Alice in Wonderland vs. Sex and Death and the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals Essay Example
Alice in Wonderland vs. Sex and Death and the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals Essay Example

Alice in Wonderland vs. Sex and Death and the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals Essay Example

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  • Pages: 6 (1566 words)
  • Published: July 19, 2016
  • Type: Review
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When one is accustomed to the ideas within the dominant fantasy they live within, it is rather difficult to see things in a different point of view. The most effective way to change one's perspective of the dominant fantasy is to have them not only think outside the box but being able to experience ideas that oppose the customary ideas first-handedly. Looking at Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and Cohn's "Sex and Death and the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals", the characters within these stories experience a reconstruction of their beliefs of the dominant fantasy through metamorphosis.

In contrary to the dominant fantasy they are indoctrinated in, an alternative fantasy consists of new and unusual ideas which question and challenge the characters' set of beliefs of the boundaries they live within. The alternative fantasy within a secondary world simultaneously consists of ideas fro


m the dominant fantasy of reality. In order to proceed through the secondary of similar yet contrasting world, these characters shifting into alternative fantasies unknowingly adapt to unfamiliar and conflicting ideas, inevitably resulting in metamorphosis to occur overtime.

Secondary worlds enforce metamorphosis because the alternative fantasy requires the suspension of one's judgment, directing their own changes towards different routes. Alice and Cohn both undergo metamorphosis in order to achieve their goals but the way in which they transform is greatly affected by the alternative fantasies they progress through. In Alice’s adventure, she is found to be interacting with animals and debating in trial against playing cards which neither would be possible in reality.

Alice’s alternative fantasy is among these contexts of fiction because of her underdeveloped understanding of the

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dominant fantasy, as she cannot make the obvious distinction between what is logical and what is not. Having the desire to return to her original size, Alice finds herself facing challenges a mature individual could easily overlook. For example, it is impossible to stop time from ticking yet the Mad Hatter explains to Alice how he was on bad terms with ‘time’ (giving time humanistic qualities, another idea of alternative fantasy), no longer being able to change the time of day (Carroll, 63).

Cohn’s experience of metamorphosis is based on her mental change throughout her journey in the defence center. Originally, Cohn had the notion of respecting the value of human life above everything else. As she progressed through the defence center, the ideas of her dominant fantasy clashed with the alternative fantasy within the center through the use of irrational grammar.

Through the use of imagery, metaphors and euphemism, human life is no longer is the reference point but it is the weapons that are measures of status and power. This guides Cohn to understand that the power of language within the center can easily shape the way in which one thinks, showing that she’s experiencing metamorphosis on a mental level. However, Alice physically changes her size by simply eating a mushroom which is deemed to be impossible within the dominant fantasy of reality.

Another key difference in both of these metamorphoses is that Alice’s alternative fantasy is fiction while Cohn’s co-exists with reality. Where Alice simply wakes up from her dream and returns to reality, the alternative fantasy which Cohn experiences is a dominant fantasy for the workers within the

center, reflecting how settings influence the way one thinks. In order to be able to make progress towards achieving their own goals, Cohn and Alice both must step outside of their understanding of the dominant fantasy.

As Alice pursues reality by encountering and interacting with fictional subjects, Cohn must suspend her judgment on the notion of human life in order to fulfill her experience at the defence center. Though both characters experience a progressivechange, the alternative fantasies within the secondary worlds shape their growth towards different results which shows how the setting influences metamorphosis. Metamorphosis happens within these two stories because ideas within these alternative fantasies challenge one’s knowledge of their own dominant fantasy.

Alice's metamorphosis within her alternative fantasy reflected her youthfulness and imagination as she progressed through Wonderland while Cohn's alternative fantasy consisted of ideas & concepts opposing the value of human life, conflicting against her original viewpoint within her dominant fantasy. Alice begins as very clueless of the ideas accustomed to Wonderland but begins to learn and understand as her adventure progresses. The strange idea of animals talking, having time stopand playing cards ruling the land in this secondary world would not be able to co-exist with the dominant fantasy.

