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.


Vector: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -> Alice in Wonderland Ballet

     Ballet Companies around the world have taken the story of Alice’s Adventures of Wonderland and choreographed them in to a ballet. There are some companies who have made the movements of the dancers more classical and some who have made them more modern. In a few companies the Caterpillar has taken on more of a hip-hop style of dance rather than a classical one. The same characters are there from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A few have taken the Disney Alice in Wonderland as their storyline.

     Through this medium the story of Alice can still be told. Facial expressions, the fluid movements of the body, and the tempo of the music all help get the audience to know the character in the ballet. Alice is very dainty, lady-like, and innocent. The Queen of Hearts is menacing and the music they associate with her makes you want to sink in to your seat. She wears bright red and angrily stomps around. These characters reflect the choreographers steps and thus as the audience we are seeing an adapted version of Alice in Wonderland through the eyes of the choreographers. Whether they have read the book, seen one of the movies, or seen another companies performance the portrayal of Alice in Wonderland is up to those who set the movements and tone of the ballet.


Vector: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland –> Alice: Madness Returns



Adaptations of original works are common and this is true because we enjoy experiencing the same stories in different ways. However, people tend to be highly critical of adaptations when they are compared to the original. Often times, an original story is as good as it will ever be and any adaptations can sometimes come off as lesser than the original. Sometimes not. For instance, both Batman and Lord of the Rings have original story lines, based in comics and books respectively, and both story lines have transitioned well into other adaptations. They have been the basis for movies and video games and this is largely achieved by the lore which accompanies the original stories. Good, strong lore gives writers the ability to create new material that will stay true to the original and yet can also stand as its own work.

The PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland into Alice: Madness Returns has not been so well received. This does not seem to be the result of poorly written lore, however. Instead, it seems that the developer EA missed the main point of the orignal. In my opinion, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (which, by the way, is far darker than the Disney adaptation everyone is familiar with) is focused on exploration and the discovery of uncommon oddities in an unknown world. Instead of focusing on exploration and story line, Madness Returns seems more concerned with combat and visuals. Considering the video game market, how the vast amount of action adventure/shooters are raking in the money for developers, its no surprise the direction that EA took with Madness Returns. But considering the original and what EA could have done with it, the game falls short as an adaptation.


“Vector: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” -> “Sakura in Wonderland”

“Sakura in Wonderland” is a Japanese anime episode( season 3 episode 55) that was inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The anime is called Card Captors Sakura. Sakura is sitting alone in a bench  reading a copy of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Then one of her friends named Eli comes up to her and hands her a leave so she can use as a bookmark( which he puts a spell on). Then Sakura and her friends go to the library to finish up reading their books, however as soon as Sakura opens the book and touches the bookmark she gets sucked in by the book. She then realizes she is in a different place and tires to find a way out. All her friends are dressed as the characters in the book and all have the same role as they do in the original story.

The differences used in this mini-version of Alice was that Sakura used cards which were called the big and the little cards( changed her size) to help her get out of the story. Instead of falling into a rabbit hole Sakura has a leave which has a spell which makes her become Alice in real life. Sakura  manages to find a way out by flying up to the sky where the leave was and going into the leave and she is back in the library. Obviously, it is not detailed as the original, however it does a good job of summarizing “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.



Vector: “Orpheus and Eurydice” —> “Symposium”

Before we had to read the tale of Orpheus, I remember Professor Whalen mentioning how this was only a version of the original myth. I have only read one other interpretation of the story, so reading this version really shined new light on my perspective of Orpheus.

In high school, I had to read Plato’s Symposium, which alludes to the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice. Although they are both adaptations of the same myth, it was like I was staring at a coin: a single entity portrayed by two differing sides. In the version we had to read for our class, the story was told through a limited narrator who could merely observe and describe the events. In Symposium, Plato added more insight by analyzing the actions of all the characters as well as depicting Orpheus’ character as a coward and a fool. He states how Orpheus was ignorant and selfish by thinking he could barter with the Gods in Hades to revive Eurydice instead of dying to be reunited with her. Plato’s character, Phaedrus, discusses how the Gods were offended by Orpheus’ lack-luster attempt and tricked Orpheus by presenting him with just an apparition of his beloved, not her actual soul. For his foolishness, once he reached the mortal world, Orpheus was killed by a group of women.

Most of the time whenever you see different versions of a story, in the end, they still have a similar ending or universal moral lesson; however, this is not the case for these adaptations. Regardless of which one I prefer or do not prefer, overall I thought it was an interesting experience reading the two different interpretations of the author’s interpretation of a representation.


