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Gabe, S. (1948). About the Symbolization of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Martin Grotjahn. American Imago, IV, No. 4, 1947, pp. 32–41.. Psychoanal Q., 17:424-425.
    
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: About the Symbolization of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Martin Grotjahn. American Imago, IV, No. 4, 1947, pp. 32–41.

(1948). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 17:424-425

About the Symbolization of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Martin Grotjahn. American Imago, IV, No. 4, 1947, pp. 32–41.

S. Gabe

The key to the unconscious meaning of the character of Alice is the symbolic equation girl-phallus. Grotjahn shows how strikingly and almost undisguisedly

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this equation is revealed in the form and function of the 'Tambour Majorette'. However, the equation illustrated by the 'Majorette' cannot be directly applied to an interpretation of the unconscious meaning of Alice, for the 'Majorette' represents the phallus narcistically admired but not used. Nor can another symbolic representation of the phallus—the Devil—be used for that purpose, since the Devil symbolizes the sinful function of the penis. A third symbolization, which is illustrated by dwarfs in fairy tales, represents the phallus stripped of all sexual potentialities yet remaining 'omnipotent and all-knowing, penetrating and victorious'. It is in the latter sense that Alice represents the symbolic equation girl-phallus, and her adventures represent a trip back into the mother's womb.

The progressive descent into the mother's womb leads to an increasingly regressive process of symbolization, in which words ultimately lose their object cathexes as in schizophrenia. As she regresses to the level of an almost catatonic stupor, Alice can express her state of existence only in such allegoric pictures as the lobster quadrille. The awakening of Alice is the book's weakest part, because the regression having gone further than in the usual fairy tale, the solution is not an ego integration but a compromise formation.

The function of such books as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is to provide an artistic and testing regression, which opens a temporary guilt-free and anxiety-free communication to the unconscious. The necessary repressions and sublimations are thereby achieved with greater ease and with healthier results.

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Article Citation

Gabe, S. (1948). About the Symbolization of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Psychoanal. Q., 17:424-425

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