mobile brothel, drives away and is saved, yet again, by Whitey. Together they go through a small debacle and Alice finds herself face-to-face with Harry, the mob king himself. He is Carroll’s Queen of Hearts. Hattie comes back and asks for justice because Alice stole her prostitutes. Felix Chester gives her a window of opportunity and she gets away.

I don’t want to give too much of the movie away because I highly recommend it. While the characters, as dark as they are, stay true to Carroll’s intentions, there are elements of the novel found throughout the movie as well. It just took me three times to watch it to really find them. For example, there is a mentioning of Father William and most the dialogue and setting reflects the vagueness of the novel. Overall, the movie was the most creative adaptation of Alice in Wonderland that I have seen.

The Muppets’ Alice in Wonderland

Alice falling – screenshot from The Muppets’ Alice in Wonderland

The Muppets’ Alice in Wonderland episode was originally presented through “The Muppet Show”. It retains this aspect of performance mixed with real life, for instance, the guest actress actually grows too large for the dressing room, and the trial is almost canceled.

The White Rabbit runs throughout both the action and the show commentary – for instance, he asks where the hole is while Kermit is presenting the scene. The show is filled with puns. For instance, when the White Rabbit enters and sees Alice for the first time, he says that he is looking for a hole. Alice asks, “A whole what?” “I hate smart-Alices”, he responds. The play on words, reminiscent of Carroll’s writing, is much of the humor throughout the episode. The scenes included are the falling scene (complete with a song), the caterpillar scene, Humpty Dumpty, the Jabberwocky (with a recitation of the poem!), the trial scene and the mad tea party.

Shields grows too big for the dressing room. – Screenshot

When Brooke Shields, the guest star, grows too big from the mushrooms, the original order of the scenes is altered – the falling and caterpillar scenes appear in order, but the mad tea party is pushed to the very end. This intersection of “real life” and the storyline creates a whimsical retelling that in many ways, effectively portrays the chaos as Alice enters and explores Wonderland. Not all of the scenes happen in the order that they occurred in the book because of effects that occurred from other parts of the story, so at the least, this cause-and-effect sequence seems fitting for Carroll’s story because of the chaos contained there. The scenes are even presented with little or no context to further this confusion. For instance “the trial scene” is announced without any preface of who is going on trial and why.

Scooter says at one point that “I tell you. This is the weirdest thing we’ve ever done on this show”. This seems to be the entire point of the show – to highlight the weirdness without giving a cohesive retelling of the story. If the goal here is humor, however, the show has certainly obtained it – the entire episode is very funny. However, it seems to require a previous knowledge of Alice in Wonderland to appreciate some of the changes made to the actual scenes. For instance, the Doormouse has become the Door-chicken, which changes the characterization here in a humorous way, but only if you knew that the Doormouse was supposed to be sleepy all the time.

I think the creation of this episode allows the creators to mix Alice in Wonderland with The Muppets, since the show is equally about the personalities of the Muppets as well as Alice’s story. The result is that the viewer doesn’t necessarily learn about Alice in Wonderland or watch an accurate retelling, but they are able to engage with the chaos if they are at all familiar with The Muppets or themes from Alice.

Guest star Brooke Shields in the Mad Tea Party Scene – from The Muppet Wiki

It shows us other ways in which the stories can be told, and gives the viewer a good idea of how cause-and-effect-related the different scenes/episodes are in the book.
Overall, this suggests that Alice in Wonderland is perceived as something that is difficult and not quite easy to grasp. The chaos of this structure and the scenes highlighted, shows that while some scenes are quite famous (the mad tea party, for instance), other plot points are not as clear.

 

Voyant tool to analyze Advice from A Caterpillar

Alice in Wonderland Voyant tool Blog Response

The section that I chose to focus on is “Advice from A Caterpillar” from Alice’s Adventures in      Wonderland. I chose that section because I feel like it has a strong theme of identity so I was   curious to see if the word cloud would show signs of this.  This was the first time I’ve ever used           Word Cloud so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I also know that I’ve seen a word cloud before but    did not pay much attention to it. At first it did not seem very complicated to use, all you have to                 do to initially get started is to cut and paste then hit reveal.  At first the word cloud contained a                 lot of what is referred to in elementary schools as sight words such as it, and the word and but        after I used a tool that cut them out it made it slightly more focused.

