Who are you?

Humans as a species have an eternal desires to have their own identities. In Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Carroll takes his readers into a world where identity is questioned and change is endless. In chapter five, Alice has a conversation with a caterpillar and he asks “Who are you?”. (Active voice) Alice struggles with this question because her experience in Wonderland has made her doubt her identity. For example, one moment she was tall and the next she was small. That morning Alice was not the same person she was when speaking with the caterpillar. While reading this passage I asked myself, are we ever the same person throughout our lives? I believe a person’s identity changes drastically throughout their lives; people can change just from an interaction with someone or something. So the question is will we ever be the same? I believe as humans we change constantly so to pinpoint exactly who we are is challenging; Alice demonstrates this when she states, “I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, ‘because I’m not myself, you see.”. The caterpillar does not fully understand why Alice cannot explain herself. As Alice continues to ponder with the question she proposes to the caterpillar “Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,’ said Alice; ‘but when you have to turn into a chrysalis—you will some day, you know—and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you’ll feel it a little queer, won’t you?’ ‘Not a bit,’ said the Caterpillar.”. Alice understands the aspects of the caterpillar and the changes it goes through, so does the caterpillar. The caterpillar knows what lies ahead and goes through changes not trying to figure them out. The caterpillar goes through merely accepting them as a way of life. As humans we have a choice of change, with this change comes discomfort. Alice was uncomfortable with all of the physical and psychological changes in Wonderland. We learn that Alice and the caterpillar both express the differences in how they face their changing identity. The caterpillar is comfortable with his identity even though he knows it is going to change; meanwhile, Alice doesn’t seem as comfortable because she wasn’t expecting a change.

The passage toys with the question of “who are you,” this creates the illusion that the question of “who are you” is simple. Identity is more than a simple name, rather its a reaction to events and experiences. Reactions define who we are, our reactions to experiences come from within, and represent our identity. People connect one another with how we look, how we speak and how we express ourselves, every reaction adds a layer to our identity. At the end of the day a person identity is what defines them and that identity is consumed of different aspects.

Overall, the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll makes me question identity. Alice struggles with her new surroundings and tries to understand who she is why. I can relate as a freshman in college with a new environment, new everything. I am uncomfortable with changes just as Alice is. I react in ways I’ve never imagined because new experiences have led to new reactions and added layers to my identity.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.