Don’t is Vulgar

Pre: PS: This is my ‘official’ post for class. I saw Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland this past weekend so I’ll be writing about that after this.

I have to reiterate how pleasing it is to be reading a book that allows me to constantly find something new to write about. It seems like this story is open to so many various interpretations and that each of them seem to have at least some merit. For example the idea of Alice in Wonderland being a drug ladled story. That pretty much does not seem to be the actual case. However I can see where we can draw those parallels now, especially after the 60’s and 70’s. This land is filled with mushrooms that make you grow and shrink. I mean the phrase “Let’s get small” seems to fit well enough as a drug reference.

So more to the point of the assignment, Auerbach brought up some interesting points, some of which I’ve just started to think about. In one of my other classes I just finished reading some Freud and it suddenly clicked on the whole idea of oral fixation that occurs throughout the novel. Personally I don’t like how people want to psychoanalyze everything, mainly because it seems to easy. However there defiantly is something to the constant oral references. I felt like Dreamchild may have intentionally or unintentionally picked up on that to a bit. The puppets themselves were one such place where the idea of an oral fixation came to place, mostly if I’m remembering the film correctly. Apart from the fact that I remember their being quite a bit of focus on the puppets whenever they occurred, the shots focused mostly on their faces and were very tight shots. Again part of this is due to the fact that they are indeed puppets and lack much else to show, but their always was an emphasis on the puppets mouths when they spoke.

Nothing much really, but going off some of the other ideas that Auebrach mentions such as the fixation with food, also crops up in the film. There seem to be quite a few scenes where food is an issue. Whether it’s in the non-Wonderland dreams where they are out picnicking or going for a picnic or back in New York where they make a big deal about the eating at the dinner to the fact that Americans make wretched tea.

Both have only a small part in the article and Auerbrach dismisses the psychoanalysis with the oral fixation and I have to agree mostly, however it’s interesting that there seems to be some merit and I guess I wonder whether it has something more to do with our culture and what we choose to fixate on rather than what Carroll necessarily chose to put in his book. In film at least there seem to be plenty of ways where the mouth is heavily involved. Close ups of someone’s lips speaking are used quite often and in different ways. Smoking is another lovely example. Food even comes up at times and the bigger one to me is kissing. Since so many films seem to have some form of sex (and this includes torture porn as seen in many horror films) kissing is something that happens rather routinely and is always emphasized with a close up and a shot that lingers on that moment.


Posted on April 30, 2011, in Old Nic At The Movies Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I guess I wonder whether it has something more to do with our culture and what we choose to fixate on rather than what Carroll necessarily chose to put in his book.
    An interesting point. I do think a lot of this oral fixation comes from our current culture and not Carroll’s Victorian times. Especially considering how private they were then about sex – I can’t imagine Carroll would have focused on Alice’s mouth the way Auerbach pointed out as a way to make readers think about oral fixation, sex, etc. I agree that sometimes psycho analysis seems too easy. Sometimes a story is just a story.

  2. I think your early point about the appropriation of Alice by 1960’s and 1970’s drug culture is a really interesting one. We talked in class about the references to altered states that could be read as parallels to drugged states. I want to talk about another appropriation of the Alice story by drug culture: the memoir/diary Go Ask Alice. This book may have been titled more in direct reference to the Jefferson Airplane song, butit has obvious parallels to the novel as well. The book follows Alice’s spiral downwards into the world of drugs, sex and rock and roll. This fall from grace has ties to the references to corrupted innocence in AW. In GOA, the main character dies at the end and her death is framed as a consequence of bad behavior, of giving in to temptation. I think there is an interesting relationship between the moral posed in each of these texts.

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