Fantasy: Escaping Cultural Constraints

Fantasy, by allowing the audience to Escape room near me into their imagination, discards the boundaries that society regulates and breaks away from the tedious uniformity of day-to-day life. Fantasy allows the onlooker to be seduced into a reality where anything is possible and such constraints as gender and race are not always an issue. Fantasy characteristically takes that which is lacking in life and transforms it into something more desirable, creating it into a more attractive and superior element of ‘reality’.

The film Alice in Wonderland (1999) follows the story of a young girl, Alice, who would do anything to avoid performing in front of a group of strangers,’ so she ventures away from her parent’s house to find ‘the perfect place to hide.’ This search leads Alice to the magical realm of Wonderland, where she discovers a beautiful garden, what follows is the adventure to find a way into the garden so she can hide until her parent’s guests leave.

Alice is given the clear impression that if she does not perform for her parent’s guests, her parents will ‘be very disappointed in her.’ This remark only makes Alice more concerned about her performance, making her feel that she is being judged only for her singing merits, not any of her other characteristics.

Alice makes a statement in running away, in the hopes that it will show her parents that the pressures, or constraints, that they have placed on her are too restricting. Alice believes that it is too hard for her to keep up with the expectations and standards of others. By escaping to Wonderland, Alice is able to hide from her responsibilities to her parents, her stage fright, and those who don’t seem to care about her feelings and views. Alice soon realizes that Wonderland is full of mad, crazy performers who, although listen to her views still want her to perform.

These bizarre characters have a striking resemblance to the ‘strangers’ she has been trying so hard to run away from or take on the role of personalities from games or rhymes, such as the Queen of Hearts and White Knight or Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee. These characters attempt to convince Alice that it is perfectly natural to have stage fright before a first performance, a view that is not explained to her by her music teacher, or anyone else around her, to help calm her nerves.

It is interesting to note that whenever Alice views a place she believes is more interesting and desirable, the place in question becomes brighter, more colorful, and inviting. The place she is already in becomes dull, lifeless, and undesirable. For example, when Alice first enters Wonderland and spies the ‘beautiful garden’ the colors are extremely brighter than that of her own home, or when she first enters the realm of the White Knight the place is dull and uninviting.

This is important to take note of because while Alice believes that these brighter, more inviting places are where she really desires to be, they soon become apparent that the places are really not as desirable as she first thought because of the views and actions of the characters within them, like that of the ‘beautiful garden’ with the Queen of Hearts and her subjects. While the seemingly duller, lifeless places (like the home of White Knight) is where she meets with characters that she befriends and learns off.

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