It seems we have another case of Alice in Wonderland popping up in modern culture. Who's seen the Matrix? If you have, you just got it.
In the movie The Matrix, we follow a stoic, monotonous Neo through his journey of bullet-dodging and ass-kicking. And where does it all start but with a reference to Charles Lutwidge Dodgson himself. In the very beginning of the movie, when we first meet Neo, he is prompted by his computer screen to
And when he gets a knock on the door he half-reluctantly does as he's told.
Then a bunch of stuff happens, and eventually he's confronted with a choice: take the blue pill, or take the red pill. One will put him back exactly where he was with no recollection of any of the preceding events, and the other will allow him to become enlightened to the evil plan of the Machines and fight to demolish The Matrix (see, Wonderland) and take back the earth for humans. In a big intellectual metaphor, one makes him bigger, and one makes him smaller.
I love The Matrix and this honestly didn't dawn on me until class today. Now I can never watch it the same way again-- we'll have to see whether that's good or bad. But for now, can anyone else draw any connections between characters and events in the film The Matrix and its much tamer predecessor Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? Who would Trinity be? Morpheus? Smith? Perhaps, instead of looking at A Christmas Carol, we should discuss The Matrix... all three of them. Who knows? Maybe The Matrix: Reloaded is really just Through the Looking Glass with guns and kung-fu.
For a three-minute familiarization, look here:
You've hit on something important about the appeal of the Alice books, Kyle. At the same time that the books connect, celebrate, and romanticize wonder, imagination, nonsense, and dreams — uniting all of them under the banner of childhood innocence — they express a very adult uncertainty and even anxiety about the significance of dreams for our understanding of "the real." The most Matrix-like moment in all of Alice's adventures is the one when Tweedledee suggests to Alice that she is "only a sort of thing in [the Red King's] dream." What if everything that we take to be real is simply a sort of projection emanating either from another human or human-like mind or — possibly worse — a machine? As Gardner's notes to The Annotated Alice make clear, Carroll was well aware of the philosophical heritage of this anxiety, from Plato's allegory of the cave to the more recent examples of George Berkeley and René Descartes. Another of Alice's conversations that ought to make an attentive reader anxious is the one with the Cheshire Cat. I've blogged a bit about some of the issues that these conversations raise here. An interesting feature of the dream-reality quandary as raised by the Red King's sleep — again pointed out by Gardner — is that the individual who is purportedly dreaming Alice is a figure in her dream, a recursive situation that sets up an infinite regression of dreaming. Geneseo student ~goc1 created a wonderful pictorial representation of this regression as part of her optional project for Engl 170 in Fall 2011. All of this should also remind us of Atheeqa's post earlier this semester about Poe's poem "A Dream Within a Dream."