Alice in Wonderland is the story of a young girl's journey into a dream world created by her imagination. Wonderland is a world that reflects life using games, and Alice must learn the rules to these games to find her way home. Every new game Alice encounters in Wonderland has new rules she must learn to move forward in her travels. Every challenge Alice passes is a metaphor for challenges in real life. Alice must learn the way society in Wonderland functions, she must learn the games and rules of society, and she must learn the laws and authority figures in Wonderland.
The first thing Alice must learn in this new world are the consequences and benefits to doing normally everyday activities. Alice quickly learns that anything she eats or drinks in Wonderland has an affect on her size. The entrance door to the queen's garden is only a few inches high, and Alice must change her size by eating and drinking items she finds in the room.
"Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole; she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head through the door" (Carroll 4) As in real life, changes in character are sometimes needed to move forward. In life, people change their appearance as they grow up to fit what society feels they should look like. Alice's trip through the door is a metaphor for changing as you grow older and go farther in life. In life, one must learn consequences to actions they take in society. Alice eating something she finds reflects a person taking a risk that they probably shouldn't, and it has an affect on them.
"It was all very well to say "Drink me," but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. "No, I'll look first," she said, "and see if it's marked 'poison' or not." (Carroll 5) Many things could happen, so they should know the affects beforehand. Alice drank from the bottle, taking a risk by not knowing what would happen, whether the results would be good or bad.
"And so it was indeed, she was now only 10 inches high, and she was now the right size to fit through the door.
first, however, she waited a few minutes to see if she would shrink more and go out altogether." (Carroll 6) When Alice is in Wonderland, she discovers the strange characters and strange environments she is a part of. She ventures into a caucus race with some of the local birds, who insist she should participate, where she must learn the rules of the society.
"What is a caucus race?" said Alice; not that she much wanted to know, but the dodo paused as if it thought somebody should speak" (Carroll 17) Alice felt outcast from the game because she did not know how to play and did not understand the nature of the game. In life, people can be singled out or do not know the "rules", which is basically a metaphor for prejudice in life. Alice was different and felt she did not fit in among the birds, just as many people are today due to the issue of racism. "Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so grave she did not dare to laugh." (Carroll 18) When a person is outcast in society they find people like themselves to socialize with. Alice goes through the same thing, when she is outcast from the dodo's game, she decides to find more "normal" people to find help from. She discovers that everything is different to a stranger and she attempts to fit in, as one would in society.
A third major lesson one must learn in life is to respect authority or there are consequences that must be dealt with. The head of authority in Wonderland is the Queen of Hearts, who most everyone fears.
"I see!" said the queen, who had meanwhile been examining the roses. "Off with their heads!" and the procession moved on, three of the soldiers remaining behind to execute the unfortunate gardeners." (Carroll 61) Alice must play a game of croquet with the queen and learn to obey her twisted rules or face the consequences. "Off with her head!" In life, a person must obey authority (teachers, parents, police, etc.) or there are consequences like in Alice's situation. Alice ends up going to a court of law which is described as a court would be in real life. The court was run the same way a normal court is ran, except of course for the strange characters. The court room is an example of the authority Alice must obey to be a part of the society. Wonderland has laws, just as real life, but instead of police enforcing them the queen makes the laws and enforces them by the threat of chopping off a person's head.
Wonderland, although it is a world invented by a young girl's mind, reflects society through a twisted mirror. There are consequences to actions, whether good or bad, the society follows rules, just as our society does and there is authority enforcing laws and rules. Everything that occurs in Alice's adventures is a metaphor for challenges one must conquer throughout life.