The epic hero I chose to research is Alice, who is found in the 1865 novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This novel was written by English author Charles Lutwig Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland tells the story of a young girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar creatures, such as the White Rabbit, a blue caterpillar, the grinning Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter. This fantastic tale plays with logic, and is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre.
The Call to Adventure
Alice is sitting on a riverbank, extremely bored, when she notices a strange White Rabbit with a pocket watch hurrying by. She quickly becomes compelled to follow the rabbit into the rabbit hole. Alice feels that she must find the reason as to why he is in such a hurry. Alice feels that her current surroundings are quite dull, therefore following the White Rabbit appeals to her as an adventure.
Crossing the Treshold
Our epic hero, Alice, enters the portal which transports her from her old surroundings to new, unfamiliar surroundings. Alice discovers a secondary, supernatural world that should normally be barred to humans. The rabbit hole represents the threshold, and Alice crosses this when she makes the conscious decision to follow the White Rabbit.
Entering the Wilderness
Alice, no longer having the safety and comfort of “home”, must undergo many ordeals and trials. Upon falling down the rabbit hole, Alice discovers a hallway filled with locked doors of various sizes. She finds a small key that will unlock a certain door. However, this door is much too small for her to fit through. She then discovers a bottle on a table labeled “DRINK ME”, and a cake labeled “EAT ME”. When Alice drinks the bottle, she shrinks too small to reach the key she left on the table. When Alice eats the cake, she grows extremely tall, and hits her head on the ceiling. Instances such as this occur many times in the story. Alice has to continually eat or drink certain things to achieve an appropriate height for completing certain tasks. At one point, Alice becomes so upset that she floods the hallway with her own tears. These ordeals test Alice’s wit and her ability to solve problems in a rational manner.
Assistance from Mythical Beings and Companions
In Chapter 5, Alice stumbles upon a blue caterpillar smoking a hookah. This caterpillar gives her advice. Before crawling away, the caterpillar tells Alice that one side of the mushroom will make her taller and the other side will make her shorter. One side makes her shrink very small. The other side of the mushroom causes her, once again, to grow enormously large. Alice then uses the mushroom to reach a more appropriate height.
The Journey Home
Alice returns home from her journey, feeling victorious and brave after her incident with the Queen of Hearts. The Queen shouts at Alice, “Off with her head!” but Alice felt unafraid, as she had already conquered this secondary universe. Suddenly, Alice’s sister wakes her up for tea, and Alice leaves her sister on the bank to imagine all the curious happenings for herself. So did the adventure really happen at all? Regardless, Alice is an epic hero for embarking on a journey to Wonderland and conquering the new world in the process.