Vector: Orpheus and Eurydice –> Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus

John William Waterhouse was a painter in the 19th and early 20th century who is famous for his depictions of classical myths in a distinctive Pre-Raphaelite style. One of his later paintings is titled, Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus (1900). While Orpheus’ death does not figure into the story of his katabasis, it is nevertheless an important part of the mythos of Orpheus. Ovid’s version of the story (probably the most poetic, and therefore likely the inspiration behind Waterhouse’s painting) tells of Orpheus refusing the advances of some Maenads, the female followers of Dionysus. Angry, they throw sticks and stones at him, but he sings such a beautiful song that the inanimate objects refuse to hit him. Furious, the Maenads descend on him and rip him to shreds in a Bacchaen fury. (This behavior was common among the Maenads, at least according to myth.) His head and lire are knocked into the river, and he floats to Lesbos, still singing. His head is found by the occupants of the island, and they bury his head and build a shrine around him. He continues to sing. Apollo was prophesied to someday visit the island and silence his singing. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

Waterhouse’s depiction of the women of Lesbos finding Orpheus’ head clearly shows the influence the Aesthetic and Pre-Raphaelite Movements had on Waterhouse. The Pre-Raphaelites were a group of predominately English painters, writers, and musicians who tried to reinvent art history – instead of expanding on the style of the Mannerist artists who followed Raphael and Michelangelo, they embraced the classical poses and style of art before Raphael and Michelangelo. Hence the group’s name. The Pre-Raphaelite movement was a part of the larger Aesthetic Movement, which encompassed all of Europe. The Aesthetic Movement rejected the 19th century’s artistic obsession with realism, and focused instead on creating art simply for the sake of beauty. The Aesthetic and Pre-Raphaelite movement was drawing to a close when Waterhouse was in his prime, and so many consider him influenced by rather than a part of the Aesthetic and Pre-Raphaelite Movements. Some of Waterhouse’s most famous works are Hylas and the Nymphs (1896), Ophelia (1894), and The Lady of Shallot (1888). While his artwork was designed to mimic work of the classical period, he nevertheless uses period representations of beauty. The women in Waterhouse’s work look very similar to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s muse Jane Morris, who was considered one of the most beautiful women of the Aesthetic Movement. Similarly, Ovid never refers to nymphs finding the head of Orpheus, but nymphs were a reoccurring theme in Aesthetic Movement art. Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus is not simply a painting of a moment in Ovid’s story, but is also an adaption of Ovid’s work, using a style and perception of beauty inherent to the period to represent a classical myth.


Vector: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -> Malice in Wonderland


Malice in Wonderland is a 2009 British film adaptation.  In the movie, Alice is a 19-year-old woman with amnesia trying to remember who she is as she goes from character to character.  While the characters are not actual white rabbits and caterpillars, it is still easy to tell which character in the movie is a character from the book.  Set around and in London, the characters are a darker, more criminal version of the Lewis Carroll characters.  It is interesting to see how characters go from one form to the other, how Wonderland is transformed by the real world, and how the characters take form when adapted to criminal figures.  Rather than follow the Whitey (the white rabbit), Alice actually spends time riding around in a cab car that he drives.  While still disoriented, she tries to remember who she is and what she was supposed to do by taking something in a bottle that simply reads “FOR YOUR HEAD” on the bottle.Even the subtle inclusions of older looking clocks and playing cards throughout the movie are interesting.


Vector: “Orpheus and Eurydice” -> “(I Used To Make Out With) Medusa”







During class discussion it was touched upon that looking at something could lead up to a person’s demise. This is seen in the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Because Orpheus looks back at Eurydice she is ultimately gone and he is left to a life of his own devices without her. The mythological character Medusa takes on the idea of seeing as a way of control over a person’s life. When someone is looking at her directly, they are turned into stone.

The song “(I Used To Make Out With) Medusa” by Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) has the elements of Orpheus- love and demise. In the song, BMTH describes a woman whom is ‘dead’ to a man. This could mean figuratively or real life. She is nothing to him because he loved her but she left him for either another or is dead. In the song it states, “I should’ve known/not to look into her eyes…your glare was my demise!” meaning that like the myth of Orpheus, looking at the woman in a loving way was ultimately the man’s detriment. But by the end of the myth, Orpheus is learning to live without her; the man in this song is learning to do that also. This can be seen in the lines near the ending of the song; “Your memory will fade away/every sunrise, every sunset/will help me to forget your name”