Carroll Vs. Juster A Literary Comparison

2565 words - 11 pages

Patrick TaylorEarly Childhood LiteratureArmstrongCarroll Vs. Juster: A Literary ComparisonAnyone who has read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is immediately brought back to their childhood, or a whatever childlike enthrallment they were under when reading it. The sheer abundance of fantastical imagery, and the seemingly ceaseless use of play-on-words cannot help but appeal to that unhindered bliss of kid consciousness, where the possibilities can be endless and aimless, and all that matters is perspective. The same feeling comes back to the reader in Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollboth, depositing the relatable main character in a world apparently constructed of complete imagination. ...view middle of the document...

His use of language was typical for his time, though early critics regarded his storytelling as haphazard and difficult to grasp.Norton Juster wasn't quite as much a character as he was a skilled creator. The Phantom Tollbooth was published in 1961 while its author was an Architect and Design Professor at Hampshire College. We can assume that Juster was influenced by Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland, as it was the most highly regarded fantasy novel of his time. In 1960's US, in a time of huge cultural progression, he set out to make a book that had the same sort of appeal as Carroll's novel, with a premise and themes that would appeal to a generation discontent with the victorian language that composed many of the classics. Juster Utilized Carroll's already popularized model of a broken kingdom to deal with modern themes, such as academic laziness and boredom, issues of import to the youth of the '60s.While both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Phantom Tollbooth posit their characters in seemingly nonsensical worlds, there are numerous differences lying in the context by which these worlds exist and occur. Alice stumbles into wonderland, while Milo drives right in to his land of imagination. This difference in the two main characters has a lot to say about the overall themes of the two novels, and shows the cultural differences of the intended readership as well!Taking a big lens, Milo and Alice don't seem terribly different from one another. Alice, a young girl in what seems to be Victorian England, is curious and eager to discover. Her own established ideas of how the world works and how people ought to be are paired with a strong sense of confidence and personal identity. Milo, a young american student, seeks a new feeling of excitement, in his current state of boredom and malaise towards his schoolwork and home life. He's a capable boy, but fails to gain any sort of excitement or adventure from his toys or school assignments. Both of these characters have the desire to grow, expressed through the subtle details of their settings and personalities. It seems that this is a necessary quality for all fantasy characters to have: this desire to learn and grow, whether through exploration of their surroundings, or observation of relationships to other characters, both of which are exhibited through both stories. I think that this is a quality that all people can relate to, and that children will especially enjoy these characters based on their unique personalities. While Milo and Alice have these similarities, the important differences in their characters really begin to shine through their interactions with the worlds they're in, and the characters they meet.In these two novels it seems that the world's themselves are as much characters as Alice and Milo themselves. In stark contrast to Alice's confident, level-headed, and polite personality, Wonderland presents a version of her own world turned on its head. Not only is the systematica...


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