Lucy, Alice, and Dorothy

My three all time favorite girl heroines in children’s books come from the classics. I named my first daughter Lucy after the brave, honest queen of Narnia from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; my second daughter is named after Alice from Alice in Wonderland fame. (I don’t like the name Dorothy much so I stuck with the classic trend and named my third daughter Rose. Anyone know a story about a Rose? If not, I may have to write one.) My girls don’t appreciate their names YET. The two older kids always have aliases they liked to be called or at least insist on being called in any stories I make up about them– right now Arania and Magnolia. I am super excited for the new Alice in Wonderland film. I hope it’s great. With Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, you can’t really go wrong, though I hope JD lets Alice remain the star and that the movie isn’t too scary for kids. I LOVED Burton’s Coraline but had to walk out b/c the kids were so freaked out.

So back to the girl triumverate: I remember as a sophomore in highschool learning about the phallic symbol in literature. My teacher was Miss Minton, and we were reading Rip van Winkle– he has a gun that didn’t go off (or something) and she explained the term, the class giggled, and after that, pointing out the symbology was was an easy A all through high school. Back then, I asked Miss Minton if there was a female equivalent in literature and she said no, there was no a literary term. Lucy’s wardrobe, Alice’s rabbit hole, and Dorothy’s funnel cloud all lead to magical worlds. I wonder if students today– highschool, college, and beyond–  learn anything different about female symbols and literature. Is there a term yet?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz all get ***GGG***

10 thoughts on “Lucy, Alice, and Dorothy

  1. “Briar Rose” is an *amazing* young adult book about the holocaust by Jane Yolen; highly recommended.

    btw, I wouldn’t go running out to get Allen Moore’s “The Lost Girls” as recommended above unless you’re looking for pornography (this is not a value judgment, it really is written as pornography). Just FYI!

    • Mike,

      Blog commentator, Feral, enlightens me (and Wikipedia confirms) The Lost Girls is an erotic novel, by the same guy who wrote V for Vendetta. Apparently, it exlores the sexual implications of Alice in Wonderland etc as I suppose you know. I am kind of curious to check it out, though obviously, it’s not a kids book. I wish you’d made that clear in your comment,but thatns for the suggestion.

      Margot

  2. This is less of a score )way less), but Madonna wrote a children’s book about seven girls named Rose, I think (never read it).

    And there are a couple of terms– vaginal (duh!), and yonic. You’re right of course about the holes. Scary (castrating) holes are vagina dentata– and both the rabbit hole and wardrobe risk that castration, with their evil queens waiting inside planning to either turn enemies into stone (petrify them) or chop off their heads. Freud would have a field day with those symbols. I guess you could read those books as about both the lure and the fear of female power.

    • Vaginal is not aliterary term though, the way phallic symbol is. Phallic symbol has some literary veritas– its not “penis symbol.” Yonic I have never heard of– do they use that is highschool english?

      Interesting about the evil queens and castration, there is the wicked witch in Oz too. Though, I prefer to looka t it purely as afemale journey (though I suppose all those books are by men, and one supposedly a child molester…)

      • Yonic is Indian (yoni = vagina). I don’t know about highschool English classes.

        I love “Coraline!” Another castration attempt to on teh evil matriarch’s part– Coraline’s submission to her would be confirmed if Coraline exchanges her eyes for button.

        “Alice and the “Narnia” books are interestingly ambivalent about female journeys. On the one hand, they both reward curiousity, that classic female transgression (Eve, Pandora)– Lucy and Alice both go into tantalizing holes without asking anyone’s (any boy’s) permission. (Dorothy is just a hapless passenger, w/ the tornado). Have you ever read Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” triology? (The first one is “The Golden Compass”). They’re great, and he writes them consiciously as a corrective for an anti-sexuality strain he sees in C.S. Lewis. I love the Narnia books too– I reread them all recently– but Pullman thinks Lewis punishes girls for getting sexual. The kids aren’t allowed back into Narnia once they get too big (basically, approach puberty). Susan starts getting interested in boys and lipstick and stops believing in Narnia; her siblings all judge her for this, and she’s the one excluded from the together-in-heaven sequence at the end. Of course, the only way to avoid growing up and becoming corrupt/ not Narnia worthy is to die– and the ending of the Narnia books is a little creepy in its celebration of that resolution to the problem of losing innocence, I think.

        • I know this is an old post, but: from what I remember when it came to Susan being ‘punished for maturing’, it was more that she forgot Narnia itself, she began to convince herself that it had all been pretend. She denied the importance that Narnia played in her life and still could have. In comparison many other female characters, Lucy and Polly did grow up and mature, yet they were ‘still’ allowed to enter Narnia.
          I also always believed that Susan denied her strength by becoming obsessed with boys and lipstick…while none of those things are bad, and obviously natural;the Susan that Narnia knew was much more than a pretty girl,she was smart, strong and interesting.

  3. Mila,

    You are so right! Thanks so much for the refernce and for passing o the blog to your friends. (My sister suggested the name Rose because it’s a a prett, flower name but also could be a barmaid.

    xox
    Margot

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