WHEN Alice fell down the hole and landed in Wonderland everything changed for her.
Her beliefs, sense of security, certainty of right and wrong and the knowledge that there was a distinct and linear order to the world vanished. It has been stated by many literary and psychoanalytical theorists that Alice in Wonderland is actually an allegorical journey from childhood into adolescence.
Personally (and don’t get all huffy now Dr Freud), as it was written by a man, and one whose relationships to little girls was just a little iffy, I would have a tendency to say to those people: “Rot, it’s a story about a girl who falls down a hole, gets knocked unconscious and has a dream.” But then I can be extremely contrary when the feeling takes me.
I once tried therapy myself, when in hindsight a bottle of Cava and a night out with the girls would probably have done the trick. I was on the opposite end of a discussion about repressed sexuality – me trying desperately hard to stifle giggles as each time he muttered the word sexuality he gave an almost imperceptible shudder of what I could only assume to be either pleasure or disgust – which had absolutely nothing to do with my reasons for seeking therapeutic help.
Very quickly I came to the conclusion that a lot of intellectuals could do with a good dose of reality and, in the case of the Cognitive Therapist / hippy spiritualist from Chalk Farm, a good bath.
My favourite study of Alice has to be the one in which the theorist proposes that Alice was actually a conduit for Lewis Carroll’s repressed desire to be a little girl.
My mind works in ways in which not even I can fathom as, since I read that particular essay, I have been imagining a wide variety of men dressed as Alice (perhaps that says more about me than the theorist). Obama with pigtails, David Cameron wearing a checked frock and carrying a teddy under his arm (or is that Clegg in a fluffy Parka?) George Clooney wearing a pinafore (why is that still sexy?) and Merkel wearing…no I´m afraid I can´t imagine that one.
Returning to the theme of contrariness I can easily believe that many of Freud’s women patients became so frustrated with him prattling on about repressed sexuality and their subconscious desire to sleep with fathers, grandfathers, teachers, priests and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all, that they made it all up just to stop him talking. Therefore his whole seduction theory can be said to be the result of a clutch of unhappy women deciding the only way to get him to shut up was to tell him essentially what he wanted to hear; that all women wanted to sleep with him. Ultimately is that not what the male ego wants, affirmation of their own desirability?
Ladies, how many times have you heard the refrain: “She must be a lesbian?” Point set and match I think Dr Freud.
Cup of tea anyone?