As ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the ‘BFG’ are both written for a children’s audience there are many similarities within the themes and styles of these books, however there is also a vast transformation of language and the styles used. As these texts have been written within 100 years of each other this change is usually due to the evolution in society and laws that would once dictate common features within the book, i. e. the use of neologisms. In Alice in Wonderland we see that the perception of children in Victorian society vastly contradicts that of today.
Children in Victorian society were considered, after the age of eight, to be small adults that would start to take on serious responsibilities that would involve helping with finance of their family. This effects the style and themes used in Alice as children would be encouraged to take on a more mature attitude but still lead an active imagination. This is shown throughout the book by the attitudes of characters in concern to their place in the hierarchy.
A clear example of this is in Alice in Wonderland would be the Queen as she clearly acts as though she is better than everybody else and everyone in her presence acknowledges this and conforms to these rules. In The BFG however we have a similar situation involving a Queen and the interaction of those around her. The main difference in this text however, in concern to authority, is that although the Queen is recognised as having a higher power, those around her i. e. the Head of the Army and the Head of the Air Force do not have a problem of suggesting something else.
Another clear temporal change what is clear in these two texts is the use of narrator in the texts. Alice in wonderland uses a significantly more amount of narration than in The BFG. The main reasons for this could be the fact that Alice in Wonderland has been written for an adult audience to read to their child whereas The BFG has been written for children to read on their own. A clear example of this is way The BFG narrates most of the story though the use of speech and not a separate narrator. ‘You sling him underneath the belly of your bellypoper and carry him like a porteedo’
This helps the child understand what is going to happen in the story without adding another voice to the story that would perhaps interfere the child’s understanding. Alice in wonderland however uses a large amount of narration that would largely be found in more adult books. This suggests that Alice in Wonderland is not only a children’s story but is also written for the entertainment of adults. Although both texts do have a slight differ in audience, the types of narrator in these books are the same. Both Alice in Wonderland and The BFG use a flawed narrator with omniscient features.
This enables the read to make independent interpretations from knowing what is going on in the mind of the two girls Alice and Sophie. This would be expected of a children’s story as generally there is one character on a quest and this character is followed the whole way through. In both extracts we face several instances of verbal, structural and satirical irony. This irony plays an important in both books as it adds subtle humour to the story that can be enjoyed by various audiences. Alice in Wonderland contains primarily structural and satirical irony that is developed through the register of the characters.
‘What’s your name, child? ‘ This shows how the use of interrogative sentences in Alice in Wonderland has been used to show authoritarian characteristics found in the Queen of Hearts and her immediate response to situations that she has not ordered herself. This circumstance shows the satirical outlook of Victorian society that Lewis Carroll often hints on throughout the whole of Alice in Wonderland. The BFG however uses a strong use of verbal irony especially in this extract when the BFG is interacting with other humans who are not used to his fictional dialect.
‘And one from Wellington, in New Zealand,’ said the Head of the Army ‘For the booty flavour! ‘ cried the BFG. ‘ This shows how a simple change in semantics, to which the BFG and the other giants have learnt, has lead to a completely different context that becomes confusion. This verbal irony also shows how those who are older and used to received pronunciation find it harder to understand what the BFG is saying as we see several times that Sophie must translate for the Head of the Army and the Head of the Air Force.