Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast, is a collection of stories that vary from parodies to extended variations of famous fantasy stories. Jane Yolen, challenged the most popular children’s story ever, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and created a more upbeat Wonderland with a more hard-hitting Alice than usual. The original Alice in Wonderland is a tale about a girl who falls asleep and dreams about this magical and adventurous land known as Wonderland. Alice in “Tough Alice,” has made multiple trips to this magical realm and has become a veteran to the laws and duties of Wonderland.
Both stories embark on Joseph Campbell’s idea of Structuralism, ‘Hero’s Journey’ by following the sub-elements of their departure, initiation and return. The first main stage of Joseph Campbell’s Hero Journey is Departure that includes various sub-sections within it. The hero first receives a call of adventure once entering the alternate world.
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In Alice of Wonderland, Alice feels extremely bored sitting by the river bank with her sister and often glancing at the book her sister is reading. Alice thought it was ridiculous that her sister is reading a book with no illustrations or conversations and eventually falls asleep beside her.
Alice begins her Call of Adventure when she dreams about encountering the white rabbit and follows him down into the rabbit hole. Alice thought it was rather ordinary and not very much out of this world to hear a rabbit say to itself, ““Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late! ” Until, the rabbit retrieved his watch out of his waistcoat pocket and began to scurry on in a hurry to his large rabbit hole; Alice became more curious than ever and followed the rabbit without thinking of plan to return to the real world.
In Tough Alice, Alice’s call of adventure began for the last time when she noticed a pig in her presence that fell down the rabbit hole and she took upon herself to go through the rabbit hole as well. Shortly after, Alice follows the white rabbit into the rabbit hole; she has crossed the first threshold of departure her journey. She is welcomed to the unknown. In Tough Alice, Alice is already experienced with the bizarre realm of Wonderland and crosses the threshold once she follows the pig into the rabbit hole. Everything begins to change yet again.
As Alice is falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, which seems like forever, Alice reaches the bottom and encounters a room full of locked doors. She stumbles upon a table that displays a drink and some cake. In order to receive the key to get through the doors, she has to drink the bottle that makes her grow and eat the cake that makes her shrink which is an example of the next departure phase belly of the whale. In Tough Alice, Alice had to remind herself, “Think about something, and it appeared. Or don’t think about something, and it still might appear (page 2, Yolen).
” The Jabberwock was a vicious monster that always seemed to make a personal arrival every time she visited Wonderland. This is considered when Alice reached the belly of the whale phase because everything was out of her control at the moment. In Alice of Wonderland, Alice encounters two supernatural aides as she wonders through the forest of Wonderland; the Caterpillar and the Cheshire cat. In Tough Alice, her supernatural aide encounters are the Red and White Queens. First, the caterpillar is effortlessly smoking a hookah on a mushroom when Alice meets him, which is unusual and surreal.
Eventually, in a sleepy voice, the caterpillar asks Alice: “Who are you? ” Surprised by the start of the conversation, Alice replies with: ““I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then. ” The caterpillar wishes to know the truth about Alice and wants her to understand that in order to survive in the alternate world, she has to know herself first. Next, the Cheshire cat is a supernatural aide as well for Alice. The Cheshire cat is rather poetic with everything he says and his advice to Alice gives off a poetic vibe.
The supernatural part about the cat is that he enjoys disappearing and reappearing at random times. In Tough Alice, the Red and White Queens symbolized supernatural aides for Alice. There’s no such thing as a red or white queen which indicates that Alice is dreaming. Second, the red and white queens were seen as guidance this time around in Wonderland by saying things like “We are only present, not truly here,” “And you are your own future,” “You are a tough child” and “You figure it out (page 7-8, Yolen)”. This considered the queens to be aides towards Alice.
To make it out of Wonderland this time, she had to learn to fight her own demons. The second phase of the Hero’s Journey is the initiation which embarks on the road of trials. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice becomes overwhelmed with notion of being a range of different sizes within one day, so she begins to cry. Her crying creates a pool of tears where she meets an array of animals, including a mouse. In this pool of tears, Alice and the array of animals participate in Caucus Race, but later Alice unintentionally upsets her new companions by talking about her cat.
Second, she continues with her journey and reaches the white rabbit’s house and he mistakenly thinks she’s the maid. The white rabbit says, “Why, Mary Ann, what are you doing out here? Run home this moment, and fetch me a pair of gloves and a fan! Quick, now! ” Alice finds an unmarked bottle that makes her extremely tall and little cakes that shrink her smaller than expected. Alice is frightened and runs from the house; this is the road of trails. In Tough Alice, as she wonders through the woods she notices old friends, the tea-party trio to be exact.
The Hater to Dormouse to Hare continued to argue across the big oak table as she walked by. Alice, at least hope they would wave but realized Wonderland friends are not the type to send postcards or letters or anything of that kind. Second, she came across all her Wonderland friends at a table in the meadow, exchanging money from creature to creature. The last phase of the Hero’s Journey takes on the act of return for the characters. In the end, Alice’s sister wakes her up from her dream and as Alice slowly wakes up she sees Wonderland become a pack of cards.
She realizes it was all a dream because she previously saw the pack of cards in Wonderland before she was awakened. In Tough Alice, Alice had to defeat the Jabberwock in a battle. Alice was frightened at first, but began to laugh and the Jabberwock was no longer a threat. “Laughter in the face of certain death? It is the very definition of the Hero,” said the White Queen. Alice thought to herself, “Courage, Laughter, Maybe I’ll try them both out on Albert.
” Suddenly, Alice began to rise slow then fast up the rabbit whole and all the way back home. Alice just had to believe in herself. Jane Yolen, did an excellent job reconstructing the still famous fairy tale of all time Alice in Wonderland. Both stories project the same experiences when it comes to heroes, except with a few different characters to spice it up. Alice, a child had a very vivid and powerful imagination. These experiences taught her how to control and master these two worlds; Wonderland and the Real World.