Reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (aka Alice in Wonderland) by Lewis Carroll is sheer fun. We all know the story, Alice follows a white rabbit into a hole and finds herself in a strange world in which the ordinary rules of logic and language do not apply.
The characters from the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat to the Queen of Hearts (“Off with her head!”) are some of the most enduring and well-known in all of literature. Alice’s adventures are meant to be a fun and whimsical diversion that reminds the reader of the magic of childlike imagination.
It’s great fun to read something that makes me laugh out loud, that I read with a smile, once again enjoying it as if for the first time.
The connection to Lost comes in the episode “White Rabbit” wherein Jack chases his dead father around the island – itself a sort of Wonderland where the ordinary rules of logic may or may not apply – much as Alice pursued the white rabbit through Wonderland.
At one point Locke suggests to Jack that his “white rabbit” (this is the explicit connection to Alice in Wonderland) may be a hallucination. Since then we’ve come to expect these kinds of hallucinatory experiences on Lost.
Like many Lost books, Alice in Wonderland takes place in an alternate reality, though one that is seemingly less malign than that of The Third Policeman (full of its own brand of nonsense and word play), falling instead a bit closer to The Wizard of Oz.
Interestingly, “White Rabbit” is also one of the episodes in which Watership Down, a book about rabbits, makes an appearance. Watership Down, though, deals with characters creating a new world, rather than escaping to an alternate one.
I think Alice is referenced early in the series to reinforce for the viewer that the world of Lost doesn’t exactly follow the rules we’re used to. It may not be Hell (The Third Policeman) or Purgatory (Bad Twin) or a moment just before death (“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”). It may not be Oz or even Wonderland, but that island is different from everything we think we know.
For more of my Lost book posts, please visit The Lost Book Club.