I supposed the use of this is to give someone who’s never read the chapter a slight glimpse of what it may be about.  I do realize that our main purpose as students is to use this tool to help analyze the text deeper though I am not sure if I am completely sold on it.  Although I realize that I have not spent much time experimenting with it in that regard so I can’t confirm that it isn’t useful.  Artistically I do like the way it looks and if I was able to post pictures with a paper I wrote or used it for a power point presentation then I could see how it could provide use aesthetically at least.

The other tool I experimented with is the tool that tells the frequency of words.  For some reason it already had the word “it” in it’s bank and showed that “it” was very frequently used so that proved to be nor surprise. I put other words such as “afraid”, “think”, “voice” and “understand” because those words are ones that that seemed to come to mind after reading the chapter. The word think had a higher frequency rate then the other words I put in.  Perhaps if I was my research paper contained a section on the use of a certain than this tool could be of greater use.  Personally I think if I was better trained on the word cloud tool then I would be able to be much more successful using it. However I am still open to experiment with it and would like to see if I could discover more use out of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Word Cloud to Illustrate Alice in Wonderland’s: Advice from a Caterpillar

The fifth chapter of Alice in Wonderland, Advice from a Caterpillar, introduces Alice to a wise insect. Alice comes upon a mushroom and sitting on it is a caterpillar smoking hookah. The caterpillar questions Alice and she confesses her current identity crisis, compounded by her inability to remember a poem. In an attempt to analyze this passage by using a digital humanities method, I created a word cloud using a tool provided by Voyant. The world cloud generated a visual analysis of this passage. The words in the original text are strategically prepared and weighted according to the number of occurrences in the text.

wcl

At a glance, the word that is graphically represented as the largest and consequently appears most in the text is the word “the”. The word that is graphically represented as the smallest and thus appears the least in the text is the word “replied”. These two words although not extremely significant key words to this passage like William, Alice or caterpillar, are important to the analysis of this passage. Lewis Carroll, author of the popular novel, makes excessive use of the word “the” when speaking of the caterpillar. The caterpillar does not have a name; as a result Carroll cannot address him as caterpillar but as the caterpillar. The word replied is least used because Carroll uses dialogue when illustrating a conversation versus a he said, she said, he replied, or she replied approach.

In an attempt to filter out words that I felt were less important or significant I used Voyant’s Taporware tool to adjust my word cloud to themes and words I thought were more noteworthy. As a result, a second word cloud was generated.

wcl3

After filtering out a few words, I think the second word cloud is a better representation of the advice from a caterpillar passage. This word cloud allows the reader to focus their attention on the larger words illustrated: Alice, Caterpillar and youth allowing for an enhanced illustration of the themes and key words of this passage. In this customized word cloud the word “caterpillar” is the largest, occurring 24 times in the text. Coming in second place, the name “Alice” appears 22 times.

Upon analyzing the word cloud and exploring other tools on Voyant I discovered that the word trend graph best illustrates the exchange in conversation regarding the advice the caterpillar is instilling upon Alice.

word grapgh

While the word trend graph allows to clearly see the exchange in conversation, the word cloud allows us to visually analyze themes and key words.  The word “caterpillar”,  suggests a theme of evolution or transformation. This is particularly evident for Alice because it exemplifies Alice’s quest to find herself taking on advice from the caterpillar.Words such as “youth”, “minute”, “life”, “youth”, “old”, and “beginning” suggest a theme of a self-journey to find one’s self. Words like “inches”, “mushroom”, “height”, “little”, “grow”, and “size” illustrate the caterpillars instructions for Alice to eat in certain ways to grow or shrink in any given situation. The words “father” and “William” appear fairly small suggesting that they are not words that are often repeated in the text. While this is a true statement, these two words encompass a deeper meaning to the chapter being analyzed. By simply seeing these two words on the cloud it is not evident that in this passage the poem “Father William” is used as a tool to trigger Alice’s memory.

After experimenting with a word cloud as a method of analysis it is not until after the word cloud has been customized to our own liking that it will make sense to us. From the first word cloud created it wasn’t clear what the centralized theme of the passage was. It wasn’t until I filtered out a few words that the theme and key words were more apparent. However, the word cloud does not necessarily provide a close reading of the passage. It allows only for a visual to be explored for further analysis. Thus, in any case I don’t think it’s an accurate means to analyze a story by its word cloud.