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dreams and parodies

spleenfiend's picture

The article "Algebra in Wonderland" makes sense of lot of the strange sequences in Alice in Wonderland.  If they really were intended as metaphors for mathematical concepts, then the book seems a lot less "dreamlike."  Alice's confusion in the new world she encounters could be similar to Lewis Carroll's skepticism about the "new math."  Plenty of mathematical concepts like imaginary numbers do seem absurd at first. 

Nowadays, algebra is pretty commonplace---but so is everything in a dream.  Dreams are made of the things we are used to seeing (otherwise, how would they be in our heads?), resorted and given new meanings.  Math may have inspired Alice in Wonderland, but I still don't think the metaphors are about math alone.  The book could be a parody of math, but maybe it's more likely to be a parody of life in general.  It parodies life by taking ordinary things and making them absurd, perhaps to open our eyes to them?   This is perhaps similar to how through interpreting and trying to make sense of their own dreams, people often notice new things about their lives and relationships.  Dreams and parodies have a fairly clear connection to Alice in Wonderland, but could dreams and parodies be similar in some ways?


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