Growing Up in Wonderland

Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Fourteen-year-old Alice does not want to be an adult, especially because she feels it is being forced upon her. When her older sister Lorina asks her to grow up she responds with, “Why would I want to do that?” Perhaps Alice is right. According to her, adulthood is boring, tedious, and unimaginative. But when she meets with a series of absurd characters at Lewis C. Wonder High School, she finds her maturity is tested and questions her sense of self. Perhaps an ability to deal with disappointment, sadness, and fear is just as important as retaining a youthful playfulness.

Can Alice stay young at heart and still grow up? Can you?

CLICK HERE for information on Lewis Carroll and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Learn how the story began, how it came to be published, and much more.

CLICK HERE to read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Contact Teresa Waldorf, our educational outreach coordinator with any questions you may have. (406) 243-2854 or by e-mail.



Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a bizarre story. The things that happen occur for virtually no reason, events are not linked to one another, and absurd characters populate the tale. Perhaps because of its nonsensical nature there have been countless interpretations assigned to the story. I started by considering the genesis of the Alice story: sometime around 1862, Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson spent a day with the family of the institution’s new vice chancellor, Henry Liddell. Charles told the Liddell children a story culled from his imagination, their family members, and the popular culture of the time. Alice Liddell, in particular, was fascinated with the story and later Dodgson published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. On the day the story was crafted, Alice still had the vivid imagination of a child but she was also nearing the cusp of adolescence. I wanted to capture this moment and to explore the types of happenings that move us to mature. This version of the story makes use of contemporary culture and characters in lieu of Lewis’ Victorian ones. They are meant to be analogous in many ways and it might be a fun exercise to overtly explore the connections between the two versions.



“Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood.”
~from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

While working on the adaptation of this classic, I was consistently reminded of my own timeless adventures growing up. I remember becoming entrenched in Alice’s lonely, disorienting, mysterious journey. It took me much longer to grow up than the length of an afternoon dream, but just like Alice, the prospect always seemed boring and gloomy to me. The reality of having to grow up was made tolerable for me by the cast of oddball characters that assisted in my journey to maturity. Each of the eccentrics Alice Liddel meets inside the halls of Wonderland High embody our need for guidance, structure, antithesis, truth, unpredictability, and security in our quest for personal identity. For us—and we hope for you as well—the retelling of this adventure reminds us that most of us eventually learn to love the idea of growing up. Hopefully, watching Growing Up in Wonderland will make all of us feel young, no matter how long ago we accepted the responsibilities of growing up. May each day be an adventure that never ends, full of unexpected doorways, and magical lessons!


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(Photos by Terry J. Cyr)