“Curiouser and curiouser!”-Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Good stories are so captivating, and they can take you to brand new worlds full of wonder and mystery. And when the protagonists themselves are taken into a completely different universe, the experience is all the more fun for the readers as well!
Hundreds of books take un this same journey, but there are three particular stories I would like to talk about: Coraline, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. All three of these began as books and were adapted into unforgettable films!
New world, new girl
One of the many things that these classic stories have in common is that they each revolve around a young female protagonist who stumbles into a strange universe that changes her whole outlook.
Coraline from Coraline desperately wishes to get away from her boring life and her workaholic parents, Alice from Alice in Wonderland is sick of her dull reality where everything is meant to be proper and too bland, and she longs for a world where things don’t have to make sense, and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz wants to escape the troubles of her home and cruel, wealthy neighbor.
Little do these young ladies know that the only real threat is in fact these new worlds they so desperately desired.
Coraline discovers a small door in her new home and discovers a world where a motherly woman gives her all the things she is starved for, and attempts to lure her into her trap so she can keep here in this world forever.
Alice falls down a rabbit hole after attempting to catch a white rabbit in a waistcoat. The rabbit hole leads to a place called Wonderland, where Alice grows frustrated by treats that cause her to shrink and grow, animals who tell her a load of nonsense, a sarcastic caterpillar, an antsy rabbit, a disappearing, mischievous cat, and a spoiled, evil queen.
Dorothy and her home are sucked into a tornado that carries her away to a land called Oz. Here, Dorothy is greeted by a good witch, Glinda, threatened by the Wicked Witch of the West, and she acquires a pair of red shoes that the Wicked Witch is so desperate to get her hands on. Dorothy and her new friends, a brainless scarecrow, a heartless tinman, and a cowardly lion, travel together down the yellow brick road to find their only hope, the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.
After fighting to escape these newly found worlds, each young lady returns home with a valuable lesson. Coraline learns to appreciate the family that she already has, and to be careful what she wishes for. Dorothy learns that the safest place there is, is home. And Alice learns that living in a world full of nonsense is truly not as fun as she had hoped, and that an orderly life is much safer.
With a little help from her friends
Not only do the girls discover new places, but they manage to make new friends along the way.
During her time in the Other Mother’s realm, Coraline meets a new version of a boy back home, Wybie, or as she calls him, the Other Wybie. This particular character is a very sweet person, as he literally gives his life to help Coraline escape the Other Mother. Before his demise, Wybie had been muted by the Other Mother, as she knew Coraline was extremely annoyed by the Wybie back home. When Wybie shows his sadness for Coraline’s dilemma by frowning, the Other Mother forces a painful smile upon his face by sewing his mouth into a permanent, strained smile. In the end, the Other Mother kills Wybie after he helped Coraline return to her own world. You can definitely say that this poor character suffered the most compared to the rest.
On her journey to find the Wizard, Dorothy meets three new companions who are known very well for their contradicting characters. The Scarecrow is the first friend Dorothy makes, and he seems to be her most beloved. Scarecrow is unhappy as he claims to lack a brain, despite his wide vocabulary and wit.
Second, she meets the Tinman who had been rusted alone in the woods. Once he is restored by an oilcan, Tinman expresses his dismay of having no heart. He longs for emotion, when all the while, he expresses his feelings freely through tears.
Finally, Dorothy meets the Lion, who intimidatingly introduces himself as King of the Forest, and literally scares the other two by urging them to fight him. It’s when Dorothy slaps him for scaring her dog that he bursts into a panic of tears and explains that he has no courage.
In the end, all three of these misfits are gifted placebos by the Wizard: a diploma, a heart-shaped watch, and a medal. As soon as they receive these gifts, they immediately embrace the traits they so longed for, but possessed from the beginning. Good message, though, right?
As for Miss Alice, it’s a little difficult to actually pinpoint just who her “friend” is in this story. But after evaluating, I have decided that the Cheshire Cat is probably the closest person in this story to actually being a friend to Alice, as he does at least show her a little kindness.
However, if we want to talk about the 2010 version of this film, (which I will add is definitely my favorite!) the true friend and companion is undoubtedly the Madhatter. I absolutely LOVE Johnny Depp’s adaptation of this character! He is not only silly and humorous, but he is also dark and vengeful. Although I was expecting a beautiful romantic relationship to form between him and Alice, I was more than pleased to watch their heart-warming friendship bloom throughout the film.
Good girl vs. bad girl
Finally, the last similarity that these stories share is that while each protagonist is a female, all three villains, too, are women.
Coraline’s spider-like enemy is a bloodthirsty scullery maid who builds her entire realm off the souls of children she has trapped overtime.
A green-skinned, hook-nosed, screechy witch is the woman who antagonizes Dorothy, as she threatens the lives of her friends, and even her dog, Toto, over the sacred Ruby Slippers.
The evil Red Queen Alice’s royal, hot-headed enemy who demands to be hailed above all, enforcing this by threat of beheading.
All though all three of these women are beloved by the many fiction lovers they have both scared and entertained, they are most definitely nobody to cross!
Through these stories, we’ve discovered a world of nonsense and mystery down a rabbit hole, a tricky journey down a yellow brick road, and a realm full of buttons and ghosts behind a tiny door. These three will always be some of my favorite works of fiction, and they have tremendously helped me find my own writing path, and for this, I am forever grateful!
I hope you guys enjoyed this brief comparison, and I want to thank you again for joining me on my Coraline Weekend!
If you haven’t read my Coraline Theory, I highly recommend that you do!
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I hope you all have a good night, and Keep Reading!