Throughout April I’m taking part in the Blogging from A-Z Challenge. I’ll be posting every day (except Sundays) on my chosen theme of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.
For the letter F, I’m discussing the flowers from Through the Looking-Glass and what they symbolise.
In chapter two of Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Alice finds “a large flower-bed, with a border of daisies, and a willow tree growing in the middle.” She discovers that the flowers can talk and has a conversation with a tiger-lily, a rose, some daisies, a violet, and a larkspur. Unfortunately, they are not very friendly and they insult Alice by saying she is stupid and criticising her appearance.
‘How is it you can all talk so nicely?’ Alice said, hoping to get it into a better temper by a compliment. `I’ve been in many gardens before, but none of the flowers could talk.’
`Put your hand down, and feel the ground,’ said the Tiger-lily.
`Then you’ll know why.’
Alice did so. `It’s very hard,’ she said, `but I don’t see what that has to do with it.’
`In most gardens,’ the Tiger-lily said, `they make the beds too soft — so that the flowers are always asleep.’
This sounded a very good reason, and Alice was quite pleased to know it. `I never thought of that before!’ she said.
`It’s my opinion that you never think at all,’ the Rose said in a rather severe tone.
The Victorians were really into flower symbolism, so much so that they had a ‘language of flowers’ (floriography) that they used to communicate coded messages through arrangements and bouquets. If you’re interested, you can find out more here. Here are a few of the flowers featured in Carroll’s works and what they mean according to the language of flowers:
- Red roses-love
- Lillies-beauty, elegance, sweetness
- Violets-Love, faithfulness
- Larkspur-Lightness, levity
Carroll seems to turn these pleasant meanings on their heads, as although the flowers are beautiful, they show themselves to be rather mean and shallow, criticising Alice for her colour and shape. This is the kind of scrutiny that Alice might experience as she grows into a woman, but hopefully, her experience with the flowers has taught her that appearance is no reflection of personality. Looks aren’t everything, and unlike the flowers, Alice has the ability to walk about and go on adventures instead of being planted in the same spot.
The flowers have very limited knowledge of the world around them. They assume that Alice and the Red Queen are also flowers that are somehow able to walk, and they think mistake Alice’s dress for petals. This just shows that we all have a narrow perspective of life which is based on our own experiences.
- In the 1951 Disney animation, the flowers sing a lovely song called “All in the Golden Afternoon.” The title comes from a poem printed in the preface of Alice in Wonderland, but the lyrics were written by Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard.
Make Your Own Wonderland Bouquet!
I found this great tutorial from Disney Family on how to make your own paper bouquet that resembles the flowers from the animated film. Doesn’t it look great? I will have to have a go when I have more time.
Before you go…
What do you think about the flowers from Alice in Wonderland? Are you a fan of the Disney song?