In Cohn’s text, Cohn proceeds through the secondary world within the nuclear defence center, where her original understanding of her dominant fantasy is no longer applicable. Through the use of abstraction and euphemism, like clean bombs and patting the missile (Cohn, 71), Cohn’s idea of the dominant fantasy is broken and she begins to think just like the rest of the people who work in the building. The similarity

for both Alice’s and Cohn’s text is that they both show cognitive dissonance within the alternative fantasy in order to successfully reach their goals.

The rules within the secondary world are unfamiliar to both characters therefore forcing them to adapt to the ideas within the alternative fantasy, which would not exist in their dominant fantasies. For example, Alice begins to interact with animals that she must rely on to hopefully lead her back to the primary world (Carroll, 21). Also, Cohn is found to be thinking the same way the defence center operates in so that she may fully understand how the employees work so irrationally.

In order to think accordingly of the ideas within the alternative fantasy, both characters must suspend their judgment of the original knowledge of their dominant fantasy. The difference between Alice’s and Cohn’s metamorphosis is that both of these characters have a different understandingof the dominant fantasy they live within. Alice is young and immature which is why her alternative fantasy in Wonderland could be easily overlooked by someone older because of their developed understanding of the dominant fantasy.

This idea is shown when Alice’s older sister says, “though she knew she had but to open her eyes again, and all would change to dull reality” (Carroll, 111) as she revisits Alice’s dream. As for Cohn, her dominant fantasy is transformed because within the alternative fantasy of the defence center, human life becomes undervalued through the use of euphemism. Cohn shows cognitive dissonance as she visits the defence center every day for a year when she is found to think and speak identically to the workers, who

oppose her original understanding of the dominant fantasy on human life.

The journeysthe characters go through both force them to show cognitive dissonance in order to be able to progress towards their goal, resulting in metamorphosis to occur mentally for Cohn and both mentally and physically for Alice. Metamorphosis is fully complete when characters realize their own change. As soon as characters reach the point where they establish the connection of the illogical ideas of the alternative fantasy apart from their dominant fantasy, metamorphosis has completely transitioned.

In Alice's adventure, at one point she finds herself debating against the queen of hearts whom governs the rules of Wonderland. Alice recognizes the absurd ideas pronounced by the queen of hearts when she argues, "Stuff and nonsense! The idea of having the sentence first! " (Carroll, 108). The significance of this quote shows that Alice has finally established the connection of her dominant fantasy's methods of the justice system by objecting with the queen's flawed idea of giving the sentence first, followed by the verdict.

Additionally at this point, Alice has regained her full size which is a reference towards being able to connect with reasonable ideas according to her dominant fantasy of understanding of the justice system. Cohn's metamorphosis occurs when she realizes that she is not able to think the same way prior to entering the defence center. As Cohn had been learning to indoctrinate herself into an alternative fantasy, she soon found that leaving it was not so simple as she had began to think the same way the employees did. This is shown when Cohn says, "I had not only

learned to speak a language: I had started to think in it.

My grasp on what I knew as reality seemed to slip" (Cohn, 75). When the year of study within the defence center came to an end, unlike Alice's metamorphosis, Cohn had now possessed the knowledge of two dominant fantasies simultaneously. Cohn's metamorphosis completes after recognizing her own thought process being blurred with technostrategic grammar which pushes her further to create the dual task of deconstruction and reconstruction of fantasies, against the ideas of the alternative fantasy within the defence center.

Ultimately, it is clear to say that our surroundings shape how one acts and thinks. The ideas of metamorphosis between Cohn and Alice reflect their unique understanding of the dominant fantasy. Existing within alternative fantasy allows metamorphosis to shape people's thoughts and action, displaying cognitive dissonance. As a model of change, metamorphosis can be applied to people's lives in the long run. Over a long period of time, people's dominant fantasies begin to alter but to maintain the connection with good morals and values means to think logically throughout ones journey through life.

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