Last weekend I found time to watch the Hollywood film Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. I loved it, of course. Well, who couldn’t love a Tim Burton film? I thought it was wonderfully dark and dramatic, a faithful retelling of a classic children’s story, but still contemporary enough to catch the attention of a modern audience.
As I watched the film I began to realise a few things. Firstly, how interesting to see that there are so many popular classic novels that are considered to be written for children and yet are enjoyed by adults. I am thinking books such as Alice in Wonderland, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the more recent popular Harry Potter series. All of these stories are full of fantasy and make believe. That is why they are traditionally associated with a children’s audience.
I was intrigued by the theme in Alice in Wonderland. It has been many years since I read the book, and I am thinking I need to return to it. The story began with a little girl and her enterprising entrepreneur father. He was instrumental in developing international trade business at the turn of the Industrial Revolution, and he forged ahead with his ideas and plans despite being considered a dreamer by his colleagues and business partners. We can all see the evidence of his (albeit fictional) endeavours in the 21st Century world.
In Alice in Wonderland, the girl was faced with challenges at the tender age of nineteen. She was expected to marry a young Lord, simply to give herself and her widowed mother a secure domestic life. She was expected to say yes to a surprise engagement request in a very public setting, where she stuck out like a sore thumb. And she was expected to conform because the adults in her life knew what was best and would continue to rule and dominate her actions if she allowed it.
I was very happy to see Alice completing her rite of passage as she traversed the upside-down world into which she fell. I liked that she still fulfilled the decree of the oracle, despite taking charge and making her own decisions along the way. I was also very pleased when the film concluded with her becoming an apprentice at her father’s former business, and she embarked on an ocean voyage to explore new trade and forge new relationships.
What struck me is that all of the most enterprising people we know of have been considered crazy or dreamers at some point. It didn’t matter. They simply went ahead with their ideas, made them a reality, and reaped the rewards. For me, life is not much fun if you can’t live for yourself. You have to take some risks, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem. Yes, you may upset people that are close to you. Ultimately they will admire you for your strength of mind and your determination. My motto is ‘never give up.’ And once again, I can relate my experiences and ideals to my favourite stories and books!