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Vector: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -> “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
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Vector: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -> “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane

 

For my first vector, I chose to connect the original Alice story by Carroll to the psychedelic hit “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane.

 

This song has multiple references to the story itself.  It mentions several characters in the story (the caterpillar, the dormouse, and Alice herself to name a few).

The main parallel that the song has to the story is it’s allusions to a psychedelic experience.  Jefferson Airplane was a forerunner of the psychedelic rock movement of the mid 1960’s.  The lyrics point to drug use (“One pill makes you larger, one pill makes you small”) and suggest that Alice herself was essentially tripping on drugs(“Go ask Alice.. I think she’ll know”).

A popular theory is that Alice In Wonderland is an adventure of a girl who has taken psychedelics, is seeing things, and consequently “falls down the rabbit hole” (a popular metaphor for getting high).  This song exemplifies this theory and shows a different side of the story, all the while demonstrating how one children’s tale can be analogized in even the most unlikely of  subcultures.

2 Responses

  1. zachwhalen
    suggest that Alice herself was essentially tripping on drugs

    So, having read the story now, what do you think?

    I mean, is the Airplanes’ claim about Alice a subversive one, or is it merely telling us something we “already know” about the text?

  2. jharrold

    Just by reading the text itself, without knowledge of it being for children, I can see how Jefferson Airplane came to the idea for the song; how the references in the song can relate to the supposed drug use by Alice in the book. During this time it was about experimenting, expanding knowledge about the world, and ‘opening doors’ with the help and use of drugs. And from reading Alice, one example would be how she experimented with growing taller and shorter. At first she would go from one extreme to the next, but after the Caterpillar, she got how to use the ‘drugs’ more effectively.

    Turn on, tune in, drop out.

    .Just an opinion and only an opinion.

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