t while Alice’s circumstances share commonalities with these other heroines – she finds herself in an unfamiliar place full of strange people – her experiences are entirely different. Unlike Dorothy, Susan, Lucy or Wendy, Alice has no purpose to guide and direct her wanderings through Wonderland. Even more significantly, Alice has nothing to offer the strange country she temporarily inhabits; nor does she change and grow emotionally as a result of her time in Wonderland. And though some feminist critics like Nina Auerbach have argued that Alice is a subversive feminist heroine, in fact, Carroll’s youthful protagonist seems to be nothing more or less than an ordinary Victorian girl – and rather than limiting the possibilities of the narrative, this realization expands them, allowing us to understand Alice as a creature of her own era, so that she – more than the Wonderland she traverses – becomes the vehicle of Carroll’s Victorian satire.
In this paper, I will argue that Carroll’s Alice deconstructs the Victorian notions of femininity and female coming of age in several ways. First, rather than being a sweet and charming female heroine, Alice is bossy, pretentious and often downright unlikable – isolated by her manners and her education from creatures who might have been her friends. Second, that Alice’s behavior toward the Wonderland creatures is a reflection of how Alice herself is treated in her own “real” life, revealing problematic dynamics between children and adults in Victorian culture. And finally, I will show that Alice’s adventures in Wonderland have merit and meaning only when they are reconstructed — through the Carroll/Narrator, through Alice’s sister and finally through Alice herself — to “interpret” a hodgepodge of facts and experiences into a memory of happy childhood. In fact, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland can be read as a satire of a Victorian girl’s education into the rites of womanhood, a satire that